Chasing the dream 02 Jan 2019

Razia and Iqbal Desai were looking for an additional shop to complement their existing drycleaning business in Kensington and found that Chase Cleaners on Old Brompton Road was for sale. Once it was theirs, they set about fully refurbishing the facility and replacing all the equipment. Jonathan Brook from Vaughan Concept managed the project for the Desai’s. Here he shares with us the process they went through and the decisions they made along the way, and why.

old drycleaning finishing equipment for laundry
Old finishing equipment

The Desai’s have owned and run Melbury Cleaners in Kensington, London for 13 years. The dayto- day business has primarily been overseen by Razia, whilst Iqbal was employed outside the drycleaning industry. The Melbury shop has shown increased revenue and growth over the years that the Desai’s have owned it. 

As Iqbal was looking for a change from his previous career, the couple decided to look for an additional drycleaning shop which would complement their existing high end offering. In order to utilise both shops for production, the couple looked within a one mile radius of the Melbury facility and found that Chase Cleaners on Old Brompton Road was for sale. Before the sale of the Chase Cleaners shop was finalised, a full survey of the premises and equipment took place by Vaughan Concept, in order to check the existing assets and also look at the space planning options for the 142 square metre, two storey facility. It was clear that the existing equipment was made up of old, inefficient machinery, which, due to its age was now causing major issues with breakdowns. 

"The most important part was to get the space planning and infrastructure of the shop correct."

The majority of the equipment was installed in 1995, which was the last time the shop was fully refurbished. The decision was made to replace all the existing drycleaning and laundry equipment, all the plant and ancillary products, as well as fully decorate and refurbish the back of house and the shop front. In order to fully understand the new equipment and potential suppliers, Mr and Mrs Desai took the time to carry out research, visit the CleanEx 2018 show and visit suppliers in the UK and manufacturers abroad.

New Barbanti shirt machine, collar cuff and finishing
New Barbanti shirt machine, collar cuff and finishing

The main focus for Iqbal and Razia was to install equipment with longevity and reliability whi lst maintaining cost effectiveness, both for initial investment and whole life costs. Due to the complex and diverse nature of the laundry industry it was obvious that a number of suppliers would be required in order to fulfil the brief on such a diverse range of equipment. Iqbal was responsible for sourcing the new equipment which includes 22kg and 35kg Stahl washing machines provided by TexID. 

"Both wet and drycleaning systems have been installed in order to give maximum flexibility in processing all types of garments and materials presented to the shop"

The Stahl machines were supplied as dual heat in order to run off steam from the new control flame 4VT 30HP gas fired boiler, whilst having the flexibility to be switched to electric heat on the occasions when the boiler is being serviced. Both wet and drycleaning systems have been installed in order to give maximum f lexibility in processing all types of garments and materials presented to the shop. An Electrolux lagoon 18kg system was supplied by AGS Limited, whilst an Italclean Premium 360 drycleaner came from TexID.

In order to increase productivity on shirt services a Barbanti 882, enclosed, rotating, double buck shirt machine was installed, one of the first examples in the UK. Iqbal also procured Barbanti ironing tables, trouser finisher and former. The installation also benefitted from new compressors, spotting tables, bagging machines and water softeners. Due to the number of suppliers involved, Vaughan Concept was appointed as space planning and project management consultants for the installation. Deliveries, installation, commissioning and training, as well as the production of operation and maintenance manuals were all overseen. 

As existing drycleaning shop owners, the Desai’s already knew where they wanted to make improvements in terms of their equipment, quality of product and running costs. The most important part was to get the space planning and infrastructure of the shop correct. The CFB boiler gives exceptional output, with minimal energy losses, the boiler was sized in order to account for future expansion whilst minimising strain on the system. A degree of diversity was also introduced to the planning, for example having dual heat washing machines in order to maintain production when the steam plant is being serviced. 

Additional to this, Electrolux gas dryers (on a different floor to the drycleaner) were installed and electric heat Lagoon washer, again, in order to maintain productivity. A dual ABAC compressor system with receiver tank was also installed to reduce the risk of downtime. Due to previous issues with water consistency and quality, a new stainless steel water tank, pump system and water softener were installed by Direct Laundry Installations as part of their fit out work. Quality of processing was also very important and with an eye on the ever increasing shirt service market the decision was made to install the Barbanti 882. The design of this shirt machine gives exceptional quality and high speed of production. To complement the shirt machine a 35kg Stahl washing machine was supplied. The Stahl has exceptional German build quality and reliability, whilst maintaining easy to use programmes and flexibility of control. 

The delivery, installation and commissioning of the new shop took three weeks to complete, during which time the processing at Chase Cleaners was moved to Melbury in order to maintain continuity of service for their customers.

You’ll find more articles in the December edition of Laundry and Cleaning Today. Subscribe here for your copy:

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