Designing Success: Girbau Industrial, for Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center


(Photos: Girbau Industrial)


(Photos: Girbau Industrial)


(Photos: Girbau Industrial)

Each year, a number of laundry projects are completed around the country, resulting in brand-new or retrofitted plants primed and ready to convert soiled goods to clean textiles for the benefit of end-users and customers.

But before one of these plants goes online, there are months, sometimes even years, of effort spent in preparation. As a way to celebrate all the hard work that goes into funding, designing, building and equipping a modern laundry plant, American Laundry News has created this feature coined Designing Success to feature portraits of memorable plant installations.

Here, institutional/OPL, commercial and industrial laundry equipment manufacturers, as well as firms that offer design/build, engineering and mechanical contracting services to the laundry industry, were invited to tout their latest and greatest projects of the past two years.


The new Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center (The Waterfront) in Oshkosh, Wis., offers 176 rooms, 5,000 square feet of function space, 18,000 square feet of convention space, and the Ground Round at River’s Edge restaurant. It also boasts a Girbau Industrial on-premises laundry capable of processing 2,400 pounds of laundry in a single eight-hour shift.

The property, which had operated under many hotel brands since the 1980s, was nonfunctioning prior to its rebirth in May 2013. The Waterfront required $13 million in renovations, according to General Manager Dan Schetter.

Oshkosh’s Girbau Industrial (GI) designed and equipped the in-house laundry for automation, productivity and efficiency.


All laundry is processed in-house for total control over the quality and availability of food-and-beverage skirting, tablecloths and napkins; sheets, pillowcases and duvets; towels, bathmats and robes; pillows, comforters and blankets; and rags, mops and rugs.

“My experience with outsourcing laundry is that it becomes a struggle,” says Schetter. “You don’t always get your linens returned when you need them.”

“The laundry’s equipment mix offers automation and high-quality finishing and folding,” adds GI National Sales Manager Seth Willer. It includes three 90-pound-capacity Continental Girbau soft-mount E-Series washer-extractors and a 120-pound-capacity dryer, as well as a GI 140-pound-capacity ST-1300 dryer with vacuum load. Towels, bathmats and blankets are automatically folded using a GI FT-LITE drywork folder, while sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths are processed using a GI 5-in-One Compact Ironing System. The Compact – a feeder, ironer, folder, stacker and accumulator – processes up to 82 feet of linen per minute, GI says.

Housekeeping Manager Misty Braun, who began her career in a hotel laundry at age 15, maintains that the laundry facility delivers unsurpassed productivity amped by automation and efficiency.

“I came from another property with 95 rooms,” says Braun. “When it was sold out, it took three eight-hour shifts and three operators per shift just to get the towels and linens done. Laundry would spill over from Sunday to Monday. Here, when we are sold out, we have five operators on for eight hours. Yet we have triple the rooms and process food-and-beverage items in addition to regular laundry. We are saving a lot on labor as a result of the automation.”


Highly programmable, the laundry’s E-Series washers properly clean a variety of items, feature a soft-mount design for simple installation, and reach extract speeds of up to 381 G-force. They automatically combine the correct chemicals, water temperatures and levels, mechanical action and baths to ensure high-quality results.

Unlike hard-mount washers, which must be bolted to a reinforced concrete foundation, soft-mount washers slide into place without bolts, according to Willer. “This simplifies installation and resulting costs,” he says. “E-Series soft-mount washers reach much higher extract speeds when compared with hard-mount washers. They remove more water from every load and can cut resulting dry time by up to 50%.”

A 90-pound load of towels takes just 50 minutes to wash and 19 minutes to dry using the ST-1300 Dryer, according to Braun. Meanwhile, the Compact feeds, irons, folds and stacks more than 120 sheets per hour—straight from the washer.


The ST-1300 dryer, with vacuum loading, “inhales” items fed by operators.

“It’s easier to load, because there is no twisting by operators,” says Braun. Once dried and automatically unloaded, terry items and blankets are fed into the FT-LITE folder. The FT-LITE folds small- and large-sized items and requires one operator. It is configured with an automatic stacker, as well, so like items are quickly folded and stacked with minimal effort.

“If we are sold out on Saturday night, we can fold 3,000 towels per day in one shift,” she says.


All flatwork items – sheets, tablecloths, table skirting and pillowcases – are fed directly from the washer into the Compact, where they are ironed, folded and stacked.

“We normally use one operator on the Compact,” says Braun. “That person attaches items using clips, and the Compact spreads, feeds, irons, folds and stacks them. That’s why we can process up to 960 sheets in an eight-hour shift.”

Equipped to handle the hotel’s growing sales volume, The Waterfront’s laundry ensures a high-quality product for hotel guests, according to Schetter. “It allows us more control over linen inventory and quality, and over time, it will save us significantly in outside vendor costs.”

Check back throughout the month for more Designing Success stories!


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