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Crothall Unveils Its First Built-from-Scratch Plant (Part 1 of 2)

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Crothall says the $13 million facility is the first in the world to certify under certain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. The laundry process itself is part of the certification. (Photo: Courtesy ARCO/Murray National Construction Co.)

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Bobby Kutteh (left), CEO of Compass Group Support Services; Steve Carpenter, president of Crothall Laundry Services; David Sobcinski, general manager; Ian Bigelow, project manager; and Oak Creek, Wis., Mayor Dick Bolender cut the ceremonial ribbon. (Photo by Bruce Beggs)

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Three Milnor tunnel washers are capable of washing healthcare linen using 0.45 gal/lb, saving Crothall 8.5 million gallons of water annually. (Photo: Courtesy ARCO/Murray National Construction Co.)

Bruce Beggs |

OAK CREEK, Wis. — When Crothall Laundry Services officially opened its new 83,000-square-foot plant during a June 27 ribbon-cutting ceremony, it marked a couple of important firsts for the Crothall Healthcare service line.

The $13 million state-of-the-art facility is the first that Crothall has built from the ground up, and it is reportedly the first laundry in the world to certify (its processing included) under certain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environ-mental Design) standards. And Crothall managed to complete the construction project—aided by many industry vendors—in nine months.

A hundred dignitaries filed into a tent erected in the plant’s parking lot to listen to congratulatory remarks from Bobby Kutteh, CEO of parent company Compass Group; Steve Carpenter, president of Crothall Laundry Services; and others before touring the gleaming facility.

The plant can process approximately 25 million pounds of clean linen per year in one shift or up to 50 million pounds annually on two shifts. Crothall claims it is producing efficiencies exceeding 150 pounds per operator hour.

Crothall built the stand-alone plant south of Milwaukee after Aurora Health Care decided that its Crothall-run campus laundry in Milwaukee would be converted to another use. The facility processes 18 million pounds annually for 17 hospitals. Crothall has been processing linen for Aurora Health Care since 2000.

ARCO/Murray National Construction Co. was responsible for all construction phases. Various manufacturers and Pellerin Laundry Machinery Sales Co. provided design, installation, start-up and training services. Herb Fitzgerald Co. assisted locally.

Three PulseFlow® tunnel washers (150-pound modules) from Pellerin Milnor Corp. supply the needed washing capacity. Their patent-pending technology incorporates top-transfer batch processing. On average, the system is capable of laundering healthcare linen at a water-consumption rate of approximately 0.45 gal/lb, saving Crothall roughly 8.5 million gallons—or 39% compared to the traditional tunnel washing process—annually.

The E-Tech soil-sort area utilizes continuous sorting on rail, featuring LED-display sort windows and computerized tunnel-load sequencing.

A press-to-dry rail system automatically carries 300-pound bags of clean laundry on rails overhead to any available Milnor dryer, replacing the traditional shuttle.

Next page: The new plant processes laundry without using high-pressure steam boilers…

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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