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Keys to Properly Sizing Laundry Equipment

Four steps to procure right machinery for laundry operation

OSHKOSH, Wis. — All industrial, commercial and on-premises laundries process different items, utilize different pieces of equipment, strive toward unique quality goals and operate at varying levels of efficiency.

When it comes to purchasing new equipment or replacing old equipment, proper sizing is critical. Before you do anything, reach out to your equipment distributor and begin a dialogue.

The best way to properly size a laundry, and its equipment, is through back-and-forth conversations on the type and number of items being laundered, the laundry’s hours of operation, labor required, space available and ownership costs.

By considering all the variables, you’ll select the best equipment to suit your needs, now and into the future.


Laundries have their own unique inventory of items with specific weights, profiles and dimensions. Determine the laundry’s piece count in each category, such as king sheets, duvets, towels, etc. Then multiply the number of pieces by weight for total laundry volume.


Divide total laundry volume by hours per week of operation.

Girbau Industrial distributors are able to calculate hourly wash capacity, time on task, utility and labor costs. This information flows into recommendations for washing/drying, ironing and folding equipment, as well as production workflow.


You’ve narrowed down your needs and know your equipment options. Now evaluate the cost to own those pieces of equipment in terms of labor and efficiency.

Keep in mind the most expensive part of laundry room is its labor. So while you’re planning, see how you might minimize labor in the laundry. You can do this in a number of ways, including:

  1. Over equip the laundry’s wash capacity to produce more in less time.
  2. Increase the laundry’s linen par. If you have a linen inventory buffer, you can run fewer hours per week and it costs you less over time.
  3. Add automation. If you have the laundry volume to justify it, go with automation every time!


Any time you purchase new equipment, you need to justify it. The same holds true for automation. Consider these guidelines:

All-in-One Flatwork Finisher—When a laundry processes between 180 and 260 washing pounds per hour, it might be time for an all-in-one flatwork finisher that automatically irons, folds and stacks.

An all-in-one eliminates almost all hands-on flatwork folding and stacking. An all-in-one machine has the capability to process (iron, fold and stack) up to 180-plus sheets per hour with a single operator.

Towel Folder—Laundries processing 250-500-plus laundry pounds per hour should consider adding a towel folder.

Generally, a typical laundry operator can sort, fold and stack different-sized towels at a rate of 120 pieces per hour. By adding an automatic towel folder, a laundry can fold and stack at least 800 different-sized pieces per hour, with just one operator.

So remember, all laundries process different items and there are a number of variables to consider. Sizing the laundry properly is critical for the laundry to meet their production and efficiency goals now and into the future.

Reach out to your local distributor for assistance. They will provide their expertise and guide you along the way. Your distributor is your partner before, during and after the sale.

Keys to Properly Sizing Laundry Equipment

(Image licensed by Ingram Image)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].