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issue: December 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Commercial Laundry Appliances
A Clean Fit

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Commercial laundry equipment maker Pellerin Milnor installed sheet laser cutters with auto-load and unload, as well as press brakes from the same equipment supplier, and realized advantages that went well beyond close part tolerances.

Commercial laundry OEM Pellerin Milnor uses two Trumpf TC L 3030 sheet lasers with auto-load and unload capability. Moving to laser cutting enabled the company to consolidate more part requirements to 60-inch by 120-inch sheets. The company’s needs went from 25 different sizes of sheet metal to about 15 sizes.

Jim Pellerin may know more about dirty laundry than anyone in the world.  His expertise in dirty laundry comes from more than 40 years experience with Pellerin Milnor Corporation, a family business that has been manufacturing commercial and industrial laundry machinery since it was established in New Orleans in 1947.
Milnor’s first product was a small centrifugal extractor for laundries and dry cleaning plants. Today, the company’s product line consists of washer-extractors with capacities from 35 to 750 pounds (15 to 340 kg), automated tunnel washing systems for processing 800 pounds (365 kg) or more per hour, denim processing machinery, dryers, materials handling systems, and laundry computer networks. Milnor customers include giant linen and industrial rental plants, hotels, hospitals and nursing homes, textile dyeing and apparel processing plants, and coin laundries.
All Milnor machines are built from the ground up. “We currently operate two Trumpf TC L 3030 sheet lasers with auto-load and unload,” says Assistant Plant Superintendent Terry Gamble. “We also have two Trumpf V 85 press brakes and two Trumpf V 130 press brakes.”
Milnor did not make the move to laser cutters until it was sure it could find equipment to meet its sizeable stainless steel fabrication requirements. “Our ultimate goal was to achieve savings in labor and materials and to increase the quality and accuracy of our manufactured parts,” says Vice President of Manufacturing Charlie Ehrensing. “By opting for the laser cutting device, we were able to consolidate more of our requirements onto 60-inch by 120-inch sheets. This allowed us to go from 25 different sizes of sheet metal to about 15 sizes.”

Consistent Cutting

“We are most impressed by the quality of cut delivered by the new machinery,” says Gamble.  He adds that the consistency of the laser-cut parts resulted in increased efficiency at the press brakes. “The precision of our parts has allowed us to decrease weld sizes by reducing the gaps in part assemblies—a result of the accuracy of the laser. The equipment (also) is providing us with a streamlined flow through the fabrication area, allowing us to put parts directly into other manufacturing processes without losing time. This also means our personnel spend less time chasing down ‘lost’ parts that have been sitting somewhere, waiting for further processing.”
Ehrensing credits the supplier’s press brakes with enabling Milnor to decrease set-up times from nearly an hour to 15 minutes or less, while providing mark-free production. “The more modern machinery has allowed for faster turnarounds, keeping our new machines producing parts. We’re saving about $500 to $700 each week in tooling consumables when compared to our previous equipment.”
Milnor’s sheet metal department is the starting point for all of the company’s manufacturing processes. “We produce a wide variety of sheet metal parts (both carbon and stainless) on a very broad range of machines,” Gamble says. “Essentially, we take flat stock—ranging from 24-gauge up to 3/8-inch—and process it to create multi-dimensional parts (such as electrical enclosures, structural brackets, cosmetic doors and panels) which cut across our product line. The new Trumpf technology has allowed us to eliminate post-machining operations on many parts which require close-tolerance dimensions.”
“Labor requirements for the sheet metal department have gone down by eight to 10 people per shift, more than a 25 percent reduction,” Ehrensing adds. “The loading and auto-loading features are easier on our operators, as well. We’re also receiving better material yields because we now employ dynamic nesting techniques which can place more parts upon each sheet to be cut.”
Ehrensing says Milnor is looking into small-bead welding techniques that may allow the company to more efficiently process assemblies—the result of the close tolerances it now achieves.  It is continuing to rearrange the physical layout of its fabrication area to better accommodate the workflow generated by the new machinery.
In addition to technology from Trumpf, Jim Pellerin sees benefits of the relationship springing from a shared corporate philosophy. “We are both solution-oriented companies committed to our customers,” says Pellerin, the holder of patents on machinery used in laundries and textile plants around the world. “When we introduced CBW tunnel washing technology to the market more than 25 years ago, we brought a level of automation and wash quality to the laundry industry that had not yet been seen. Milnor tunnel washers are becoming standard equipment for many high-capacity laundries, and we’ve grown this product over the years with our attention to customer service. We can now say that we’ve been through an experience similar to what our customers have gone through after our purchase of Trumpf machinery.”

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Pellerin Milnor Corp.

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