Plant Tours Highlight of TRSA Tech/Plant Summit's Day 2

Bruce Beggs |

ATLANTA — Guided tours of a central healthcare laundry plant and a huge commercial laundry plant highlighted the activities Feb. 28 during the 2007 Tech/Plant Summit hosted by the Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA).
TRSA bused Summit attendees to WellStar Health System’s 86,000-square-foot plant in nearby Marietta, and to Alsco’s mega-facility in Doraville covering 260,000 square feet.
WellStar’s plant serves the five hospitals in its system — 382-bed Cobb Hospital in Austell, 98-bed Douglas Hospital in Douglas, 83-bed Paulding Hospital in Dallas (Ga.), and 633-bed Kennestone Hospital and 115-bed Windy City Hospital, both in Marietta — as well as several clinics.
The laundry is a division of the health system. It operates seven days a week on one shift with 100 employees, 38 of whom are in production. Each week, more than 250,000 pounds of healthcare textiles are processed there. Four routes utilizing two tractor-trailers and two straight trucks to the hospitals and a van to the medical clinics run from the facility daily.
WellStar’s washroom has two continuous-batch washers, each with a two-stage press, and four washer-extractors, all from Milnor. There are 11 dryers in the facility. In the flatwork department, WellStar utilizes three ironers (American Super Sylon, G.A. Braun and Jensen), three Jensen feeders, a Chicago Dryer Co. feeder and a Chicago® cross-folder, three Jensen folders or cross-folders, four Chicago® small-piece folders and two Chicago® blanket folders.
The plant uses a water recycling and reuse system by AquaRecycle and reports cleaning and recycling not only the rinse water but also 100% of the laundry wastewater. In the power plant, WellStar has a heat-recovery system by Thermal Engineering of Arizona. Chemicals are provided by U.N.X.
Cart dumpers are used to load soiled linen onto a conveyor belt, after which WellStar employees separate the linen into laundry bags. When the bags reach a specified soil weight, the rail system moves the bag to the wash aisle for processing. The soil-sort system is the design of Fairfield Laundry Machinery.
WellStar uses software by Standard Textile Co. to manage the distribution of reusable textiles, surgical and other products through laundry carts on specific floors and areas of their client hospitals.
Alsco was founded in 1889 and today operates linen and uniform processing, cleanroom, manufacturing and sales/distribution facilities throughout the world. Alsco acquired its Marietta laundry plant in September 2006 from its purchase of National Linen and Uniform Service.
National Linen built the Marietta plant in 2005 as one of the world’s largest laundries. There are 220,000 square feet of processing space in the 260,000-square-foot facility that operates five days a week on one shift. The plant serves depots in Birmingham, Ala.; Columbus, Ga.; Greenville, S.C.; Macon, Ga.; and Chattanooga, Tenn., through 81 routes.
The facility employs 360 people (215 in production) in processing 950,000 to 1 million pounds of linen and garments each week. Eighty percent of the work is in hospitality linen, with the remainder being a combination of garments, dust-control items and healthcare garments.
The plant has four Milnor CBWs. Two of the tunnel washers use press extraction while two utilize centrifugal extraction. A two-level shuttle system moves textile items from the washers to one of 12 dryers. The conventional wash aisle features six Jensen washers feeding three dryers through an automated shuttle system. The plant utilizes advanced chemical-injection systems to reduce chemical costs and to increase energy and water efficiency of both the tunnels and conventional washers. WSI supplies the chemicals through an injection system designed by Softrol.
E-Tech rail systems help Alsco process 2,000 to 3,000 garments daily through a Colmac tunnel finisher and two Colmac shirt presses, and to move goods from dryers to the flatwork and finishing areas. Three Chicago® spreader-feeders and three Jensen large-piece feeders are part of the large-piece flatwork finishing system. There are seven, 6-lane Jensen ironers in the plant for processing napkins and other small pieces.
Tech/Plant Summit attendees returned to the Georgia Tech Global Learning & Conference Center in the afternoon to attend educational sessions. The Summit ended Thursday.

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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