Washroom Shortcuts Can Prove Costly
By John Schneider
Increased costs for energy, water, chemicals, and sewer discharge have created a need for better supervision in the washroom. There has been a trend to shorten formulas, lower water temperatures, lower water levels, decrease the number of rinses, decrease rinse time, and reuse water. In many plants these shortcuts do reduce washroom costs, but oftentimes at the expense of other facets of laundry production. It is important to recognize the expenses that these shortcuts create in order to understand the true consequences of our washroom decisions.
Maximum flatwork ironer production is achieved when your flatwork has a pH measure of 7 (neutral) following the final step of the washroom formula. The pH of 7 should be achieved by rinsing rather than the excessive use of sours. If a pH of 7 results from the use of low solubility sours, it may cause a residue build-up in your linens and ironer covers as well as on your ironer chests. Excessive static, flatwork "rolling," and accelerated ironer cover wear will result. The same is also true when using excessive antichlors, softeners, bacteriostats, mildicides, and starch with low or improper solubility.
Bleach carryover on linens is found all too often during our companies' plant surveys. Chlorine bleach is activated by high temperatures and low pH. The corrosive bleach vapors will severely weaken fibers in both linen and ironer covers in a process known as hydrolysis. With linen costs representing approximately 19.5% of total laundry costs (according to a 1994 survey conducted by Phillips & Assoc.), chlorine bleach carryover is a problem that must be confronted.
Although hydrogen peroxide bleach is free of salts and other waste materials, high ironer temperatures with higher pH levels will increase bleaching activity and, in turn, increase tensile strength loss in textiles through hydrolysis.
Excessive use of antichlors may neutralize chlorine bleach, however, antichlors may leave various salt residues on linens, ironer covers, and ironer chests, thus creating the production problems that were previously discussed. At the same time, any retained chlorine can be
converted to a damaging acid during drying and ironing. The best alternative is proper rinsing.
Another washroom shortcut is to overload machines. Washer load capacities are rated on clean, dry, 100% cotton linens. 100% polyester and poly/cotton blends take up about 10% less space than the same size cotton piece because polyester and poly/cotton blends are generally manufactured from lighter weight fabric. And older linens certainly weigh less than new linens. Thus, in order not to overload the washer with too many pieces, the pounds of capacity must be reduced for 100% polyester and poly/cotton blends, as well as for older cotton and cotton blend linens. Overloading will result in less mechanical action and less effective rinsing. The overloading shortcut, therefore, causes chemical residues on textiles, which leads to hydrolysis, and reduces ironing productivity.
Decreasing water levels is yet another counterproductive shortcut. It will speed up wash cycles, but chemical activity will not be properly dispersed throughout the load and then not properly rinsed. Again, the result is damage to textiles through hydrolysis and poor ironer production.
In summary, if the washroom is not delivering the properly processed linens, problems will arise in other areas, such as:
- Poor quality; redeposition of soil; ironing jam-ups; poor leading edges; linen discoloration.
- Loss of production because of static electricity problems.
- Increased costs for ironer chest and cover lubrication and cleaning aids.
- Increased maintenance costs.
- Increased linen costs.
- Unsatisfied customers => Loss of revenue.
It is recommended that plant supervisors spot check for pH levels and bleach carryover several times daily. Contact your local Tingue, Brown representative or office for your pH and Bleach Carryover Tester Kit for just $11.50 per set.
(John Schneider is Tingue, Brown & Co.'s Western Division Regional Manager. John has authored articles for TingueTopics and Textile Rental).
Back to top
Mr. Eugene S. Gartland has been serving as Tingue, Brown & Co.'s Midwest branch manager since 1962. In this position, Gene oversees the administrative and operational functions of the company's Elmhurst, Illinois branch. The orders from laundries in fifteen states are processed and shipped through this branch.
Gene Gartland began his career with Tingue, Brown as a teenager in 1942. Gene was "recruited" through Chicago's St. Phillip's Church where Gene acted as an alter boy with other Tingue, Brown greats, including Tom Walsh, Mike Joyce, and Bob Shaw (father of American Laundry Machinery's Jim Shaw). Working at first on a part-time basis, Gene learned about the "Jifty" press pad business. Gene continued to work until his high school graduation when he joined the Navy to serve in World War II. Gene points out that shortly after his ship entered the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, Hitler surrendered. And a few months later, when Gene was stationed in Pearl
Harbor, the Japanese surrendered. The world knew better than to mess with an alter boy from Chicago!!
Upon his return, Gene continued to work part-time with Tingue, Brown while studying at Depaul University. His full-time career started in 1948 as an office assistant and in 1962 Gene was promoted to the position of Midwest branch manager.
Gene and his wife, Mary, have what is known in Chicago as a mixed marriage - Gene is a White Sox fan and Mary cheers for the Cubs! The Gartlands are proud parents of nine children and 16 grandchildren. Gene is active with his church, working as an usher and a Friday night Bingo caller. He is also a serious contender for the long-drive contest at any golf outing!
Back to top
Ask Tingue, Brown About...
Small Piece Folders
Mr. Len Swanson, Laundry Manager for Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Elmhurst, Illinois, has found yet another use for Lubri-Kleen #2. Len uses the cleaning and lubricating agent on the drop blades of his small piece folder. Just a small dab every two weeks helps remove the buildup and keep the blades polished clean. With this regular maintenance, Len virtually never has production problems with his small piece folder.
Bob Ramerth, Tingue, Brown's representative who makes his home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, tells us about one of his customers who recently experienced a fire on their ironer. They battled it with an extinguisher that emitted a powdered substance. The fire was extinguished, but a new problem was created: their ironer chests were caked with this now melted and hardened powder material. This problem was solved with a Continuous Belt Cleaning Pad from Tingue, Brown and a few quarts of Lubri-Kleen #2. Bob suggests that this secondary problem could have been avoided if the laundry had been using a Halon 4T302 fire extinguisher instead. The Halon model 4T302 emits a gas which suffocates the fire, but does not leave the residue and clean-up work that many other extinguishers leave behind. Bob recommends taking time to inspect your extinguishers and consider purchasing the Halon 4T302, available from Tingue, Brown (naturally!) for $79.95.
As a follow-up to our recent TingueTopics articles on steam traps, Mr. Paul Jewison, Chief Engineer of Textile Care Services in Rochester, Minnesota, reports that he recently changed out 16 faulty steam traps in his laundry at a cost of roughly $1,600.00. Paul has calculated that the savings from boiler chemical usage alone resulted in a 60 day return on investmenet (ROI). Gary Mathies of Robison & Smith in Gloversville, New York, took on a similar task at his plant a little over one year ago. From re-trapping one ironer, Gary experienced a 12% savings in energy costs, amounting to $22,000 in the first year! Steam is a valuable resource in any laundry and needs to be used properly. Call your local Tingue, Brown representative or office to order new Armstrong steam traps and/or repair kits for your operation.
Frank Kappler of Gurtler Chemicals shared his experience at an Illinois NAILM meeting recently. Frank had a customer who was experiencing graying in her linen. Frank found that the customer's dryer had a carbon film on its inner basket which resulted from an improper gas and air mixture in the heating process. Not only was this carbon lining the dryer basket, but it was coming off on the linen as well! The problem was easily fixed by the local machinery distributor and now the customer's linen is bright white again! Frank suggests that all laundry operators inspect their dryer baskets by using a clean, white cloth and wiping the inside of their dryers to see if any residue exists.
Back to top
Tingue, Brown Seminars an Overwhelming Success!!
Nearly 400 people attended the six seminars that Tingue, Brown & Co. hosted across the country during the first week of March and the first week of April of this year. These attendees represented over 250 different organizations.
Those who were present gathered information regarding: (1) the use of steam; (2) washroom chemistry; (3) fibers and fabric construction; (4) the development of production standards; (5) the fundamentals of lubrication; (6) predictive and preventive maintenance; and (7) flatwork ironing quality and production. They also left with a special commemorative tape measure.
Special thanks goes out to all the speakers, who generated and fielded a wide range of laundry questions. They were: Bob Steffero of Water Technologies, Inc.; Rudy Maglin and Barbara Barnes of Diversey Corp.; Doug Story of U.N.X. Chemicals; Dwane Church, Lee Huston, John Robertson, and Ted Owens of Milliken & Co.; Glen Phillips of Phillips & Assoc.; Dick Schettino of The Lubriplate Co.; Nancy Mincello of Talley Machinery Corp.; and Paul Roche, Donnie Weiland, and Jim Stine of Tingue, Brown & Co.
The seminar was videotaped during the Los Angeles session and will be made available for purchase in the near future. Contact your local Tingue, Brown representative or office to reserve your copy today.
Back to top
The Corner Collection of Quarterly Quotables
The Wisconsin Association of Textile Services (WATS) offered the following questions for consideration in their recent newsletter:
Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship it's called cargo?
Why do you drive on parkways, but park on driveways?
Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?
If a store is open 24 hours a day and 365 days per year, why are there locks on the doors?
Send your favorite "Quotable" to: Tingue, Brown & Co., 655 West Grand Avenue, Suite 130, Elmhurst, Illinois, 60126, Attn: David Tingue
Back to top
Look for us at Clean '95
June 9-12, New Orleans, LA
Tingue, Brown will be introducing its new Teflex Tingufelt
This fabric is made with today's large roll ironers in mind and is supplied exclusively by Tingue, Brown & Co. Its nomex fiber base with Teflon fiber cap offers a longer productive life than any other ironer roll padding available today. Furthermore, the friction-reducing teflon cap lowers energy costs, decreases chemical build-up on padding, reduces ironer chest maintenance costs, decreases static electricity related problems, and, best of all, increases the quality of your flatwork production.
Talley Machinery will be displaying a variety of its Talley manufactured parts as well as a Before/After comparison of some Talley rebuilt ironer chests. Plus, you can meet you parts specialists, Nancy Mincello, Nate Jones, and John Lane, in person!! Visit Tingue, Brown and Talley to find out more!
Back to top