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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Washer/extractor and gear dryer [rack or cabinet]

    My FD was approved in round 18 for PPE, a washer extractor and gear dryer. I spoke w/ several commercial laundy vendors [Unimac, Continental Girbau, Milnor] early last spring. I've also inquired of Cissell, FRC and Williams dryers in the recent past. I'd like to ask for some input:

    1. Does anyone have similar equipment from one of the manufacturers listed above? Likes and dislikes?
    2. Where is it installed - basement, 1st floor? We have a 100 y/o station w/ essentially 100 y/o utilities which needs to be upgraded [per electrician and plumber] to support the equipment. [FYI, FEMA denied our request for upgrades in our AFG app.] Further, our substation is small. The only place we can put the equipment is in the basement. If I remember correctly, most if not all, of the vendors preferred to install on the 1st flr because of the advantage of gravity when the washer dumps. Anyone deal w/ a similar type of install?
    3. Rigid or soft mount?
    4. Any specific recommendations included in NFPA 1851 i.e. rpms, max. drying temp etc.?

    Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.


  2. #2
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    Seacoast NH
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    Default

    We were also were awarded an AFG grant and specked out a Milnor Model 30015T5X 40lb washer with gear Guardian formulas. ( it a smaller unit that will wash 2 or 3 sets of turnouts) Globe Fire Gear recomended this manufacturer its the one they use to wash there own gear. The state of NH Fire Acadamy uses a larger unit but have had no problems with it. Milnor Model M785V 75lb dryer with moisture sensor. One of the reasons to keep em on the first floor is these suckers weigh over 750lbs each! and must be bolted to the floor. Some of the standard calls for temps when washing /drying not over 105 degrees and no more than 100g's when spinning dry. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    NW Indiana
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    Default

    It's been a few years, but when you shop, there's a few things to remember on a washer:
    1. Because of the spin speeds, the max capacity is not the only concern. You also have to consider the minimum sized load. Our 30# machine has a max of 2 sets, but a minimum of 1 1/2 sets to keep balance and extend machine life. Small vollie dept like ours will rarely wash more than 2 at a time. Had we stepped up to a machine capable of 5 sets, the minimum would have been like 3 1/2 sets--not practical for us. How many sets will your station really wash at once and fit the machine to it.

    2. Check with your gear manufacturer for their recommended top spin speed. Higher spin speeds extract more water, but Aramid fibers break down faster if you go too high. The highest spin speed may be a negative instead of a positive.

    3. Drains tend to be gravity fed, so if you're in the basement you'll likely need a sump pit or something.

    4. Spin speeds create a fair amount of centrifigul (how's that really spelled??) force. Mounting surface will need to be stable. Have the sales guy bring an installer with--neither of them will like the idea, but it'll be helpful in your planning. If you award before seeing the installer, make sure the install crew visits before you make ANY station mods.

    5. Find out who the dealer services locally. Our first choice of machines was from a dealer 150 miles away with no other local business. If we'd have ever needed service...you know the rest.

    Good luck.

    earl

  4. #4
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    DuBois, IL - just south of I-64 in the middle of the state
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    We bought a Continental Girbau 20# soft mount machine in 2002 and have had no problems with it whatsoever. We normally wash one set of gear in it at a time and it works fine, doesn't shake the world apart when it spins and gets our gear fairly clean and reasonable dry when it's done. No reason it couldn't be put in a basement as it connects to a pretty standard washer drain and 120 volt electric. It's not super heavy so it doesn't need a major footing under it. Being soft mount it doesn't get bolted down, either, and ours doesn't move when it runs. We put ours in a restroom because all the plumbing was handy. I'd recommend it.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ktb9780's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
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    Auburndale, FL
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    Guys a word of caution here also abou these systems when you put them n. Be sure that you are not violating EPA regs in regards ot he discharge. Remember part of why you can'tt atke it to a laundromat or wash tme at home has to do wih the haz-mats you are washing out of them and you need ot be cautious where that discharge is actually going.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

    "Never Trade Skill for Luck"

  6. #6
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    Dec 2004
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    Johnstown , Pa
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    We have a Milnor and it has been great since day one. On the drying side, since we all know tumble drying is not good for the gear, we purchased the dehydrator. They have a website, just google it. It works quite well.

  7. #7
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    hyannis,ma,usa
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    Default

    Going along with kurts post on EPA regs. HAs anyone had to abide by these and if so how did you do it on the cost effective side? My fire station water dumps into an underground septic tank. My health dept is not completely sure on the exact reg. (which maybe a good thing)

  8. #8
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    Default Milnor

    We have had a Milnor Gear guardian for over five years and have never had a proble. The only work done on it was to replace the fuses and the hoses from the chemical pump that we put on it, and both of these were preventative maintenance. I would whole-heartedly without doubt recommend that machine.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2003
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    I agree with the Milnor recommendation. We have had one for a while and had an issue with the bearings in the motor going out. Even though it was out of warranty they covered it anyway due to its low cycle count. Customer service is great !!!!!


    We purchased a dryer called the dehydrator. Its a drying rack that drys from the insdie out. Simple sturdy construction with minimal parts. The unit is all aluminum. I would highly recommend this unit as well. When we went to purchase this the only options were a retrofitted hose dryer. You should be able to google it and find more information on it.

    If you have any other questions drop me a msg or email.


    Since we have had our dryer we have had like 8 area departments purchase them as well after seeing ours.


    Steve

  10. #10
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    Jun 2003
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    We have a Unimac 30lb rated machine. As stated there are concerns about being underloaded however we were told by our rep that it really does not matter if you are using it in a small department. The things are built to be abused 24/7 in a commercial setting and the only way we would be able to tear it up would be by trying to do so. VERY heavy machine hard mounted on ground floor. Only issue so far has been the door limit switch out of adjustment. One word of caution. Be sure to spec EVERYTHING. We thought we had but turned out we did not get chemicals nor injection pump. Our spec and their bid implied the pump was to be included, but they wiggled out due to semantics with the wording. Had something to do with "injection". Good luck.

  11. #11
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    Default Nfpa

    I am very close with someone is very involved with the NFPA textile division (the part that deals with gear and stuff) who recommends the Milnor Gear Guardian as it is truly made for firefighting gear whereas other manufacturers are really only laundromat machines.

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