Consistency in the finished result3 December 2018
Manufacturers of tensioning equipment for the drycleaning industry are seeing consistent growth in demand for equipment that is easy to use and produces high-quality finished garments, reports Tony Vince.
The appearance of a finished garment is one of the most important elements of the drycleaning process. This is what customers see and the way in which they judge the cleaner’s business. Professional cleaners have several options for this task from specialist equipment designed for a specific task such as shirt finishing to machines that can be used for a variety of garments.
Automation is one way of achieving consistent standards and many drycleaners are taking the fully-automated option, which can reduce the need for skilled operators. The increase in automation also reflects the growing trend towards reducing labour costs and increasing production.
There is a strong move to cut costs, says Davide Rotondi at the Rotondi Group in Italy, which produces a full range of finishing equipment including cabinets, formers and toppers, presses, ironing tables, finishing tunnels and spotting tables. The company was planning to show a new shirt finisher at ExpoDetergo, which takes place in Milan this month, together with a new shirt press and a new jacket press designed in collaboration with a leading fashion brand.
The extensive Rotondi range includes the SR-3000 Series of shirt finishers. There are two versions: the SR-3000/V-Steam, for connections to a centralised steam plant, suitable for ironing wet and dry shirts; and the SR-3000/E-Electric for wet shirts. “The main challenge is to convince drycleaners why it is necessary to use automatic machines that are able to reduce production times and improve quality,” says Rotondi.
Rotondi garment finishers are available in the UK through Service Machinery (SML), an independent dealer of drycleaning, laundry and finishing equipment based in Hampshire. SML also handles garment finishers manufactured by Veit of Germany.
Veit produces a range of energy-efficient systems for finishing shirts, including its innovative 8326 Shirt Finisher as well as Brisay pressing machines that integrate smoothly into the tried-and-tested Brisay SC/VC trouser finishing series. Despite increasing automation, there is still room for hand-ironing technology and steam generation, says the company.
Veit’s Belt Drive in its Multiform, topper and shirt finishers allows very precise tensioning while still retaining the garment shape. It forms part of the company’s innovative ‘Smart Engineering’ system. This consists of four main elements – the Body Fit 3D tensioning, the Belt Drive, the O-Stretch anti-stretch control and the D-Airflow for more efficient drying. These features can be found on Veit’s latest models, like the 8319 Universal Finisher and the 8326 Shirt Finisher.
Veit’s e-Motion system includes options for moisture sensing to adjust cycle time and heat recovery to pre-heat the air.
Purchasing the right equipment
Fimas of Italy is also using this year’s ExpoDetergo to emphasise its full range of form finishers for shirts and jackets. According to Sheila Higgs at Dane Realstar, which distributes Fimas equipment in the UK, there are other factors that the drycleaner must look at when purchasing finishing equipment. The key to success is ensuring the business has the right equipment in place to deliver highly consistent results to customers, and return the garments as quickly as possible.
She says that the Fimas 296 Pressed Shirt Unit is specifically designed for high volume, quality shirt finishing.
The pressed ironing of wet and dry shirts gives a high quality crisp firm finish to the body, yoke, shoulders, long and short sleeves and sleeve placket. Capable of processing 45 – 60 shirts per hour with one operator, the machine has a touch screen control with adjustable settings.
The Fimas 296 is now joined by the Fimas series 298, an automatic unit for pressed finishing of wet and dry shirts, with two 180degree rotating formers and a finishing station with hot plates and hot air blowing. The Fimas 296 and 298 can be teamed up with the Fimas 387.60 collar cuff press, with its vertical compact design. This has a steam-heated and easy-to-clean polished head top buck and safety rail. Pads prevent pressure marks from buttons. The Fimas 387 collar cuff press can be connected to central steam services or supplied with an integrated boiler capable of producing sufficient steam to operate both machines.
Dane Realstar also supplies the Fimas 314 blown shirt and form finisher, which can finish jackets, coats and raincoats. The unit has a touchscreen display on the control panel with fully automatic control, while the adjustable airflow allows more delicate garments to be finished.
The Fimas 317 shirt and form finisher is similar to the 314.03 model, but also has the benefit of a pneumatic cradle for side and rear clamp plates, a choice of cuff clamp shapes including the rotary cuff finishers, and an automatic front pressing plate.
Finally, the Fimas 389 blown shirt finisher is described as the perfect blown shirt finisher for drycleaners, combining ease of operation with a high level of technology. It will finish wet or dry shirts, although dry shirts will need extra finishing. An air operated sequence simultaneously clamps the collar, presses the front panel of the body with a heated panel, the shoulders and sleeves (both short or long) and rear tail and lower traction plates tension the body stretching the shirt body and tightening the seams.
For a more limited budget, Dane Realstar offers the Sidi Easyform range of blown shirt units. The Easyform 2000 (manual stretching) and Easyform 3000 (pneumatic stretching) steam shirt finishers are suitable for wet or dry processing of shirts, jackets, coats and overalls, and can be connected to central steam supplies.
Shirt service growth
Renzacci UK has also seen a growing number of businesses offering a shirt service in recent years, according to managing director Jason Alexander. “We quite often see businesses get to critical mass where they have an increase of work coming in but not enough capacity within the business or time in the day to cope with demand. This is where a Pony shirt machine becomes a shop owner’s best friend.”
Renzacci UK is the sole UK importer of finishing equipment produced by Pony of Italy. A leading international manufacturer of professional finishing and pressing systems, Pony is celebrating its 60th anniversary at ExpoDetergo.
The Pony Angel 2 is one of Renzacci UK’s most popular shirt finishers. Pony has enhanced single buck press unit by adding Pony’s Hot Air Recovery System (HARS). This recycles hot air released during processing and re-uses it to help reduce energy cost. The reduced heat dissipation allows faster drying times, greater productivity, reduced steam consumption and an improved working environment for operators. This single buck shirt press is also equipped with a “touch screen” computer, allowing the operator total control over all the machine’s functions. When teamed with the Pony Collar and Cuff press, a single member of staff can process up to 60 shirts an hour.
Renzacci UK also supplies the Pony Eagle shirt finisher with HARS. This system, like the Pony Angel, works perfectly when combined with the Pony Collar and Cuff Press (CCP) and is capable of processing around 35-40 shirts an hour.
As the sole UK distributor for Sankosha of Japan, Parrisianne Dry Cleaning Solutions has installed several shirt systems in the UK. It can arrange site visits to any of the installations of Sankosha finishing equipment working in the UK.
Parrisianne is also sole distributor for Ghidini in the UK and offers the full range of high quality finishing equipment.
Parrisianne says that in all of the businesses that have switched to Sankosha shirt finishing equipment, productivity in the shops has increased and volumes of shirts processed has at least doubled.
Noble Dry Cleaners in West London had been pressing hundreds of shirts each week. This involved several people finishing the shirts on ironing tables, which also left the shirts with a soft/limp finish that allowed the shirt to crease very easily after being worn by the customer for only a few hours.
Noble Dry Cleaners researched the market and approached Parrisianne, who advised that the Sankosha LP590E single buck and the LP690E tensioning single collar and cuff press would be the best option for Noble Dry Cleaner’s needs. Noble Dry Cleaners now finish double the amount of shirts they once did, in a fraction of the time, without any adverse effect on the quality of the finish.