Advanced controls. Remote monitoring. Automatic warning e-mails and maintenance reminders. Innovations including spray rinse and over-dry prevention. Welcome to the future of on-premises laundries (OPLs) in the digital age. The advancements in technology, and the way in which on-premises laundry facilities operate, have changed significantly during the last 20 years, even the past year.
With these technology innovations and advancements, the laundry industry has responded to a more sophisticated OPL and tech-savvy laundry manager. In return, managers are experiencing reduced costs, increased efficiencies and throughput and extended linen life.
Today’s OPL manager is looking for unprecedented control of his or her entire laundry facility, increased throughput and maximum efficiency. Laundry equipment with an advanced control system allows managers to gather machine performance and maintenance data. OPL managers who use this feature can instantly access machine service history logs, receive error notifications, view performance reports and execute many other time- and money-saving tasks. Managers can pull a report, review actual drain and fill times, or maximum temperatures reached, and use this data to make modifications to their operations.
OPL managers at National Health Care in Sparta, Tenn., recently installed equipment with advanced control technologies. “Using machines with advanced controls is unbelievably easier than anything I’ve ever worked with,” says Ron Murphy, Operations Manager, National Health Care. “Anything I need to know about the machine, it tells me, from any computer where I access the information. I don’t have to babysit the machine, it tells me the issue instantly.”
The ability to access their operations remotely through wireless networking provides managers with unprecedented control of their OPL. The unique feature allows managers to monitor their entire operation off-site from any Internet-connected computer and remotely monitor multiple machines and locations for optimal efficiency. Laundry equipment that is equipped with these capabilities makes the monitoring process easy, saving time and money.
Spray Rinse Technology
Another innovation changing the face of the OPL, extending the life of linens and increasing utility and water savings is the introduction of spray rinse technology. Hotel managers know the number one priority in reaching guest satisfaction is ensuring bed comfort and soft and comfortable linens. When caring for hotel linens, effective rinsing is a must. If chemicals remain on linens during the drying process, the heat will cause them to yellow over time. Additionally, the residue left behind can cause linens to become stiff and rough, which negates the purpose of the original investment.
Spray rinse technology leaves up to 22 percent less residual wash chemistry in the load compared to machines that utilize bath rinses alone. Unlike bath rinses, which only dilute wash chemistry, unique spray rinse technology pulls chemicals through the load and down the drain, ultimately providing superior rinsing results.
Spray rinse technology not only decreases the presence of residual wash chemistry, it also decreases cycle rinse time by up to 12 percent, increasing throughput and decreasing water consumption.
To further reduce the possibility of wash chemicals remaining in linens during the drying process, operators should consider investing in a washer-extractor with 400 G-Force extraction, which will remove the maximum amount of final rinse water from the load.
The Hampton Inn Suites in Boulder, Colo., recently invested in washer-extractors with 400 G-Force capabilities. Matthew Barton, General Manager at the Hampton Inn, agrees with the benefits of installing machines with advanced technologies. “The nice thing with these new machines is the extraction rate, so they definitely extract a lot more water than the old machines,” Barton says. “Using advanced controls, we’re not doing laundry through all hours of the day, all hours of the night. It’s a very efficient system that really does get the job done in a timely manner.”
Over-Dry Prevention Methods
Extending the life of hotel linens also becomes a priority during the drying process. Over-dry prevention technology features sensors that run the entire length of the tumble dryer lifter and connect to a rotary transfer switch. This switch sends the signal to the control and enables the system to sense dryness levels thousands of times per second. The result is incredible accuracy and reduced drying time per load because the dryer will automatically shut off once it has reached the precise level of dryness.
Another common problem when drying bedding is the balling or roping of linens. When linens ball up, the outside of the ball dries—often over-dries—while the center remains damp. Typically, this error is not caught until after linens are removed, which decreases productivity and increases labor expenses. By utilizing a dryer with reversing technology, operators can prevent linens from balling up and ensure an even dry. By using this feature, laundry managers can decrease both utility and labor costs as well as preserve their linen investment.
Josh Steinhardt, UniMac Regional Sales Manager for the Boulder Hampton Inn, says the largest cost in the entire operation boils down to the labor costs of how long it takes to process. “This facility is processing the same amount of linens in six and a half hours compared to the eight hours it took them previously. So between the speed of the washers and the speed of the dryers, it allows them to process faster than anyone else can allow them to process. That means through the course of the year, you can save thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.”
Combining industry-leading laundry technology with superior-quality laundry equipment works to ensure an OPL moves into a more sophisticated, tech-savvy environment. Innovations such as advanced controls, wireless networking, spray rinse technologies and over-dry prevention methods combine to ensure optimal care of hotel linens, which heightens customer satisfaction and minimizes operating costs.
“Our laundry comes out very clean every time,” Barton says. “The guests really want that soft, clean linen and we’re able to deliver on that with the advanced technology we have installed.”
Bill Brooks is the National Sales Manager for UniMac, a leading provider of on-premises laundry equipment. He can be reached at email@example.com or (920) 748-4437. For more information on UniMac, visit UniMac.com/OPL101 or call (800) 587-5458.