The importance of washer-extractors or tunnel washers paired with dryers to an institutional laundry or textile services company can’t be understated. Simply, no cleaning, no laundry.
But having the necessary cleaning equipment is only half the equation. If a laundry doesn’t have an effective means to transport soiled linen through its facility and transport clean linen to on-premise end-users or outside customers, then what’s the point?
If the wash aisle is the heart of a laundry operation, then linen transport equipment is the network of arteries and veins that keeps blood pumping throughout the body.
These tools include, but aren’t limited to, carts and trucks; highly automated material-handling systems that utilize rail systems, conveyors, shuttles and/or vacuum-assisted delivery; and step-in vans and delivery trucks.
There are many options for getting textiles from Point A to Point B, whether the trip is 10 feet or 10 miles.CARTS AND TRUCKS
Laundry and linen carts and trucks come in all shapes and sizes, and can fulfill a wide variety of needs.
Often, a laundry cart is molded of rugged polyethylene and may be mounted on a steel base. Spring lift platforms are available to bring the content level up to the worker.
McClure Industries, Dura-Cast Products, Meese Orbitron Dunne Co., Chem-Tainer Industries, Royal Basket Trucks, Rotonics Manufacturing, Diversified Plastics, Tecni-Quip and M.I.T. Poly-Cart are among the leading suppliers of these carts.
There are companies such as G.S. Manufacturing, Ebco Industries and R&B Wire Products that are best known for their metal carts. Steele Canvas Basket is well known for its canvas and vinyl-coated nylon baskets.
Some cart styles enable workers to easily and quickly convert a cart from clean-linen delivery to soiled-linen return.
Before acquiring a cart, ask yourself some questions:
- What dimensions do you have in mind?
- What wheel configuration is needed?
- Are there adequate handholds or bars?
- Can you secure linen within the cart when it’s not being watched?
Failing to gather this information first could leave you with a cart that doesn’t fit your operation.
If moving heavy loads by cart is a worry, companies such as Appleton Mfg., Lift Free Products, PHS West and DJ Products offer motorized tugs that can eliminate the strain of manually pushing or pulling heavy carts.
Specific to hospital settings, Swisslog USA offers an automated guided-vehicle system that can be programmed to deliver linen carts between support-service departments.LAUNDRY CART CARE & MAINTENANCE TIPS
Clean vinyl laundry carts regularly with a mild detergent.
- Casters of nut-and-bolt construction can be taken apart, cleaned, and reassembled.
- Inspect carts for damaged bases or broken welds on metal legs that pose a safety hazard.
- A replacement liner offers an economical solution to replacing a cart if the base and frame are in good condition.
— Cindy Lapidakis, Royal Basket Trucks
- Roll carts up and down ramps. Dropping carts loaded with linen from three feet off the ground demands the casters absorb weight far in excess of what they’re designed to handle.
- Plastic carts can be rotationally molded in a single piece with smooth interiors and without internal fasteners. This design can’t harbor mold/bacteria and won’t rust.
- Don’t overstuff during cart makeup. Some cushion is typically built into a manufacturer’s load-bearing specifications, but avoid this practice. Exceeding capacity of any cart, regardless of material, invites failure at the casters, base, shelves and fasteners.
— Robert Dunne, Meese Orbitron Dunne Co.
- Metal: Repair chipped or cracked paint and chrome to prevent formation of rust (not applicable to aluminum or stainless steel); repair damaged, bent or separated corners, edges, doors and shelves; repair/replace damaged or worn safety devices, bumpers or corner guards.
- Fabric: Repair sewn seams, or fabric tears or rips, to reduce fabric damage and keep contents inside the cart; repair wood frames when metal fastened joints are separated; replace wood that is broken or has dry rot (consider using a moisture sealer).
- Polyethylene (with polyethylene base): Periodically clean using a pressure washer if there is no cart-wash system.
— Fred Wilson, Dura-Cast Products
- The only routine maintenance for our aluminum product line is greasing casters as needed (monthly for high-use carts).
— Peter Graves, G.S. Manufacturing
Click here for Part 2, which includes more distribution and delivery tools such as material-handling systems and delivery vehicles.