BATON ROUGE, La., — Automation. Technology. Robotics. Not what you think of when picturing an industrial laundry services facility? Think again. UniFirst Corporation officially unveiled its new state-of-the-art commercial laundry plant at 1550 Oak Villa Blvd. in Baton Rouge, La. The new facility combines the latest technologies and automation with its classic focus on excellence in customer service and product quality.
Although UniFirst has had a presence in the Baton Rouge market for years, servicing businesses through its Houston processing facility and local area branch operations, the new plant represents the company’s first processing facility in Louisiana and UniFirst’s long-term commitment to the local community, the region, and the state of Louisiana.
A provider of work uniforms, career wear and facility service programs to businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada, UniFirst Corporation outfits more than 1.6 million workers every business day. Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., the company has more than 230 service locations, 275,000 customer locations and 12,000 employee Team Partners. Together with its subsidiaries, the company also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries.
With nearly 65,000 sq. ft., the Baton Rouge facility officially began operations on May 15, 2016, initially creating 35 jobs, with an expected number of employees to be closer to 75.
“Our Baton Rouge location is a true showpiece for our company,” UniFirst President & CEO Ronald Croatti, says. “The facility allows UniFirst to demonstrate the latest high-tech processing systems that are among the most modern and efficient within the textile services industry. It will also enable us to consistently deliver the highest quality services and products possible to area business customers.”
The Baton Rouge plant features the latest innovations in textile service operations and automation so garments can be processed automatically and efficiently. Nearly all steps are preprogrammed and computer-controlled.
After soiled garments are picked up at customer sites, they’re segregated by type and industry, and software-controlled sling systems feed automated washers with garments from overhead rail systems. Uniforms and textiles are then hygienically cleaned with environmentally friendly wash formulas, matching one of nearly 50 custom wash formulas to each customer’s specific industry or garment type. Next, they’re transferred to industrial dryers for measured moisture removal.
Then, high-tech steam tunnel or commercial press finishing provides for a crisp, professional looking garment. Finally, garments are systematically sorted by delivery day, company, and wearer. UniFirst’s proprietary system in Baton Rouge will be processing up to 4,000 pieces per hour.
“Leveraging experience from other recently constructed UniFirst facilities, the Baton Rouge operation is the culmination of all the technological advancements we’ve made over the years,” says General Manager Rocky Morin. “This facility also reinforces our ongoing commitment to quality, efficiency, and industry-leading customer service.”
The new facility also has an eye on the greener side. UniFirst’s proprietary water treatment systems allow the reuse of approximately 20 percent of process water. The facility also supports greater energy efficiency through heat reclaiming equipment, contemporary warehouse lighting, modern rooftop HVAC units, and more. All cleaning formulas are 100% environmentally-friendly and natural light throughout the plant offers a positive employee boost to the workday.
“All of us at UniFirst are excited about the opening of our brand new, state-of-the-art uniform and service processing facility in Baton Rouge,” says Croatti. “UniFirst has always adhered to our founding core values: a customer focus, respect for others and a commitment to quality. We’re looking forward to helping area businesses meet their growth goals and enhance their business images for many years to come while being an active, long-term partner in the Baton Rouge business community.”