MIAMI — Goodwill Industries of South Florida recently opened one of the largest commercial laundries in the Southeast to serve the booming healthcare industry in the region and, in the process, create some 200 jobs for people with disabilities and special needs in the community.
The $14 million, 50,000-square-foot plant at 6201 NW 36th Ave. will serve hospitals and other healthcare facilities, offering a processing capacity of up to 40 million pounds of laundry annually.
Dignitaries officially opened the plant during an Aug. 29 ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Goodwill President and CEO Dennis Pastrana called Goodwill’s entry into the healthcare laundry business “a bold decision” that took eight years to materialize, and is expected to reinforce the diversified entrepreneurial activities that generate the revenues that support the human-services mission of the Miami-based nonprofit.
The laundry was expected to process approximately 3.6 million pounds of linen in its first month, and production is expected to grow to 12 million pounds by early 2014 and, eventually, to 40 million pounds by working double shifts.
Besides servicing the larger hospitals, the facility will feature a parallel system of washing and drying equipment to process smaller contracts such as those from rehabilitation centers, neighborhood clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals with fewer beds.
The dual wash line will help maintain the same cost-effectiveness and efficient service enjoyed by high-volume customers, Goodwill says.
Nuts and Bolts
The Laundry Division of ARCO/Murray retrofitted the existing warehouse building to accommodate new Milnor washroom equipment, Chicago Dryer Co. finishing equipment, and E-Tech soil and clean rail systems, all provided and installed by Miami-based distributor Steiner-Atlantic, ARCO/Murray says.
Two 240-pound barrier washer-extractors—teamed with four 120-pound gas dryers, all from Milnor—enable the operation to run express loads, rewash, stain and other specialty formulas as required.
But the workhorses of the operation are the two 8-module, 150-pound Milnor PulseFlow Tunnels (PBW™). They’re each capable of processing up to 4,700 pounds an hour, and are expected to save Goodwill 15 million gallons of fresh water.
The tunnels are loaded with an E-Tech overhead rail system automatically calling for paired slings (like goods); this sequencing ensures the proper mix of goods is processed to maximize flow to downstream finishing areas. Two 56-bar extraction presses and 10 pass-through dryers with 200-320 pounds of capacity, also from Milnor, round out this part of the system.
Adequate rail space is provided to accommodate 21,000 pounds of clean linen storage, in front of each ironer, folder, and hand-folding station. The clean-side storage system includes 70 slings and trolleys at 300 pounds capacity each.
Large-piece iron-dry slings are staged directly to two Chicago® Cascade linen separators. Small-piece iron-dry slings are directed to the dedicated small-piece ironer.
Three Chicago® flatwork ironing lines each include an Edge Maxx cornerless spreader-feeder, FasTrak spreader-feeder and a Rapid Feed with vacuum for small-piece feeding. Sheets and small-piece goods are automatically processed through three 2-roll, 52-inch Powerhouse self-contained gas-heated ironers. Sheets are folded, stacked and delivered to a main conveyor through two Skyline automatic folders, and small pieces are folded and automatically stacked on a Skyline SP-4 ready for delivery onto a main conveyor.
Equipment to process fully dried goods includes two Blanket Blaster folders, three Skyline Mini folders for knitted fitted sheets, six Chicago Air Express high-speed folders, and a Chicago Air XL for large items.
An additional ironer line is planned for future expansion.
Kemco water systems, Cleaver-Brooks boilers, and Ingersoll Rand air compressors were installed in the new mechanical room.
ARCO/Murray described the project as a “complete turnkey design/build solution, including architectural and engineering design; permitting; upgrading the main utilities; expanding the existing parking lot; renovation of the existing office and production space; installation of all process piping, ducting and electrical systems; and final equipment connections.”
Backup generators will ensure a smooth operation under adverse conditions, even during and after hurricanes, according to Pastrana.
“The Goodwill laundry will be the most modern plant of its type in the nation,” he says. “It has been built following a blueprint with the latest technologies and innovations, and its advanced automation will help streamline production and provide a major competitive advantage in quality, efficiency and price.”
This advantage, he says, will allow Goodwill to “leverage” additional business from laundry customers in areas such as hospital laundry distribution; janitorial and custodial work; landscaping; document shredding; facilities cleaning; and other services already provided by Goodwill that will help create additional jobs for poor and unemployed workers with disabilities and special needs.
“The laundry project will definitely establish us as a leading force in the implementation of environmentally friendly solutions,” Pastrana says. “It will make us doubly proud of our unique management systems that deliver consistent quality, reliability and service at fair market prices.”
He’s especially proud of the laundry’s proximity to Liberty City, a job-hungry community with an unemployment rate triple that of Miami-Dade County.
Goodwill Industries of South Florida purchased the industrial building from Ryerson, a distributor and processor of metals, in 2012 at a cost of $2.5 million.
As a business enterprise with a social mission, Goodwill uses the revenues generated by its four entrepreneurial divisions—donated goods, apparel/flag manufacturing, commercial services, and service contracts—to significantly support its combination of rehabilitation-driven work programs and creation of employment opportunities. The new industrial laundry is part of the service contracts division.