SALT LAKE CITY — Rick Taft is looking forward to July 1.
That’s the day he expects a two-phased equipment installation project to be completed at Textile Care Services.
Taft is CEO and owner of the commercial laundry operation on Salt Lake City’s south side.
“I can’t wait to turn on the new equipment,” he says. “It sets us up with our healthcare customers in Utah for the next 10 or 20 years.”
While new equipment is exciting for any laundry, the completion of this project installing Lavatec Laundry Technology equipment comes after several months of life-changing events that impacted the business.
Before Taft could get his project underway, a magnitude-5.7 earthquake rattled the Salt Lake City area on March 18. The epicenter was located about 15 miles west of the facility but did not cause any damage to his building.
Before that, he was already dealing with the start of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation began on March 6 when Utah’s governor declared a state of emergency and reached an unprecedented level three weeks later when the “Stay-at-Home” order was issued on March 27.
The state has since moved to a phased reopening-health guidance plan.
As Utah moved into a phased system to manage the COVID-19 situation, Textile Care Services worked on its own two-phased installation process for the new equipment.
The company says it had 30 years of reliable service from its previous LAVATEC tunnel system and decided to continue using the manufacturer.
Phase one at Textile Care Services involved the removal of a 30-year-old LAVATEC LP571 press. The 30-bar unit was still operating and replaced with an upgraded, and new, 132-pound, energy-efficient LAVASPEED LP572 40-bar hydraulic extraction press.
This was necessary before phase two and installation of the new tunnel system could begin.
“Phase two has proceeded smoothly to this point,” says Jim Slatcher, Lavatec’s regional sales manager for the Western U.S. “The old tunnel system was still producing at a high level and was sold to another laundry operator who will be installing it at his facility later this year.”
In addition to the LAVASPEED LP572 press and new LT60 14-compartment bottom transfer tunnel, Taft ordered other new equipment that is expected to make his facility even more efficient.
The tunnel will be connected to six LAVATEC TT745, 292-pound capacity natural gas dryers, a press discharge conveyor and discharge conveyor system, and a two-tiered shuttle system.
The TT745 dryers are equipped with infrared technology that determines when the linen is dry, thereby reducing dryer times and energy consumption.
All of it will be controlled by the osLaundry management system, which is a platform and technology-independent software program that provides operators with quick real-time information, allowing them to make adjustments to daily production data in a matter of seconds or minutes instead of hourly.
The company says reductions in electrical, gas and water usage costs are expected from the decreased energy requirements.
“We looked at equipment from other manufacturers, but we’ve had a great 30-year run and Lavatec has always taken good care of us,” Taft shares. “They are a very good company with good people.”