Laundry services, whether in-house or off-site, can make the best use of money, time, manpower, and natural resources by implementing a few key efficiencies in their day-to-day operations. We will look at some recommendations from experts in the industry. Whether your business handles hospital linens, diapers, uniforms, or some of everything, these recommendations can lead to improved efficiency.
Proper Load Size
Under-loading a washer will cause the laundry to float on the water’s surface, while overloading can result in some of the items not getting properly clean, or even wet. Overloading can also cause jams, which are time and manpower consuming. Optimal load capacity varies depending on the type of material being washed, and its moisture content. If the items have large moisture content, you can increase the load to over 100 percent of normal capacity.
If you are not certain how a particular type of fabric will react in the wash, start by loading at 70 percent capacity and fine tune as you see the results. By determining the appropriate load size for each type of linen, you may be able to increase the amount of laundry you wash by as much as 25 percent with no additional time or equipment.
Turnaround time is the time between the completion of a wash cycle and the start of the next load. Having the next load prepared, labeled clearly, and ready to go reduces this turnaround time.
If you have tunnel washers rather than conventional washers, look at your hold time. Running a tunnel washer faster than the dryers can handle the linen causes the tunnel to go on “hold.” It is better to lengthen the tunnel wash time per pocket than to allow it to constantly go on hold. If you properly schedule the linen mix going through a tunnel, you can help keep the equipment running smoothly.
Preventive maintenance of laundry equipment can help maximize performance, minimize down time, and extend the life of your equipment. Some new machines have built-in maintenance messages to remind laundry managers when daily, quarterly, and annual maintenance in needed. If your equipment does not have that, follow the manufacturer’s preventive maintenance guidelines.
It is crucial to extract as much water as possible from laundry before drying it. Regularly check for and remove drain valve obstructions. When items come off of clothing, tablecloths, or medical linens in the wash, they can get trapped in a washing-extractors drain, keeping it from completely closing.
A machine spinning at 500 to 600 RPM is less efficient at extracting water during the spin cycle. A washer-extractor operating at 800 RPM reduces the amount of moisture by nearly half, cuts drying time by more than forty percent and reduces gas usage by at least 35 percent. That is why it is important to know what your machines’ extraction rates are.
If you suspect a leak, listen for water entering the drain during a wash cycle. If you hear it, something is keeping the drain open. This maintence issue can cause thousands of gallons of water to be wasted. Some modern washers have automatic leak detectors that signal when there is a blockage and an advanced control that can be programmed to conduct leak tests and send a message remotely if one is detected.
You can lower energy use and expense by implementing chemical reducing solutions. Softening water reduces energy usage, chemicals, and the amount of water necessary to wash linens.
Dryers can be a key culprit when it comes to energy waste. You can improve energy efficiency in your dryers by using heat exchangers, and ensuring that the machines have proper airflow and temperature.
All laundry companies, whether they provide hotel, restaurant, diaper, or medical laundry services, can save money by taking a look periodically at the efficiency of their equipment, people, and processes. A more efficient operation will also improve customer satisfaction.