What’s a tunnel washer? No, it’s not something you’d need to clean out New York City’s Lincoln Tunnel. It’s a huge tube through which a massive amount of laundry moves—getting clean in the process.
Do you need one? Only if you have a lot of laundry to get done in a short time frame. See this video that explains the basics or read this brief Wikipedia explanation.
At Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.) there are—on a daily basis—a heck of a lot of towels and sheets, among other things, that need to get clean. There’s a company unit, Disney Textile Services, dedicated to getting all of this laundry clean.
All told, the textile facility has several tunnel washers.
|Seven intake and exhaust stacks.
||Duct drops hang from ceiling prior to equipment placement.
||Duct drops with equipment illustrate the close coordination required.
||Duct drops connected to tunnel washer.
That’s been a good thing for, among others, Lapin Sheet Metal, Orlando, Fla. The SMACNA-member contractor is now in the process of working on upgrading a tunnel washer . . . the third such Disney unit on which it has worked since 2012.
“While the jobs really are straightforward sheet metal work,” said Daniel Lapin, the company vice president who estimated the Disney tunnel washer jobs, “there were and are a few tricks involved. We’re working around an existing facility—in some cases, with the other trades, in a small space. It takes planning.
“So doing a good walk-through before estimating the job is the key. Once we get started on the work, coordination is really important. We have tried to schedule most of our work for nights, so as to make it easier to get the work done.”
Work on two earlier projects (number one and number two of the three units on which Lapin has worked and is working) included, for each unit:
- Ductwork for seven intakes,
- Seven exhaust stacks, and
- Two lint collector stacks.
Lapin Sheet Metal prefabricated the spiral pipe—26 inches in diameter, made of 20-gage metal.
“Every job is different, of course,” Mr. Lapin explained. “For example, for these tunnel-washer jobs, there were overhead baggage-handling conveyor systems to take into account—and avoid. We weren’t the only trade in the space, obviously. So coordination remained important throughout the job.”
Lapin has performed other sheet metal work at the Disney site, in a variety of projects unrelated to tunnel washers, including changing out air-handling systems, working on amusement park rides and hotels/resorts, and various types of remodeling work.