“The Importance of Pre-Installation Planning”
How many times has this happened to you or your installation technicians?
Your OPL laundry dispenser arrives and, once on site, you have to go out to the hardware store because you didn’t have the right fitting, the right amount of tubing, or enough clamps? We hear this over and over. Not only do you have to go once, you sometimes have to return for a second or third time. It can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive.
This scenario can be avoided. It’s called thorough pre-installation planning. I’m not talking about taking a picture or calling the maintenance supervisor to have them provide you “estimates”. I’m talking about taking a detailed examination of the laundry at the time you make the sale. You’re already there so take a few minutes and walk into the laundry room to see what is needed at time of your installation. You will be glad you did.
- Washing Machines
Inspect and record the size and number of washing machines. Note the type of processor(s) used for programming wash formulas. Are they fully programmable? If unsure, get the model and serial numbers and review the manual online. Next, look at the supply signal box and determine the voltage of the signal outputs and more importantly, how many actually work. How will you connect your signal cable to the washer? Make notes on the proper connection and always remember that it is best to run signal cables in approved, electrical conduit.
- Mounting Location
Review and inspect wall where you will mount the dispensers. Measure the space to ensure you have enough room to hang the units next to one another in a straight line. If there is not enough room to hang them all at the same level, make sure not to install dispensers and flush manifolds directly above or below another dispenser. Any leak would will spell trouble. Staggering them is best. Also, is this space free and clear of swinging washer doors, entry doors and high enough off the floor to be out of the way of linen carts? Is the wall surface concrete, cylinder block, sheet rock, or other? Make sure that when you arrive for the installation you have the appropriate wall anchors, drill and drill bits for your application.
- Electric and Water Connections
You should note the distance to the nearest electrical outlet and the distance to the nearest water source for a flush manifold connection, if applicable. In the case of the water connection, note the size. Is it ½”, ¾”, etc.? Are they standard GHT (Garden Hose Thread) or other? What does the water flow rate look like? Measure it, if possible (Helpful Hint: Grab a 5-gal bucket. Turn on the water, start filling the bucket, and time how long it takes to fill it. If the bucket takes 1 minute to fill your flow rate is 5 GPM.). To measure water pressure, you will need a pressure gauge or ask the maintenance supervisor to supply the information (Helpful Hint: Making friends with the maintenance supervisor is very important!).
- Laundry Layout
Make a rough sketch of the laundry’s layout, noting the distances between washers, behind washers, etc. This will determine if you need a step stool, ladder, or some other way to access hard to reach spaces. Also, make sure to measure the distances from the dispenser mounting location to the washers and from the chemical storage location to the dispensers.
- Current Formula Set-up
Write down or take a picture of the current formulas used by the laundry, in their numbered order, and with actual names. If there is no chart posted, use the washer processor to review the information or ask a supervisor or manager on duty for help (Helpful Hint: Making friends with this person is also very important, so now would be great time for introductions!). Staying consistent with formula names and numbers helps make transitions from one supplier to another easy to manage. Are the formulas in English, Spanish or another language? This will come in handy when you fill out your Formula Wall Charts for the customer.
- Flush Manifold
If you are using a flush manifold, review how to best to connect your manifold line to the back of each washer or supply hopper. Note the type of connections (barb, plug, other) and what size they are (3/8”, ½”, ¾” or other). Are the connections plastic or metal? What is the distance from the laundry dispenser to the washer? Knowing the distance from the dispenser to the washer will come in handy when you are programming a flush time for your dosing system. If you are not using a flush manifold, you will want to note the type of chemical line connections on the back of the machine or near the supply hopper. What size are the pipe threads, hose barbs, or plastic knockouts? It is important to make sure you choose chemically compatible materials for all fittings where you will be directly connecting the chemical lines.
- Removing Existing Equipment
Finally, make a few notes on how best to remove the existing equipment safely and effectively once you are onsite for the installation. This important exercise can save you valuable time, not to mention prevent accidents.
Following these simple steps will help you and your team plan, prepare and execute installations more efficiently and professionally. Implementing a pre-installation process makes it easier to stock materials for the service technicians’ trucks and standardize your installations. This standardization will help minimize SKUs and shelf space and help to create simple and turnkey installations for customers everywhere.
For more information on the benefits of standardizing laundry installations, contact Lavo Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949-377-1250.