Preparing Plants to Operate in Summer Heat

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Preparing Plants to Operate in Summer Heat

Author provides checklist from errant heat generation to exhaust fans

TULSA, Okla. — It is finally spring! My favorite time of the year. As someone that enjoys bicycling, it is the time I can get rid of my winter riding gear and truly enjoy cycling.

As many of us who work in non-climate-controlled laundries know, it is also the most pleasant time to work in a laundry. You can open the doors without freezing to death or leave them closed without burning up.

It is always enjoyable to start your car in the morning without waiting for it to warm up or praying it will start. And if you can ride to work on a bike or with your windows rolled down, then you are truly blessed.

Right around the corner is to me the hardest time to run a laundry. Summertime can really heat up a facility. Your employees are not happy about working in it and neither is your machinery.

April makes for a good time to start preparing your facility for what is coming.

This month I thought I would write up a checklist of several areas I always look at to prepare for the coming season. Each laundry is a little different and they all have machines that might be affected a little differently, so this is by no means a complete list of all the areas to look at.

Below are the ones that we always like to look for.

Corral your heat generation. You can never cool an area off if you are constantly heating it up. Steam leaks and missing steam insulation are all good places to start, and they are good for your bottom line.

Venting heat out. Washers are equipped with vents that too often are left just venting into your facility. Take those vents outside and you can really cool off your washroom. The same goes for your garment finishers and flatwork ironers.

Ironer hoods for your flatwork ironers. We prefer, when possible, to have hoods on the ironers and allow our roll vacuums to remove the heat. All new ironers use this technique to improve drying and cool off your facility.

Older ironers came with hoods that would vent the heat out of your facility. Unfortunately, many maintenance personnel remove these because it is a hassle for them. We have certainly been guilty of this as well.

The production personnel that are working right next to the hot ironers would never vote to remove them. Flatwork ironer hoods save on heating costs and provide employee comfort.

Ensure all your fans are working correctly. I can’t tell you how many times on the hottest day of the year I am finally told an exhaust fan or employee cooling fan isn’t working.

Take a walk through your plant now and ensure every device you have to help with the heat is working correctly.

What is your plan for water or other liquids for your employees? Properly placed water jugs or water fountains need to be thought about now.

Cleaning. Keeping your plant clean during the summer is vital. Motors need to be blown out daily or they will gather lint in their cooling fans and burn up.

Many of us have begun using computers on the production floor. Both the cabinet the computer resides in and the computer itself need to stay clean to avoid the dreaded crash on your busiest days.

During the hot months, I like to leave some exhaust fans running 24 hours a day. Anyone that has been the first employee in the building can tell you it will take your breath away until you can get doors open and fans on.

More motors are ruined during the time that they are not running than when they are. A motor can burn up from its own heat if it is run all day and then locked up in a facility with no air movement.

I hope this list gives you some food for thought and enjoy your summer!

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