Incirlik Innovation: From dirty to clean, fabric care facility saves money

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Veronica Pierce
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This article is part of a series designed to highlight innovative ideas, programs and actions that have or can save the Air Force money as well as improve mission readiness. This article was originally published May 16, 2012, by Senior Airman Anthony Sanchelli, but has been edited for content updates.

As budget cuts hit closer to home for many installations, the Incirlik Air Base fabric care facility plays a major role in saving money and reducing the Air Force's environmental impact.

"We (receive) thousands of dirty linen, and in the afternoon they come and get the clean linen," said Zafer Cetindemir, 39th Force Support Squadron fabric care facility manager. "We have the capability of cleaning up to 120,000 pieces (of linen) a month, so we are one of the largest laundry facilities in terms of capacity in Turkey. On average, we do about 60,000 pieces per month."

The facility is one of only two Air Force owned and operated fabric care centers. The fabric care technicians there handle linen from on-base facilities such as the Club Complex, Big City Bowl, Sultan's Inn dining facility, Hodja Inn and base honor guard.

They also service the 39th Medical Group and the NATO's Patriot Village medical facility by specializing in sterilization of linen for patient bedding.

Additionally, the facility handles dry cleaning, as well as carpet, furniture and car interior cleaning.

To handle the large amounts of linen, the facility operates with 17 technicians and 125 machines. Some of these technicians refurbished and reengineered old parts to create one of a kind fabric care machines only used at Incirlik AB.

Of these 125 machines, the fabric care facility technicians self-constructed four from recycled parts, saving the Air Force thousands of dollars. These four machines include a hanger-making machine, trouser guard machine, garment bag sealer and a carpet rinsing and drying machine. The hanger maker alone cut the price of hangers in half, saving the Air Force $3,000 annually, according to Cetindemir.

"The laundry facility has its own engineers on site that are able to repair and fix equipment. These individuals have degrees and certifications form accredited institutions that allow them to perform these duties on base without having to contract out the work," said Joseph Dyson, 39th FSS sustainment services flight chief. "Not only are we saving money for our wing, but we are also passing on savings to the customers on base for personal services."

Another innovative cost saving change was introduced by using a computerized pricing garment marking system at both the pick-up and main plant.

"With this system we save money on the tickets and give our customers a much better and reliable service," said Cetindemir. "With this system we pay less for the tickets (receipts) and save about $1,500 a year."

With the Air Force's commitment to fiscal stewardship, the fabric care facility is helping to ensure Incirlik AB makes every dollar count.