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

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crothall's chicago dryer co. feeder
Crothall employees use a cornerless spreader-feeder from Chicago Dryer Co. to feed sheets in one of the plant’s two full ironing lines. (Photo by Bruce Beggs)

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crothall thank you note
A banner along the tour path identifies key project vendors and where their equipment can be found while walking through the plant. (Photo by Bruce Beggs)

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.

The Oak Creek plant is one of the few facilities in the country to process laundry without using high-pressure steam boilers, Crothall says. Instead, a Thermal Engineering of Arizona (TEA) Steamless Water Treatment System—using natural gas-fired hot-water boilers and heat exchangers that recover heat from wastewater—provides all the hot water needed for washing.

A gas-fired steam tunnel from Colmac Industries used to condition lab coats generates its own steam independent of a traditional boiler.

Chicago Dryer Co. provided 42 pieces of flatwork finishing equipment to maximize the facility’s production output with minimal utility consumption and enhanced ergonomics.

There are two full ironing lines, each featuring an Edge Maxx cornerless spreader-feeder; Powerhouse self-contained, thermal-fluid, deep-chest ironer; Skyline large-piece folders and Bridge linen transition conveyors.

A small-piece ironing line includes a Rapid Feed small-piece vacuum feeding aid, Powerhouse ironer, Skyline folder and DrawBridge linen transition conveyors to move stacked product from the folder directly to the main conveyor.

There are dedicated systems for a variety of tumble-dried items, including three Blanket Blaster cornerless finishing systems, two Skyline fitted sheet and blanket folders and six Air Chicago folders. All have Bridge conveyors.

All feeding and folding equipment incorporates CHI•Touch, an advanced PC-based control system that offers optimum visualization of operating, electronic and mechanical machine functions, as well as real-time display of production numbers.

Crothall management can set, monitor and maintain desired standards and production levels. CHI•Touch guides employees through each step of machine operation and uses the same logic and uniform style display on every machine so staff members can easily switch to a different piece of equipment.

Click here for Part 1.

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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