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Conveyors: Essential to Drycleaning Production Flow (Part 1)

Use it to decrease steps because, ‘If you’re walking, you’re not working!’

CHICAGO — Conveyors are the arteries that carry work through your plant and help things flow.

“Conveyors are an essential part of any drycleaning business. It is how we move clothes throughout the plant. It allows us to access a large amount of clothes in a small space and a conveyor also allows us assemble orders without unnecessary steps.

“In simple terms a conveyor moves clothes from point A to point B. It stores clothes and allows us to access them quickly. It will save on space and increases the production flow by decreasing steps.”

That’s Kathy Benzinger, the president and owner of Benzinger’s Clothing Care in Buffalo, N.Y.

“A funny story about conveyors — I remember how difficult they are to operate when the power is out. There have been occasions when the store is open but the power is out and a customer needs their dry cleaning.

“We will have to shimmy between the conveyor and the wall to find the customer’s items or shimmy between two conveyors that are side by side. This is always good for a chuckle with the customers.”

She says that: “If you are considering a conveyor but can’t afford a new one, you can look into buying a used one. They don’t break down often and if they do it’s usually a quick and easy fix. Over the past 20 years we’ve purchased both old and new and have never replaced a conveyor.”

They currently have conveyors at all of their satellite stores, she indicates.

“At our main plant we have a 140-foot screw conveyor that carries the garments from production to assembly, where the assembly conveyor will assemble the orders for bagging. The screw conveyor and assembly conveyor allow us to minimize our steps and increase our efficiency,” Benzinger says.

“The screw conveyor is one continues twisting conveyor designed to carry finished garments from each pressing station to Inspection, Assembly & Bagging, or IAB, as we say,” relates Benzinger.

“This allows the pressers to simply put a garment on the screw conveyor and it’s on its way. It also allows production to send items to spotting and repair as it passes by both stations,” she notes.

Says Benzinger: “The assembly conveyor allows the inspector to assemble orders without walking around. The inspector scans the bar code and the assembly conveyor will rotate automatically and stop at a specific number. The inspector will put the item on that number until the order is complete.

“Throughout the day, the inspector will rarely need to take a step, which maximizes production. This allows our orders to be processed without having to walk up and down the slick rail. We have a saying in the plant that: ‘If you’re walking, you’re not working!’

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.