Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Steam Systems Design for the Ultimate Dry Cleaners

I recently designed a large, state-of-the-art dry cleaning and laundry facility for a long-time customer whose plant had been destroyed by fire.  The new plant would consist of five 90-pound Realstar heated hydrocarbon dry cleaning machines, six Sankosha dry cleaning finishing bays and four Unipress Double Buck shirt finishing bays with six Unipress hot head finishing units for jeans, touch up, and linen.

To ensure the plant ran properly, I had to calculate the steam requirements accurately, so I began by referring to all the manufacturers specs for each piece of equipment.  Then, I could take the boiler horsepower required and determine the pounds of steam per hour required and size the steam supply and return headers.

This plant's boiler requirement of 75 horsepower led me to suggest to the owners that they install two boilers, a Parker Boiler 105-70 H.P and a Parker Boiler 104-50 H.P. I know you’re adding this up, and it's greater than the 75-horse requirement I stated earlier.  That's because the 70 H.P will provide the needed steam to operate the plant on most any given day. Adding the 50 H.P and setting the on-off limits will have it fire only when the 70 falls a little behind. 

Here’s the logic behind my recommendation:
  • We can almost get enough BTU’s out of a stack economizer on the 70 H.P. to heat all their shirt laundry water with a storage tank and circulating pump.
  • Hot water generated from a stack economizer is truly free energy because you have paid for it, and it’s on its way out of the stack.  Why not harness all that energy?
  • The 70 will be the master and carry most of the load.  We want it on and firing on high as much as possible to carry the load and make hot water.  Additionally, flue gas heat exchangers don’t make a lot of ROI unless your boiler is 50 H. P. or higher.  You simply can’t get enough BTU’s to do the job.
  • One issue with this type of water heating system is that it’s making hot water the entire time the boiler is firing, and if you don’t have the demand, your storage tank weeps or pops off due to overheating.  Then you have wasted water down the drain, giving up your free BTU’s.  The 50 H.P comes in when, in the afternoon, they no longer have the demand to make hot water while perhaps finishing up some shirts or running dry cleaning for the next day.  They can turn off the 70 and finish up with the 50.
  • They will also just use the 50 on Saturdays to run dry cleaning machines only and maybe press some dry cleaning for a head start on the week.
  • The steam header is also designed with valves for the header to separate the high-pressure and low-pressure sides allowing them to open or close for fewer loads and not building steam pressure throughout the plant and wasting energy. Of course, this would be done using the 50 H.P because boiler requirements are low and there is no need for hot water.
  • One final detail that I consider to be very important but almost always overlooked or misunderstood is when designing steam headers, you should slope the supply and return so the system drains the condensate, and it is pushed by pressure on the return side.  A slope helps it drain completely after shutdown, avoiding corrosion and hammering on startup.  Parker Boiler engineers recommend 1” every 20’.
If you need to look at your plant’s steam system requirements and are unsure where to start, give Tri-State a call at 1.866.885.5218. We are happy to help.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Electrolux Barrier Washing Machines

I found several on-line articles that talked about how most washing machines are crawling with bacteria; throw your clothes in for a wash, and they could come out being dirtier than before.  There are several industries out there – hospitals, medical labs and facilities, nursing homes, and food manufacturing – where that’s simply unacceptable.  These businesses require washing machines that are designed for disinfecting; where items go in unclean and come out free of germs, bacteria, micro-organisms, and dust particles.  That’s where the Electrolux Barrier Washer comes in.

Here are just a few things we like about this washer:
  1. Guaranteed Hygiene – Electrolux is a global expert in linen hygiene, and their Barrier washers offer an ideal solution by allowing unclean clothes to be loaded through one side of the machine and then clean items to be unloaded on the other side of the machine, reducing any chance of cross contamination.
  2. Economical – Electrolux designed a unique drum and uses their own specialized dosing system that utilizes less water and detergent to help lower costs.
  3. Reliable – Electrolux builds their machines to last, and the Barrier washer is no different with its unbalance detection system, translating to less vibration and wear and tear on the machine.
Here’s a photo from a VA Hospital we recently worked on where control is extremely important, so we have a glass separation wall between the incoming wash side and the outgoing drying and finishing side.  Of course, this operation is on a much larger scale than most, but an Electrolux Barrier Washer can adapt in any facility.


If your business needs a washing machine that offers a guaranteed line of defense from spreading germs, bacteria, and micro-organisms, then Tri-State believes you should look at the Electrolux Barrier Washer.   To learn more, feel free to contact us online or call us at 1-866-885-5218.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

American Dryer Corp.’s New I-Series Dryers

Y’all have heard that quote about boys versus men and the cost of their toys.  Most men get excited over new televisions, stereo systems, motorcycles, boats, and while I love all those things, I also get really excited about new laundry equipment.  It’s true, and American Dryer Corp.’s (ADC) new I-Series Dryers are sweet.

What’s new about the I-Series Dryers?
  1. They are calling them the I-Series, ‘I’ standing for intelligent airflow design; ADC continues to fine tune and make improvements with each model they introduce, and with this series, they’re boasting shorter drying times and safer, more reliable operations.  
  2. ADC has also developed and patented an Automatic Airflow Compensator, which can be added to the I-Series. This automatically adjusts and compensates for the high static pressure caused by airflow restriction.  This compensator senses, calculates, and maintains proper airflow through the drying process, resulting in faster dryer times, lower energy costs, and more efficient use of personnel time.
  3. ADC’s Sensor Activated Fire Extinguishing System (S.A.F.E.) completely removes any concerns about dryer fires because it instantly senses fire, quickly delivers water to that area, and then shuts itself down whether it occurs when in use or sitting idle.
American Dryer Corp. has always been known for high performance and outstanding reliability. This new series delivers all of that with a sleek-looking design, stainless steel basket and front, and self-cleaning lint screen. It comes in both gas and electric for any facility connection.  If you are in the market for a new commercial dryer, give Tri-State a call at 866-885-5218.  We are happy to answer any questions you might have and to get you started in the right direction.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Laundry Equipment Removal Project

Tri-State is working with RW Martin & Sons, Inc. out of Kent, Ohio on a project at a VA hospital in Brockton, Massachusetts.  You might be wondering how a partnership between a company in North Carolina and a company in Ohio came to be.  Well, Kevin Lawson and Shawn Martin met while serving together on the board for the Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA), the two developed a friendship based on a mutual love of all things laundry and dry cleaning equipment related, and the rest is history.

Tri-State spent approximately 4 weeks removing 3 – 800 pound, 2 – 400 pound, and 5 - 150 pound washing machines along with feeders, ironers, folders, an immense soil sorting system, laundry trolley system, all tanks, pump stations, and air compressors. Our knowledgeable combined staff ensured that as much as could be salvaged or re-used would be. Much of the equipment will be scrapped and recycled, while the remaining will go into storage until the renovations are complete.





Commercial Washing Machine Soil Sorter - Pre Removal

Soil Sorting System before removal

Commercial Washing Machine Soil Sorting System - During removal
Soil Sorting System in the process of being removed


Post Removal
Soil Sorting System removed in 4 ½ days

400 Pound Washing Machine being prepped for removal
400 pound washing machine being prepped for removal

Worker removing mounting bolts of the commercial washing machine
Removing the mounting bolts of the washing machine

Commercial washing machine being carried away
Washing machine being removed for scrap




The renovation will take approximately 1 – 1 ½ years to complete and after that the stored equipment along with new, up-to-date equipment with the latest technology will be installed.  We are so excited to be a part of this project and look forward to sharing more photos as it continues.

Not only does Tri-State Laundry Equipment repair, sell, and service new and used dry cleaning and laundry equipment, as you can see, we can also clear out old and dated equipment, leaving the space a fresh, clean, blank slate ready for the latest and greatest.  If you need help updating your facility, give us a call at 866-885-5218.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Boiler Skids

While boiler skids are common for industrial projects, they are uncommon for dry cleaning and laundry facilities because most equipment sellers either don’t have the knowledge of skidding or don’t have the equipment or facility to fabricate.
Preparing the Skid for a Parker Boiler System

Tri-State’s first boiler skid project was for Mega Yacht Cleaners in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  The customer approached us having just recently built a new facility, wanting a Parker Boiler, and understanding the value of getting the boiler into his facility ready to connect to utilities.  He also understood the importance of having a properly piped, up-to-code, complete package designed specifically for his business.

When the unit arrived, the customer called me to say he “couldn’t believe what he was seeing being unloaded at his location.”  He thanked me profusely and went on to say that “it was beautiful.”  I had a fellow distributor drop by his location shortly after the installation, and he said the first thing the owner did, acting like a proud father, was take him to the boiler room and show him the skidded Parker Boiler System.

Parker Boiler system after skidding
When most dry cleaners consider pricing for the boiler and other needed components, they typically don’t have any idea how much time and expense goes into rigging and piping the equipment.  Plus, there is the risk that it could be done incorrectly or worse, on the cheap.  Tri-State charges around $7,000 for skidding up a 15-25 H.P. boiler, return, blow down, chemical feed, and softener system.  This is an incredibly fair price given the extensive knowledge of skid design and equipment placement, welding, steel cutting, tools, and time required to do the job.

Once the customer receives the skid, all that is required is the gas vent stack out, steam supply header connection to the boiler, return header connection to the return system, blow down vented through the roof, drain to their floor drain, electrical hit to the boiler (the return system is already wired into the boiler by Tri-State), and a city water hit to the return system. Then they are ready to go; this is a big-time saver for an install job.

If you are interested in learning more about boiler skid options for your dry cleaning or laundry operation, please give us a call at 1-866-885-5218.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Washing Machine Preventative Maintenance

The majority of our OPL washer and dryer service comes about because facility owners and managers fail to perform routine preventative maintenance measures on their equipment.  Setting up and maintaining a proper preventative maintenance program may seem like a headache, but a bigger headache will come about when you have to deal with downtime and pay for emergency repair service.  Avoid the headache by picking a date, and sticking with that date each month, and following this outline:
  • Check washing machine belts for wear and proper tension.
  • Check to make certain the drain valve is closing properly with no water running out while the basket is full of water. If it is, it will extend the cycle time to make the level control and cause excessive water use.  To correct the issue, take the drain apart to make sure nothing is inside keeping it from closing.  Also, make sure the drain motor is functioning properly and the linkage is lubed.  If all else fails, replace the valve.
  • Clean the inverter fan filter if it is clogged with lint.  If it is, it could cause the inverter to overheat.
  • Check all water valves, as well as the soap hopper, for proper function.  If they aren’t working properly, most valves can be disassembled and sand or debris cleaned out or rebuild kits obtained for repair.
  • Check the shocks if the machines are soft mounted; some shocks will require a proper oil level.  For those that don’t require a specific oil level, make sure the drum assembly form doesn’t show excessive vibration which leads to excessive wear.  Worn shocks and springs will cause the washer to continually redistribute the load during extraction and will fail and stop or at least extend the program time.
  • Check hard mount washers for mounting bolt tightness during extraction, observe the frame at the floor for any movement.  Once the bolts loosen the washer will shake badly, damaging the floor and washer basket bearings from excessive vibration.
  • Check the bearings for lubrication; some require grease and some have an oil bath bearing housing. Check for bearing wear by opening the door and lifting on the basket. There should be little to no minimal play. If the washer is shaking badly and you have play in the basket, then replace the bearings and seals as soon as possible.  Letting this continue will badly damage the washer and cause the repairs to be much higher.
  • Check all hoses for leaks. I can’t tell you how many times a motor and inverter has needed replacing due to a leaking hose dripping down on the motor or electrical components, causing costly repairs.
Simply taking a little time to check the above items on your washers could save you lots of time and money in the long run.  But of course, if you have questions about your washers or need repair service, Tri-State is always here to help. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Using Chilled Water Spot Cooling

Dry-cleaning and laundry facilities can be hot in the winter months which means they are downright unbearable this time of the year.  Understandably, there are lots of folks that simply cannot endure that kind of heat, and that translates to lower production rates and possibly loss of good employees in a tough labor market.

Last year, we offered several solutions to help keep your dry cleaning plant cool, and today we want to focus closely on the one that we believe is the only serious cooling alternative – chilled water spot cooling.  This system uses a process water chiller, like those used for cooling water for dry-cleaning machines, along with a heat exchanger or coil and fan to blow cold air like air-conditioning.  Duct work is run overhead to each work station with trunks rated to handle the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of the air handler and then drops pointed down at each work station.

Here are some important tips when it comes to installing this type of cooling system:
  • Before installing, study the space using known figures like 2 drops per ton of water chiller, a chiller sized for the drop station amount, an air handler sized for the chiller tonnage, and a header trunk sized for the CFM of the air handler before beginning installation.
  • As you are doing planning, focus on routing and how to hang the main header trunk as well as where to install the air handler, supply and return chilled water piping. 
  • Tri-State recommends an 8” drop, which handles around 300 CFM, terminated approximately 7’ above the floor at each station, using an elbow on the end of each drop to fine tune the direction of air flow.
  • Remember, this is a process water chiller with a high amperage compressor and pumps.  Using this system will increase your utility cost. 
  • While it is rather costly to install and run compared to other options, it is much more effective and less expensive to operate than trying to add air conditioning to the entire facility.  Sometimes it is cheaper to cool people than to try cool an entire space.
If your dry-cleaning facility has hit that unbearable point, feel free to give Tri-State a call at 1-866-885-5218 or send us a message.  We are happy to answer questions and offer assistance.