Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) recently completed a major renovation and upgrade of its textile care processing facility (TCPF) operation at Fort Roots in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The new 25,000 square foot laundry facility features highly automated, state-of-the-art industrial laundry equipment supplied by Western State Design (WSD). WSD teaming partner, R.W. Martin & Sons was involved in the design and installation phases of the project. The extensive renovations took over a year to complete and the facility re-commenced operations in late January 2018.
The upgraded laundry facility, currently staffed by 20 U.S. military Veterans, can process 20,000 lbs. of clean linen per day, or 4 million pounds per year. It principally serves the laundry needs of two nearby hospitals: the Eugene J. Towbin Medical Center and the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital.
Not only does the new facility wash and dry a huge volume of hospital gowns, pajamas, robes, uniforms and linens including sheets, towels, and blankets; it also separates, irons, folds and stacks them, using automated equipment. For example, staff members feed blankets out of the dryer into the “Blanket Blaster” which spreads them out, irons them, folds them, and bundles them in a neat stack. There are similar machines for towels and sheets.
Additional automated equipment includes a monorail system that moves laundry from station-to-station throughout the facility. The rail system transports 150 pound bags of pre-separated, soiled laundry to a massive Milnor CBW tunnel washer. On the clean side, the laundry is unloaded automatically onto conveyors which load commercial dryers. The clean rail system delivers the clean, dry and sorted laundry to the proper finishing equipment.
The extensive automation built into the upgraded CAVHS laundry operation has enabled a huge increase in laundry production. In addition, the automated equipment provides enhanced ergonomics and safety for TCPF staff.
What’s particularly impressive about the CAVHS’ upgraded laundry facility is it’s not only capable of processing much more laundry than before, it can do so using less energy and water due to its new, energy efficient industrial laundry equipment and systems. For example, the Milnor CBW tunnel washers use a fraction of the water that conventional high capacity washers use. What’s more, the wash water is recycled and reused, further reducing water usage as well as waste.
In addition, the facility’s Milnor washer-extractors produce clean laundry that’s practically dry, significantly reducing the time necessary for drying, which means using less gas and electricity. These considerable reductions in water and energy usage, along with reduced wastewater discharge, amount to substantial cost savings for CAVHS.
The laundry equipment supplied by WSD, all made in the U.S.A., includes the following:
● T.E.A. Wastewater Heat Recovery System
● T.E.A. Wastewater Sump Pump
● T.E.A. 10 HP Triple Pumping System
● T.E.A. 1,950 Gallon Hot Water Storage Tank
● T.E.A. 2,600 Gallon Tempered Water Storage Tank
● T.E.A. Hot Water Tank Heating System
● T.E.A. 20 HP Dual Boiler Circ. Pump Package
● T.E.A. PFT Tank Blending Temperature Valve
● T.E.A. Tunnel Recovery System
● T.E.A. Wastewater Filtering Module with Water Feed Tank
● T.E.A. Wastewater Recycling System w/ remote status panel
● Parker Direct-Fired Hot Water Heater (x 2)
● Parker Expansion Tanks (x 2) – 115 gallon & 139 gallon
● Parker Vertical Air Separator
● JL Wingert 12-gallon Chemical Pot Feeder
● E-Tech New Soiled Sorting/Storage System: E-Tech Cart Dumper, Soiled Textile Storage Conveyor, Soiled Textile Sorting Conveyor, Soiled Sorting Platform, Automated Overhead Monorail Soil Storage System
● E-Tech Soiled Weigh Carts
● E-Tech 200 lb. and 400 lb. Washer Loading Hopper Conveyors with Drop Chute
● E-Tech Clean Side Overhead Semi-automatic Monorail System
● E-Tech Roll-up Folding Station (x 6)
● E-Tech Clean Textile Take-away Conveyor System
● Milnor Continuous Wash Extract Tunnel System (CWES): 150 lb. Continuous Batch Washer, Tunnel Washer Controls, Single Stage Press Extractor, Mildata Central Control System
● Milnor Two-Cake Elevating Shuttle Dryer Loading Conveyor System
● Milnor Gas Heated Dryers (x 4)
● Energenics External Dry Type Lint Collector (x 4) & 5 HP Central Lint Vacuum Collection System,
● Milnor No Dry By-Pass Station
● Milnor CWES Dryer Unloading Conveyor System (x 2)
● Milnor Multi-Trac Dryer Control Center (x2)
● Milnor 400 lb. Automatic Open Pocket Washer Extractor & Incline Uploading Conveyor
● Milnor 200 lb. Automatic Open Pocket Washer Extractor & Incline Uploading Conveyor
● Milnor 100 lb. Open Pocket Washer Extractors (x 3)
● Rice Lake Floor Scales (x 2)
● Chicago Thermal Fluid Flatwork Ironing System: Chicago Flatwork Sheet Separator with Conveyor, Chicago Automatic Clipless Spreader Feeder w/ vacuum, Chicago Thermal Fluid Flatwork Ironer, Chicago Large-Piece Folder Cross Folder w/ Stacker/Conveyor
● Chicago Small Piece Folders with rear discharge (x 4)
● Chicago Blanket Folders (x 2)
● Alliance 120 lb. Gas Heated Drying Tumblers w/ Internal Lint Collection (x 3)
● Spencer 20-HP Central Vacuum System
● Energenics Air Filtration System (x 3)
● McClure Semi-automatic Cart Wash System (x 2)
CAVHS’ upgraded TCPF, described by some as a ‘marvel of engineering’ is something to watch in action. It’s amazing to see how quickly and efficiently it can wash, dry, fold, and stack such prodigious amounts of hospital laundry. And, giving credit where credit is due, the renovated TCPF’s high operational efficiency is in response to the Veteran’s Administration’s directive for sustainable, green facilities for serving Veterans.