02.10.2020 – Blog / Commerce, industry, customer service

How Schulthess sets up a laundry

Schulthess not only repairs defective appliances, but also plans and realises entire laundries – such as the refitting of the in-house laundry at the St. Peter and Paul retirement centre in Zurich. How does this work? The nursing home’s laundry was completely renovated and fitted with new Schulthess appliances in just two days at the end of August. I was there on site and was able to document the deinstallation of the old and the installation of the new machines.

Modern in-house laundry of long-standing Schulthess customers

The St. Peter and Paul nursing home is situated in the middle of the city of Zurich and belongs to the church next door. In addition to the private laundry of the residents of the nursing home, the workwear of the employees and the housekeeping laundry, the nursing home also takes care of the laundry of two external companies. With 85 rooms and a high occupancy rate, a lot of laundry is done every day. To be able to process this quantity efficiently and hygienically, they rely on an in-house laundry. The home has been a loyal Schulthess customer for twelve years. This year it was time to equip the laundry with new appliances.

Planning

Before a new laundry can be realised, it must first be planned down to the last detail. For this purpose, a Schulthess salesperson inspects the premises and the old machines. At the same time, he or she discusses the customer’s wishes and requirements and plans together with him or her which machines are suitable. Once everything has been clarified, the order is placed. The ordered washing machines and dryers are then produced in Wolfhausen.

Deinstallation of the old machines

Before the new machines can be installed, the old ones have to be removed. For this purpose, three Schulthess service technicians meet in front of the large building of the nursing home at 7:30 in the morning of Thursday 27 August. It is still cool and the home is in the shade, but the blue sky heralds a beautiful day.

The safety officer of the St. Peter and Paul nursing home explains everything to the service technicians and shows them the laundry. After a few details have been discussed, it’s time to deinstall the old machines. The connections to the water and the detergent dosing system have already been disconnected. The Schulthess technicians now open the lids of the two washing machines and dryers and disconnect all the cables that are still connected. Then the machines are closed again.

Now the question arises: How do you move the heavy machines from the laundry out onto the street? Since the laundry is located in the basement of the nursing home, we enter and leave it through the garage. However, the entrance consists of a long curved ramp, which makes transporting the appliances a challenge.

Manoeuvring the machines

The service technicians start with the dryers, as these have the least weight. First, the appliances have to be lifted from the small ledge they are standing on onto a pallet truck. With a crank winch, the dryers are lifted one by one so that a metal tube can be pushed crosswise underneath. Crank winches are devices made of steel with which loads of all kinds can be lifted by means of cranks. As soon as the metal tube is sufficiently far below the dryer, the service technicians pull or roll the machine forward onto the pallet truck. The machines can now be rolled around with the pallet truck. But already the threshold between the laundry and the garage offers the next hurdle. With a few pieces of wood, a kind of makeshift staircase can be built over which the pallet truck can be pulled into the garage. To ensure that everything is stable for the big ramp, the appliances are lashed to the pallet truck with clamping sets. Then we go up in threes to the entrance: One service technician pulls the pallet truck, while the other two push and stabilise from below. With great effort, they finally manage to move both dryers one after the other up onto the street. There, all the appliances are placed in a cordoned-off area where a scrap dealer will pick them up.

A new solution is needed

But the washing machines are even more difficult, because they are much heavier than the dryers. A new way of transporting them is needed. The washing machine, pallet and pallet truck are carefully tied together. The whole thing has to hold, because the machine needs to be pulled up the ramp with the Schulthess transporter. The construction is attached to the truck with a thick rope. Two of the Schulthess technicians support and push from behind while the third tries to drive up the driveway. A difficult undertaking, but with groans the transporter and machine reach the street. Relieved, the service technicians wipe the sweat from their brows.

The rotary ironer

The biggest problem on this day is the rotary ironer. Long, heavy and unwieldy, it can neither be lifted nor pulled with the pallet truck. The pallet bends under the machine when it is lifted on one side. After much trial and error, the technicians finally try to make a construction with small trolleys, wooden blocks and the clamping sets that lifts the rotary ironer on the opposite side of the pallet truck. When the whole thing holds as well as possible, the rotary ironer is attached to the transporter and slowly and carefully pulled up the driveway. Twice the construction has to be reattached, but finally the rotary ironer makes it up the ramp. Everyone is relieved because now only a small household washing machine needs to be rolled upward. After that, it’s the end of the day.

Delivery of the new machines

On Friday morning we meet again at the same time. It is cool like the day before, but a cloudy sky heralds rain. We don’t have to wait long outside, because at 7:40 in the morning a WESPE transporter delivers the new machines. The driver of the truck unloads the dryers and washing machines first. While two Schulthess service technicians are already taking the lighter dryers to the garage, the driver of the truck has difficulty pushing the rotary ironer onto the truck’s ramp. By slowly rocking the rotary ironer back and forth, however, he and our Schulthess service technician manage to get it standing crosswise on the ramp and ready to be lowered after about a quarter of an hour. Bringing the rotary ironer down to the garage is also difficult, but the driver of the WESPE transportA248:A250er has a second pallet truck and gives the Schulthess technicians a hand. Thus a pallet truck is pushed underneath at both ends of the rotary ironer. The WESPE driver holds the rotary ironer at the upper end and the three Schulthess technicians support, brake and steer below. Then our technicians bring the two washing machines down in threes.

Unpacking and installing

When all the appliances have been taken down, we take a look in the laundry. Like yesterday, various other technicians are working on the ventilation pipes or the detergent dosing system. Employees of the nursing home have been cleaning and repainting everything since yesterday.

In the garage, Schulthess service technicians remove the transport packaging from the machines. This consists of thick cardboard and plastic film. Light blue protective adhesive film is also applied to the machines themselves to protect against scratches.

Installation of the new machines must now be carried out much more carefully than the removal of the old ones, because scratches must not be allowed to occur under any circumstances. The first dryer is simply placed on the floor, which is relatively quick and easy. The second one is more difficult: The dryer has to be moved from the pallet onto a small ledge. The technicians lift it with a crank winch so far that the metal tube can be pushed underneath and roll it together to the right place. Now it’s the turn of the rotary ironer again. This has to be lowered with great care, but there are very few places where you can attach the crank winch without bending the material of the rotary ironer. After 45 minutes of careful testing, it is finally done: The rotary ironer is in place!

The plinth

The two new washing machines have to be placed on a plinth, otherwise the doors would be too close to the floor and the water connection would be at the wrong height. But hoisting the 750-kg machines onto the plinth is anything but easy. Particularly because the pallet truck suddenly stops working.

Our service technicians attach a crank-up trolley to each side of the first washing machine and fix it with clamping sets. Very slowly, they crank the machine upwards, always making sure that it doesn’t tip over. When it’s finally high enough, one of the technicians pushes the plinth underneath and screws it in place. With the trolleys and the metal pipe, they lift the washing machine, including the plinth, into place. There are bigger difficulties with the second machine: Again and again, the trolleys start to slide away, the machine threatens to tip over or the technicians have to lower everything to the ground again. But with a lot of sweat and perseverance, the second washing machine finally makes it onto the plinth and can be connected. The relief is written all over their faces.

Finally ready for use

After all the appliances are in the right places, all that is actually left to do is to connect them. One of the technicians opens the front wall of all the machines and removes the transport protections inside. Another reconnects all the cables and the person in charge of the detergent dosing system takes care of the water and detergent connections. The rotary ironer is also reconnected to the power supply. Modern, clean and efficient, the in-house laundry is now fully operational again, so that the St. Peter and Paul nursing home can process the laundry of the last two days over the weekend. And our service technicians can now enjoy the weekend after their work is done.

Von Ayla Martis