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EcoDirect Laundry, of Niles, Illinois and its owner Mihir Kothari are relatively new to the linen supply market, but Kothari is quick to recognize business opportunities. An MBA graduate, he has worked in Information Technology, writing software for enterprise systems. Now he has applied this experience to his laundry. “Gathering data is important in any business but it’s how you apply and adapt this to your business model that separates you from the competition.”
Kothari has had some experience of drycleaning but EcoDirect was his first laundry. The PulseFlow® tunnel (PBW™) was installed and commissioned in August 2014 and EcoDirect now processes hospitality linen for some of Chicago’s four and five diamond hotels. Kothari liked Milnor’s modular approach as it would allow for future expansion and his research told him that Milnor had an excellent reputation in the industry for its efficiency and for its eco-friendly, locally available service.
Kyle Zabrin at distributor Equipment International worked closely with him for a just over a year to turn this vision into a functional, state-of-the-art laundry. Kothari says that having a company like Equipment International, with its prompt and well-trained service team is paramount. “It allows a relatively small, startup company like ours to focus on our clientele and avoids downtime.”
EcoDirect’s equipment includes: A six-module 68kg (150lb) 76039 PBW tunnel, a pair of 91 – 145kg (200 – 320lb) 6458 pass-through dryers, two 72kg (140lb) capacity 42030V6Z rigid-mount washer-extractors and two 86kg (190lb) M190 dryers.
Milnor’s PulseFlow tunnel has allowed EcoDirect to grow rapidly in less than 12 months, without any interruptions in production, while maintaining excellent wash quality. Working with the Milnor sales and factory team allowed Equipment International to achieve a seamless installation.
EcoDirect is currently running 16 hours a day and the Milnor equipment has helped keep labour costs down. By using the PBW tunnel, the laundry has been able to expand and increase production without taking on more employees and this increase in production has already allowed EcoDirect to order a third pass-through dryer. Thanks to PulseFlow Technology, EcoDirect looks forward to future growth, backed by local support from Equipment International. ■
Marberry is a family-owned company based in St Charles, Illinois. The business started in 1911 as Illinois Cleaners but in the 1960s William Marberry and his four sons bought the business. Marberry Cleaners and Launderers is now in its third generation, providing laundry and drycleaning services for the Fox Valley area. The business has grown from its initial location and now operates throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, with plants in St Charles, Geneva, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, North Aurora and Aurora.
The present owners, John Marberry Jr, John Marberry Sr, David Marberry and Peter Marberry have a combined experience of 100 years in the laundry industry. The laundry side of the business focuses on providing a quality service for local hospitality and healthcare companies. To ensure excellent quality for the growing list of customers, the Marberrys decided to replace their washer-extractors with a ten-module, 50kg (110lb) 76028 PulseFlow (PBW™) tunnel line including four automated dryers and Equipment International installed and commissioned the line.
Before making their final decision, the Marberry family looked at many tunnel washer manufacturers. When asked why they chose Milnor, plant manager John Jr said, “We liked the quality of the machine.” Milnor’s true top transfer system and the opportunity to establish a solid, long-term relationship with both Milnor and local dealer, Equipment International, were also important factors in the choice.
Marberry Cleaners processes approximately 8.5million pounds of customer-owned goods (COG) per year. Replacing their washer-extractors with the Milnor PBW has allowed them to reduce their wash time by one full shift so the Milnor PBW has created huge savings in time, energy and dollars.
Marberry’s continued efforts to “clean green” by reducing water, gas and electricity consumption are well established. By installing a Milnor PBW tunnel, Marberry has made significant progress towards its eco-friendly goals. The tunnel system allows for clean water at the end of the cycle to be recycled to the beginning of the tunnel process, reducing water usage. A hydraulic press at the end of the line presses most of the water out of the linens so they need substantially less drying time and this reduces the laundry’s use of natural gas. Marberry has reduced its water usage by 66% and its gas usage by 15% since the implementation of the tunnel washer system.
The PBW tunnel washer has allowed Marberry to create a much more consistent production schedule. Washers and dryers deliver work to the production floor at twice the previous rate. Before the tunnel was installed, the laundry would typically run until 3.00am. Now it finishes no later than 8.00pm on most nights and the laundry now works a 14 – 16 hour day compared to 22 hours previously. This has reduced operating costs across the board.
Working with local family-owned partners
When researching the purchase of the system, Marberry executives leaned heavily on the experience and advice of experts at Skokie-based industrial laundry equipment provider, Equipment International. Kyle Zabrin, vice president of sales for the company, is also a third-generation owner and he is looking forward to a long-term relationship with Marberry Cleaners and providing it with full support. John Marberry Jr, says his company plans to use Milnor for its tunnel requirements in future and potentially to supply other automated equipment and he says that the Milnor tunnel lives up to all the company’s advertised claims. As Marberry’s preferred distributor, Equipment International will continue to work with the business, with a diverse team of technicians to meet daily requirements.
Marberry’s goal is to provide customers with consistent and reliable cleaning day in and day out and it adapts its service to suit the customer. In meeting this goal, the Milnor tunnel system is a partner that customers can rely on. EcoDirect and Marberry Cleaners are just two of the hundreds of satisfied PulseFlow customers throughout the world. ■