A sure sign of Detroit’s continued rebirth and revitalisation is evident only a couple of miles from the heart of the city. Last year, Metropolitan Detroit Area Hospital Services (MDAHS) completed construction of a gleaming new, state-of-the-art laundry facility down the street from Henry Ford Hospital on Elijah McCoy Drive. Fourteen years after first connecting on a tunnel washing system, they selected Lavatec once again and have installed new wash equipment that’s producing more impressive results and generating significant energy savings, reports Lavatec.
It’s another step in the progression of Michigan’s largest medical laundry facility. A co-operative joint venture among the Henry Ford Health System, Michigan Medicine, and St Joseph Mercy Health System, MDAHS is the pride of the neighbourhood. A team of approximately 150 employees is responsible for shipping over 2.5 million pounds of linen each month to its members.
With a history dating back to 1972, MDAHS serviced members from a building on Oakman Boulevard not far from its current home. The business grew steadily and MDAHS built an addition 10 years ago that increased its space to 47,000 square-feet. However, at the pace which MDAHS was growing, it became evident greater capacity would eventually be needed.
The new building is more than double the size at 115,000 square-feet. Built with other considerations in mind, the sustainable design features a wastewater heat reclamation system that incorporates eco-friendly cleaning products and recycled materials. The drying portion of the business has its own dedicated room to make the two-shift, five days a week operation more efficient. All areas can be expanded to accommodate future growth, says general manager Dave Haas, who helped guide the transformation.
“The past performance of the Lavatec equipment certainly played a role in our decision making to purchase their equipment for the new facility,” said Haas, a 17-year veteran at MDAHS who has served as general manager for the past six years.
“During the vetting process for the new wash equipment, we wanted to remain open minded when accessing the equipment of each manufacturer. At the end of the day, it was the simplicity, longevity, and the short learning curve which drove our decision to purchase the new Lavatec equipment.”
New productivity levels
The original pair of 14-compartment, batch tunnel washers MDAHS installed in 2007 provided it with the opportunity to improve the overall wash quality. It also impacted the timeliness of processing and delivering linen, including surgical garments and mattress under-pads that contain water resistant micro denier fabric, to their customers. Haas indicated the 110-pound tunnels raised productivity levels two ways. It gave them adequate rinses and the ability to run more pounds of wash per hour due to the single drum at the load and discharge ends, and a double drum in the middle.
On top of the solid engineering, easy operation and simple controls that made the tunnel washers user friendly, Haas said their water usage decreased significantly during this time by about 25%. Less steam was required since MDAHS switched from steam to gas dryers, and combined with the Lavatec extraction presses and a centrifuge, it helped reduce drying times and overall energy use. Those numbers served as a catalyst when it came time to determine which equipment needed to be purchased for the new facility.
A global leader with equipment in laundry operations throughout Europe, the Far East, South and North America, more than 8,000 LAVATEC machines have been installed in the United States alone. For more information, visit www.LLTusa.com.
• LCNi will be reporting in full on the installation at the new MDAHS laundry in the November issue.