- Created on Thursday, 03 October 2002 02:46
- Written by Susan Capparelle
Operating a laundry at sea poses similar, but also very different considerations than those of laundries operated here on the mainland. Two key components to a successful ocean operation are the right equipment and operational efficiency.
"On board laundry equipment must meet the operational rigors as well as tight accommodations that are part of Navy life," explains David Powell, Associate Director for Habitability for the U.S. Navy. Powell oversees teams in Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California, that evaluate equipment and train operators and maintenance personnel for the Navy's 190 ships with laundries on board.
Powell notes certain machinery requirements for his on-board laundries can be very different than an on-shore site, unless of course, you are in an earthquake area, due to the constant rocking motion of the sea. Machine requirements include durability since machines are routinely bolted to the deck to withstand 14-degree rolls from side to side, a modular design to allow machine parts to pass through openings as small as a 26-inch hatch, and a large capacity / small size ratio. Manufacturers authorized by the Navy are Cissell and Hoyt for tumble dryers and Edro Corporation which supplies 98 percent of the Navy's washer extractors due to their unique size and configuration, according to Powell.
Ship installations pose some interesting dilemmas. During an installation aboard the USS Leyte Gulf, one of the Navy's CG 55 cruiser class ships, the Navy and Edro collaborated on a washer extractor design that allowed the machine parts to be unbolted and then bolted back together. "This meant they didn't have to dry-dock the ship (raise it out of the water) to install the equipment because the machines could be broken into components and reassembled in the laundry room," said Ed Kirejczyk, vp of sales and marketing, Edro. It also avoided that other age old installation method of cutting a hole in the side of the ship, added Powell.
At 450-square feet the Leyte Gulf's laundry is medium-sized and handles 8,000 pounds a week for a crew of 380. Larger laundries aboard aircraft carriers process up to 21,000 pounds (350 bags) of laundry per day, every day. Each ship class may have a different size laundry based on the equipment needed to meet Navy habitability and sanitation standards, i.e. the ability to process a set weight of clothing per person per week. Those standards drive the equipment and space needed to process crew clothing in a given period of time.
The Leyte Gulf's laundry runs with the help of two large EDRO washer-extractors, two large tumbler dryers (Cissell or Hoyt), three Forenta laundry presses and one or two laundry workers. When the ship is sailing the high seas, the operation runs six days a week for approximately eight to ten hours a day. Like all Navy ships, the Leyte Gulf has evaporators that convert salt water to fresh water through the distillation process for use in the laundry.
All Navy laundries are considered institutional laundries and while some of the larger Navy laundries continue to use steam as a heating media, most, like the Leyte Gulf, have converted to electric heated laundry equipment within the last five years. "Production rates aren't as high but the maintenance and reliability are key," said Powell referring to this switchover. “While efficient as a heating medium, the maintenance of the equipment was very labor intensive to maintain in an afloat operational status. So the Navy replaced the steam equipment with electric equipment in order to decrease maintenance and increase operational reliability.”
The Navy gains another operational advantage from EDRO's three pocket washer extractors. "We can put each division's laundry (which range from 100 pounds on larger vessels to as little as 20 pounds on smaller ones) in a compartment, clean or process it but never mix the different divisional laundry up and still utilize the washer extractor to full capacity to save energy, time and chemicals," said Powell.
With the three-pocket configuration, laundry can be dumped in a compartment without any sorting, counting or handling by laundry personnel. That batch of laundry, including the bag is then washed and dried before being placed back in the bag and transported to the berthing compartment. The laundry is then passed out to the individual it belongs to. All uniform items are stenciled with the crew member’s name.
Finally, the Navy utilizes Programmable Logic Controls (PLC), or microprocessors, to regulate their wash and chemical formulas for additional efficiency. We have three formulas that we process all uniform and organizational items with. All items processed have been tested in laboratories with the appropriate formula to prove results,” explains Powell. “We developed a PLC for our washer extractors so the operator only has to select and push a button for the formula desired. We also selected a chemical dispenser that is controlled by a PLC for chemical dispensing and predetermined chemical amounts. The chemicals are not time dispensed but product amount dispensed. When the operator pushes the formula button desired, depending on item being processed, the washer PLC communicates with the chemical PLC and all functions are performed precisely when they are suppose to and in exact amounts.”
“We feel we have state of the art equipment, controls and chemicals producing a top quality clean uniform or item for our sailors,” said Powell. “Living in very close quarters on board Naval ships makes laundry a very large quality of life issue, not to mention the sanitary requirement necessary for shipboard living. We provide all those requirements with the best and most modern equipment available, our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less.”
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.
“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”
“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”
Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.
“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”