GREEN LAKE, Wis. — The Heidel House Resort & Spa has been located here since 1945. It sits on 20 picturesque acres of wooded land on the shores of Wisconsin’s deepest inland lake. It started as a restaurant, quickly grew into a family-run retreat, and by the 1970s had become one of Wisconsin’s most popular destination resorts.
Like most high-end resorts and hotels, the Heidel House offers only the highest-quality linens and towels for guest use. But by offering these luxury fabrics, challenges have arisen in its on-premise laundry.
Luxury materials contain a higher percentage of cotton, which absorbs and retains more water than other fabrics. This means heavier loads of laundry with increased dry times, labor and machine use.
Another issue was increasing costs for linen replacement. The resort had older dryers with controls that only offered a few dry settings. Linens were being over-dried, and some were even scorched. Replacing these linens can be costly, according to Jean Westhuis, Heidel House’s executive housekeeper.
To help combat these challenges, the Heidel House partnered with equipment manufacturer UniMac.
Company representatives recommended installing a 75-pound tumble dryer equipped with a UniLinc™ control system, which includes OPTidry™ Over-dry Prevention Technology.
The tumble dryer was the right fit for the resort because it offered some of the industry’s leading features. For example, its multiple burner heat system provides quick, stable temperature control, ensuring high-quality drying for linens. Additionally, the dryer has a self-cleaning lint filter, which reduces fire hazards.
OPTidry connects sensors located within the lifters to a rotary transfer switch. The result is a pinpoint dryness reading throughout the entire load, which allows the machine to automatically shut off once dryness levels have been reached.
According to research, hotels over-dry laundry by more than eight minutes per load. If this extra time were eliminated, a laundry using a 75-pound dryer could save hundreds of dollars a year in utilities and labor costs. Also, the linens experience 31% less fiber loss when over-drying is eliminated, providing significant savings for on-premise laundries (13-25% of an OPL budget is spent on linen replacement).
“In my first year on the job, we had a number of linens and towels that were ruined from overheating,” Westhuis says. “Using the new tumble dryer with over-dry prevention technology, we’ve yet to see a damaged piece of linen.”
And while the OPTidry-equipped tumble dryer can dry the same volume of linens as the resort’s older tumblers, the loads dry faster, increasing throughput.
OPTidry is available only through UniLinc. The total control management system records more than 100 functions using a time-and-date stamp of activities. Westhuis can use a computer to download real-time reports that provide operational details.
Upon her first review of reports, she learned employees were regularly using improper drying cycles. By reviewing the dates and times of the improper uses, she was able to pinpoint the staff members responsible and provide a training session for corrective action.
Westhuis also commented how the reports show the amount of time between the end of a cycle and when the tumble dryer door is opened. This information was used to identify linen quality issues. For example, when the linens laid in the tumble dryer for an excessive time, they acquired unsightly wrinkles that were not up to the hotel’s standards.
Additionally, UniLinc alerts provide managers with important maintenance information in order to make sure machines are running at maximum efficiency. The system is available on both washers and tumble dryers, simplifying training and providing a truly networked laundry room.
The Heidel House faced issues that many other hotels and resorts are dealing with today. By taking a proactive approach to find a solution to the problem, the resort is now saving money through lower natural gas use and less frequent linen replacement. In addition, monitoring laundry operations has never been easier.