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Preventive Maintenance for Laundry Equipment

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is the essence of preventive maintenance of laundry equipment. PM is essential for producing consistent, acceptable and quality results at reasonable costs, curtailing unnecessary breakdown cost, and for completing work on scheduled times. In fact, maintenance is a business within a business. It is protecting the company’s investment with maximum uptime of equipment productivity.

The general PM staff consists of a qualified maintenance manager along with the maintenance crew, at least one per shift. There should be a minimum of three to four maintenance people (including manager) for a single-shift operation at larger laundries. Types and number of equipment will dictate the budget for maintenance. Corrective maintenance along with preventative and predictive maintenance makes a complete programme.

The PM schedule is done in a cycle – weekly, monthly, quarterly to yearly. This this includes phase replacement of equipment and/or updating existing equipment or even future planning for a new equipment estimate. Any general maintenance begins with the first step of preventive maintenance. For example, cleaning using the blow down and vacuum systems in areas covered with lint, as is the case with most laundries, can prevent big fire hazard. This also exposes the hidden cause of any defect / source.

At the Taj, we have a complete range of washer extractors, dryers, calendering machines, dry cleaning machine and presses. On an average, around 6.5 tonnes of linen – room and kitchen linen, uniforms of hotel staff, spa linen, etc. – go into the daily wash cycle. With so many designer uniforms for the hotel staff, planning & maintaining these is another skilful activity of the laundry. All the wash cycles are programmed to wash / dry clean on set parameters. We have a team of people to support the AMC of all kinds of equipment right from the small marking machine to the big calendaring machine. Even in new set ups where the equipment is still probably under warranty, PM should be put in place. At the same time, education and training are always critical in maintenance. The operators have to be trained to alert the maintenance staff in case of any leakages or unusual sound and also not to misuse the equipment. Scheduled maintenance has helped us have the least failure or down time so far.

Inderjeet Singh Mahal, La un dry Manager
Taj President, Mumbai

At Grand Hyatt we have a sophisticated automatic laundry system which churns out daily linen consisting of room linen, F & B linen, spa linen, uniforms, guest laundry and upholstery. There is a separate set of linen that goes through the dry cleaning processes as well.

In a huge operation with a daily production of five to six tonnes of linen being handled, a preventive maintenance programme eventually helps avoid abrupt breakdown of the equipment. It is more judicious to take an equipment for a periodical servicing rather than facing breakdowns leading to uncertain shutdown. The proper scheduling of the maintenance programme not only helps in flawless daily production but also keeps the machine in running condition for a longer period. We have two in-house laundry technicians from the Engineering department to take care of the machines in case of any breakdown. AMC is awarded to a company with technical competencies to handle modern laundry equipment.

The once a month preventive maintenance consists of thorough cleaning of equipment, checking the resistance of the motors, all the electrical wires, each and every joint where nuts and bolts are fixed, steam pipes, valves & sensors, the oil of the machines and the need for pressure adjustment.

Chinmoy Chatterjee, Laundry Manager
Grand Hyatt Mumbai

Methods of  PM

Understanding equipment maintenance: Outlining the daily, monthly and quarterly maintenance requirements as per the manual.

Budgeting: Allocating funds to meet costs of breakdowns and repairs. Keeping Records: Records of breakdowns, tasks performed, scheduled maintenance performed and inventory of parts are important. Rank all equipment according to how critical they are to the process flow or how essential in case of a bottleneck.

Time allocation: Keeping aside time for PM which is directly related to the size and quantity of the equipment. For example, keeping at least one hour per washer or dryer on a monthly basis. Most daily tasks can be performed by operators at start-up. Maintenance may have to be performed before or after normal hours. A successful PM programme involves 60 to 80 man hours in regular maintenance and 10 to 20 man hours in predictive maintenance.

Observing: A systematic check in the washing room – loading of the equipment, time taken for water to fill up, levels of the water that has been filled, any steam leaks, any unusual temperatures… All liquid chemical injection systems should be calibrated once per month.

Six washer extractors, five dryers, two auto flatwork ironer cum folders, one dryclean unit, one marking unit, 15 steam press units, one vacuum unit, two compressors and two steam boilers, all from the US, are used to wash five tonnes of linen. The daily laundry load includes personal clothes of around 1000 customers, 4500 staff uniforms, 200 curtains and over 100 pieces of upholstery.

In general, we have a weekly maintenance of greasing/cleaning carried out on all the equipment. We depend on our in house maintenance service department. As far as the operations and maintenance of the equipment goes, the equipment provider does not provide proper training or after sales service. Training is imparted internally.

Francis Furtado, Laundry Manager
Leela Kempinski, Mumbai

AUS honoured

The Missouri Water Environment Association (MWEA) recently honoured US based Aramark Uniform Services (AUS) with the Gold award for its commitment to preserve, protect and improve the quality of Missouri’s water environment. Operating five days a week, AUS processes approximately 24,000 garments each day and treats approximately 55,000 gallons of wastewater. The treatment system includes a heat reclaimer that recovers and reuses the heat from the wastewater (wash-water temperature is heated to 160°F), reducing the plant’s gas use by 15%. In addition, a water-reuse system minimizes clean-water use by 20%, saving 2.6 million gallons per year. AUS has received the honor for the seventh consecutive year.

Different loads of laundry are processed differently. Some are put in cold wash while some are processed at very high temperature like 75-80°C. Our in house laundry system has Milnor and Unimac washer extractors, ADC and Supershine drying tumbler, Union dry-cleaning machines, Jenson Flatwork Ironer double roll/cross folder, hosts of Forenta/Ajax/Cissell presses and Thermopatch marking machine. One technician from AMC firm comes every day. Every two months, a machine is taken for normal cleaning and preventive maintenance. While some machines like washing machine, dryers and presses require frequent servicing, some others like dry-cleaning machine, compressor, vacuum machine and flatwork ironer need much less attention.

We maintain all records of preventive maintenance. Some of our equipment are still under warranty while the rest are under AMC.

Kiranraj Singh, Laundry Manager
Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi

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1 Response

  1. Thanks for the reminder that the kinds of fabric that a laundry machine cleans can also affect the kind of maintenance it will need regularly. I’d like to look for a good laundry machine equipment distributor because I want to open my own laundromat in the future. I think that having my own business will be important to better securing my finances in the long run.

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