One laundry operator in Salt Lake City, Utah, is determined not to let disasters such as pandemics and earthquakes stand in his way. Three months after life changing events impacted his business, Rick Taft is nearly ready to turn the switch on new, more efficient Lavatec equipment at Textile Care Services, his commercial laundry operation on Salt Lake City’s south side.
Impressed with the prior Lavatec tunnel system that provided 30 years of reliable service, he expects a two-phase installation process to be completed by1 July.
Before Taft could get his project underway, a 5.7 earthquake rattled the Salt Lake City area on 18 March. The epicentre was located about 15 miles west of the facility but did not cause any damage to his building. The company’s President and CEO was already dealing with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It began on 6 March 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 27 March.
Phase one at Textile Care Services involved the removal of a 30-year-old Lavatec LP571 press. The productive, 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,” said 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. All of it will be controlled by the osLaundry management system.
Reductions in electrical, gas and water usage costs are expected from the decreased energy requirements. The TT745 dryers are equipped with infrared technology that determines when the linen is dry, thereby reducing dryer times and energy consumption. osLaundry is a platform and technology independent software program that provides operators with quicker real-time information, allowing them to make adjustments to daily production data in a matter of seconds or minutes instead of hourly.
‘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. They are a very good company with good people,” said Taft. “I can’t wait to turn on the new equipment. It sets us up with our healthcare customers in Utah for the next 10 or 20 years.”
The photograph, above right, shows Rick Taft welcoming delivery of his new Lavatec tunnel system at Textile Care Services.