CHICAGO — Not every equipment matter in a coin laundry requires a service call. There are some things that the average store owner can do—and should do—to keep their machines in good working condition.
American Coin-Op polled several manufacturers this month about the level of equipment maintenance a store owner should expect to perform, what tasks should be left to trained repairmen, and how much money a store can save by maintaining a consistent preventive maintenance schedule.
Q: Do today’s advanced equipment controls require any type of regular maintenance? If so, what?
Leroy Trevigne, key account representative for vended laundries, Pellerin Milnor: Believe it or not, today’s advanced controls are designed to be more maintenance-free than the old stuff. The main thing about today’s controls is that they have more delicate sensors, which can be affected by dust and such, and those are the components that need to be watched and cleaned more frequently. … All electrical cleaning is done with electricity turned off. And vacuumed, not blown with compressed air. … When vacuuming, always use an attachment with a mild brush on the end.
Robert Barile, regional sales manager, Speed Queen: As with any computer technology, equipment controls will require software updates.
Russ Cooper, manager of technical service, Dexter Laundry: It is important to remember that these computers are susceptible to surges and transient voltage. They should be protected accordingly. Also, make sure that the incoming voltage settings on the equipment are checked and set correctly at the startup of the store location. It’s always recommended that lint and debris are removed from electronic boards.
Robert Small, senior manager, global commercial laundry service, Maytag Commercial Laundry®: No, nothing in particular.
Q: Is it possible to quantify the amount of money the average owner could save per year if he/she maintains a consistent preventive maintenance schedule for his/her store’s equipment?
Cooper: I’m not sure you could come up with an exact figure or percentage for neglected maintenance. There is always a cost if a machine breaks down and revenue is lost when customers are unable to use it, but what does it cost in good will and perception of your store if multiple machines are out of order or perform poorly for the customers? There are always hard costs associated with a lack of maintenance.
Small: In general, commercial laundry equipment manufacturers’ warranties do not provide labor warranty, or if they do, it is for a limited time. Some distributors will offer a labor warranty as part of the sales negotiations.
Service calls per year for the following activities average:
Two calls per year — Lint cleaning, payment-system cleaning
One call per year — Dispenser cleaning
Based on these numbers, owners can reduce their number of service calls by approximately five per year. And, if, for example, service calls cost approximately $80 per hour, these simple maintenance tasks could save a store owner more than $400 per year—per machine.
Trevigne: That would be very difficult to do, but it could be significant. Regarding the equipment itself, I have seen 5-year-old machines that look and function like they are 25 years old, and 25-year-old machines that look and function like they are 5 years old. Then there are all the variables. If lint filters on dryers are not cleaned, gas consumption goes up. If water pressure is not maintained, or the hoses used on washers are too small, turnaround time goes up.
BASIC EQUIPMENT SERVICE TIPS
Following are some basic equipment service tips offered by this month’s experts (with the understanding that not all machines are alike). Keep each machine’s instruction manual close at hand and always check for recommended maintenance.
Check that exhaust vent piping is properly sized and clog-free
Check that dryer has plenty of make-up air coming from specified openings
Clean lint filters (after each cycle, if possible); prevent lint from building up on coin drops, control compartments, and computer or relay boards
Vacuum accumulated lint from base
Keep motors clean and free of lint; use vacuum, not compressed air, when cleaning motors
Check color of burner flame; bright blue is good, light yellow means machine is starved for gas or air
Make sure machine is properly mounted/balanced
Dismantle and clean exhaust/internal ducting once a year
Vacuum photo-eye components periodically to remove dust
Wipe down and vacuum coin and bill acceptors monthly or at least semi-annually
Remove and clean coin slides following manufacturer guidelines
Check back Wednesday for the conclusion!