ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Though nearly a century old, the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club continues to impress guests with its ornate lobby, soaring ballroom, five classic restaurants and spacious, well-appointed guest rooms, all enhanced by attentive service. Yet, much of what makes the hotel grand happens out of a guest’s sight.
One of the amenities that contribute to the hospitality and reputation of the property is the quality of its linens. Tablecloths and napkins must be spotless, the towels fluffy. The ultimate reason for the stay—a good night’s sleep—should be enhanced by bedding that is soft, comfortable, and appealing. The Vinoy utilizes UniMac on-premise washer-extractors and tumble dryers to efficiently and cost-effectively to ensure all hotel linens exceed guest expectations.
Vinoy operators have been able to take total control of the laundry facility with the UniLinc™ control system. The system, which monitors and manages machine performance and maintenance data, enables staff to select advanced programming of the wash cycles for fabric type and soil level, plus pinpoint drying times for the tumble dryers.
“These advanced features enable the laundry manager to focus on the very busy workflow instead of worrying about equipment performance and maintenance,” says Joe Lopresti, the Vinoy’s director of engineering.
In addition, while the crew is washing and drying the Vinoy’s considerable stream of laundry, Lopresti can monitor the operation’s performance from his office or anywhere he has Wi-Fi access, thanks to the system’s wireless networking capabilities.
Should a problem develop, he can determine when and where it started and look for performance trends. The control system also tells him whether the problem is with the equipment, or if it is due to how it is being operated. In both instances, data provided by the UniLinc system enables Lopresti to develop maintenance programs geared toward laundry room operations.
“The fact that I can dial into the router wherever I want and see how the laundry units are performing has been a huge benefit to our operation,” he adds.
The engineers can also receive error reports and other performance information. As valuable as this data is, its usefulness goes beyond equipment maintenance. If quality issues arise, maintenance can pull reports for analysis by their chemical representatives. Meanwhile, the executive housekeeper can obtain production reports that enable management to gear throughput based on anticipated events such as conferences or holidays.
“For my department, this arrangement means my engineers don’t need to spend a lot of time in the laundry, but can still monitor the equipment,” Lopresti says. “The laundry room is a crucial part of the Vinoy image. We can keep it running and free up our people for other maintenance rather than spending time putting out fires.”
The ability to network the control system wirelessly also proved to be valuable when it came to the installation process.
In a historic building such as Vinoy, tearing up walls to install wiring could greatly compromise the architecture and cause structural damage in the process. Without having to hard-wire behind the machines, they did not have to deal with an elaborate system setup. It took just a few hours to seamlessly install the wireless adaptors to the machines.
Tumble dryers require large amounts of energy and can represent 70% of utility consumption in the laundry room. The OPTidry™ Over-dry Prevention Technology offered with UniMac tumble dryers automatically stops machines once the load reaches the ideal level of dryness. Lopresti estimates it has saved the operation $30,000 in gas costs alone since installation.
In addition to conserving energy on drying times, overdry prevention preserves both the softness and life of linens; goods processed in dryers featuring the technology can experience 31% less fiber loss, studies have shown.
The washer-extractors also help improve the Vinoy laundry facility’s bottom line. The high-performance machines provide an advanced water management system that includes 30 programmable water levels that allow laundry staff to precisely match wash cycle to linen type, which can help save thousands of gallons of water each year.
In addition, the 150-pound washer-extractor’s 300 G-force extraction speed results in shorter drying times, further increasing throughput.
Though hotels such as the Vinoy may be best known for their classic design, changing times require these properties to exceed guests’ expectations in all facets of their operation. Vinoy’s choice of laundry equipment makes it possible to exceed those expectations while keeping costs as low as possible.