Most Common Drying Mistakes in Laundry Operations
Note: Although these tips were written with large laundries in mind, many of them can also be helpful for managers of midsize and small laundries.
1. Not loading the dryer to the full capacity.
Underloading is the most common and most costly mistake made in institutional laundries. Dryers with microprocessors can eliminate this problem with “small-load” dry cycles for each fabric classification.
2. Allowing laundry to dry too long.
Besides wasting energy and production time, overdrying creates friction, which wears fabrics out more quickly.
3. Not running the dryer at constant production rates.
It’s a waste of production time to let employees dictate when a dryer is loaded. Often the machine sits idle after a load is dried because employees are engaged in other tasks. There are automatic or semiautomatic dryer loading and unloading possibilities for almost any laundry.
4. Taking too long to load or unload machines.
Besides wasting time, this allows the dryer’s cylinder to cool off between loads, resulting in the dryer has to work harder to bring the temperature back up for the next batch.
5. Too much heat at the end of the load.
The most effective means of drying is to apply the greatest heat to laundry at the beginning of cycles. It is best to restrict heat toward the end when goods are most susceptible to damage. Dryers with microprocessors can do this easily.
6. Not enough cool-down.
If the dried laundry is not cooled down enough during the dryer’s cool-down cycle, at worst there is a chance that it may smoulder or even catch fire! At best, wrinkles are set into the fabric, which means employees must spend more time in the finishing area trying to get them out.
Sometimes the laundry must be rewashed. Ideally, the cool-down cycle should occur when the laundry reaches a certain temperature, not at a preselected time. Microprocessors make this possible.
7. Not keeping filters clean enough to allow the dryer to operate at optimum levels.
Although it should be a given that laundries follow the manufacturer’s recommended filter-cleaning schedule, it’s amazing how few do.
8. Not maintaining the dryer’s seal.
A dryer’s efficiency is directly related to the condition of its seal since the seal keeps cold air out and hot air inside the basket so it can flow through the laundry. Most seals wear out quickly since they are subjected to the reverse side of the basket’s perforations (a cheese-grater effect).
A worn-out seal means the dryer has to work harder and longer to dry goods. You can bypass this problem entirely with new dryers, which have an unusual placement of the seal on a smooth band around the basket.
9. Not moving laundry to the finish stations quickly.
Optimum use of ironers, for example, relies on a specific amount of moisture in the goods before ironing. Allowing goods to sit too long makes them wrinkle; sometimes rewashing is the only cure. Besides improving scheduling, consider installing a conveyor or some other automated means of transport between dryers and finishing stations.
10. Not keeping accurate production and cost figures for drying.
To improve anything, you need to know what you’re starting with how much time and fuel are projected for each classification versus actual numbers. New personal computer systems can provide this information in summarized reports.