Big ’N’ New on Knue Road (Conclusion)

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Panoramic view of Classic Cleaners, named Best Plant Design in American Drycleaner’s Plant Design Awards. (Photos: Classic Cleaners)

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Aerial view of Classic Cleaners (center) on Knue Road in Indianapolis.

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Anthony Carter, shirt loader, next to a Continental Girbau washer in the Classic Cleaners plant.

Tim Burke |

Classic Cleaners wins grand prize in 56th Annual Plant Design Awards

INDIANAPOLIS — Twenty-five-thousand square feet is plenty big.

That’s the size of the new Classic Cleaners here on Knue Road.

Think of it this way: It’s the floor space equal to five large, sprawling homes combined.

Yet this is what was needed when Classic Cleaners — the grand prize-winner for Best Plant Design in the 56th Annual American Drycleaner Plant Design Awards — planned to move its entire plant and offices from a location with one-third the square footage that felt, in the words of Operations Manager Tim Day, “Shoe-horned.”

“The lack of space to grow actually made us more efficient in the use of space,” Classic wrote in its Plant Design Awards entry application.

“It’s hard to imagine that 90% of the equipment that’s currently in the new 25,000-square-foot plant was in the old 8,000-square-foot plant,” says Day. “We just knew that if we were to meet our potential and maintain our growth curve, we needed more room.”

Besides the new plant location, the operation has 18 dry stores. The business notes that it is a quality-focused, full-service retail dry cleaner serving the Indianapolis metropolitan market with services such as: dry cleaning, laundry, restoration, delivery service, wedding gowns, and leather, among others.

With construction finished at the end of 2015 and the move-in completed soon after, and at a project cost of just under $2 million, the resulting layout and installation maximized workflows and minimized labor wherever possible.

Separate laundry and drycleaning areas flow into their own finishing work aisles where finished goods are taken away by White conveyors, he says.

These conveyors deliver the finished garments to separate inspection stations designed to maintain workflow and production rates.

After inspection and touch-up, garments are scanned onto the Metalprogetti assembly conveyor — the last time they’re touched until loaded onto trucks, Day notes.

Completed orders come to the assembly conveyors, go directly to be bagged and invoiced, and are carried on to the distribution conveyor. It separates the orders into 16 lines for drop stores and routes, writes Day. He adds that: “We can process approximately 1,600 garments an hour.”

“Major new production equipment includes a 130-HP Fulton boiler, Hamilton Engineering steam water heater, and Metalprogetti distribution conveyor and second bagger,” he notes.

He also points out that the plant uses “a Kaeser air compressor, two new Sankosha double-buck shirt units with rotating quad collar and cuff, a second White distribution conveyor, a 70-ton Kleen-Rite chiller system and a Sankosha double-legger and topper.”

Existing equipment that was integrated from the old site includes Union HL890SSK K4 drycleaning machines, 130-pound and 90-pound Continental soft-mount washers, and Forenta utility and legger presses with puff irons and toppers. Their pads are made by FH Bonn.

Classic Cleaners has used a SPOT point-of-sale system since the late ’90s, “allowing for seamless integration,” Day writes. The Kleen-Rite spot-cooling system provides comfortable workstation environments.

Speaking for the entire Classic Cleaners operation, which includes 57 production employees, in regard to how the move went, Day says, “We are very pleased with the implementation of the move. We can’t say enough about how well our staff performed during this transition.”

At first, he points out, the company approached the move with a great deal of anxiety because the task of moving the equipment while continuing operations appeared quite daunting.

“We decided to move as quickly as possible knowing we may face the challenges of weather, as well as doing the move during a busy time of year,” says Day. “So a tremendous amount of planning was put into the schedule and the process of how the move was to be made.”

Looking back on the move, he says, “It was a long year in preparing the plan, working the plan, and executing it. On reflection, we feel it was absolutely the right move and we are very proud of the finished result.”

And what are its clients saying about the new digs?

“Customers are amazed with the presentation of the new location,” notes Day. “They say the finished landscaping, the marble entry, and the 24/7 drop-off and pickup (locker) service project our ‘upscale image’ very well. They also say this is a much better location to get to.”

American Drycleaner asked Day to share some personal reflections about Classic Cleaners’ new plant.

“Our new location provides a great platform for future growth,” he says. “It also has a greatly improved work environment for the employees, with higher ceilings, proper ventilation and increased individual workspace enhanced by energy-efficient, brighter LED lighting.”

Day shares this parting thought: “The employees love their new facility!”

To read Part 1, go HERE.

About the author

Tim Burke

American Drycleaner

Editor

Tim Burke is the editor of American Drycleaner. He can be reached at 312-361-1684 or tburke@atmags.com.

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