“Our old dryer equipment, installed in 1989, was well past its prime,” says Brendan O’Neill, Manager, Corporate Development at LHLS. “The challenge we faced was replacing it without interrupting service to our customers. We needed to build a space where the dryers and materials handling system could be installed and then dovetailed into our current process lines.”
The plan began to take shape three years ago. “We tried every avenue to figure out the most economical way to do this.” Expansion of the present property was not an option for LHLS, and a move to a new site was financially prohibitive. LHLS was forced to look within their current footprint for a solution. The only way to go was up.
Working with local engineering, electrical, mechanical and construction companies, LHLS began the addition of a third floor level in October 2013. Renovations were completed in September of this year. The third level adds approximately 8,000 square feet to the building and includes advanced dryers from Jensen-Group in Germany, and an automated Futurail linen transporting system manufactured by Jensen-Group in the U.S. The new drying equipment and handling system increases throughput and capacity by over 25%.
On the main level, linen is washed and the excess moisture is removed. Then it is transported along the monorail system through an opening in the roof to the third floor, where it is placed on a conveyor belt. The linen is systematically loaded into specific dryers. When the linen is dry, the dryers tilt to unload the linen onto a conveyor belt that transports it to a chute where it is dropped back to the main level for finishing. Along the way, data is collected on each load.
“We now have the ability to track dryer efficiency, load weight and volume processed. In addition, with the data that travels with each load, we can troubleshoot any issues precisely and easily. No more guesswork.”
With the new equipment comes significant savings in energy consumption, specifically natural gas and hydro, which helps to reduce costs and keep LHLS prices competitive. “We can continue to provide the greatest value for service to our customers,” says O’Neill.
Moving the drying and materials handling system to the third floor created space on the main level, which will not be empty for long. “We will be improving process flow and quality for personal clothing, specials and uniforms, including surgical scrubs”