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Equipment Maintenance

Wednesday, March 24, 20100 comments

Today was an interesting day, not much different than most, just a day that got me thinking about something. Let me explain first.  I had 2 different customers that had asked for my assistance in solving an odor problem in their dry cleaning machines.  Both were using dry to dry machines, with high flash hydrocarbon solvent.  The first didn't really have an odor, what he was experiencing was a change in solvents.  He had been using Exxon DF2000 for quite a while, but with the economy slowing down, opted for a cheaper solvent. The results were not so pleasant.  What he experienced was a residual odor or smell, left in the garment that kind of lingers along. He now has about 55 gallons worth of that product along with its residual odor/smell mixed into his machine.  But that is a subject for a different day.

The second plant had an obvious bacterial smell in the machine.  Upon closer inspection, it would appear that there hadn't been much maintenance done on this machine in quite sometime, if ever.  The water seperators where horrible looking, taking on a life of their own, they looked like some sort of weird science project.  I would assume the base tanks in the machine were very similar to a river bottom, you could just sink in the muck.  When asked when the last time he had changed filters in the All Carbon housing, the reply was, he hadn't. Other than that, the machine seemed to operate fine. Distillation was working fine.  Spin filters had normal pressure, etc. After discussing with the plant owner what his problems were and the recommended fix for those problems, I was on my way.  In the end, all will have to be corrected,  the solvent might be okay after distillation or it may just have to be discarded, spin filter discs might have to be removed and washed to prevent further growth of bacteria, base tanks will have to be cleaned out. He might not have lost any customers do to the odor left in their garments after cleaning. All of this coming at what could be a significant cost and possible lost customers due to stinky clothes.  So, this led me to the question. 

Why do some dry cleaning plant owners wait until they have this type of problem, before doing the maintenance procedures that would have prevented the problem to begin with? 
                                

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