Delivering reliability and efficiency28 November 2017
The rise in the number of businesses investing in OPLs in recent years has redefined the shape of the commercial laundry market. Tony Vince looks at demand for the latest generation of OPL dryers
The OPL market is growing as an increasing number of establishments in both commercial and institutional sectors take laundry in house.
New technologies that economise on space without compromising on quality have given end-users the ability to take control of their laundry practice, with a view to gaining tighter control on quality and costs.
For the vast majority of OPLs, the biggest consumer of energy is the tumble dryer, so the latest innovations must be able to deliver enhanced performance to ensure the theoretical benefits of bringing laundry in house are actually met.
OPL market customers typically choose energy efficient dryers with easy-to-use programming, says Peter Marsh, managing director of Girbau UK. These maximise efficiency and effective drying of a wide variety of fabrics.
While price remains important, energy efficiency is an important factor primarily because it makes machines more cost-effective to operate. Customers are also looking for machines that are easy to program and easy to use daily. “Controllability of dryers is important too, ensuring they dry effectively without over drying and damaging fabrics,” says Marsh.
The sophisticated controls of the latest ED series of Girbau dryers ensure delicate items are dried safely, efficiently and cost-effectively. The highly reliable and accurate built-in humidity control system automatically senses when clothes are dry and activates the cool down process maximising energy efficiency and assuring the best textile care.
Girbau ED Series EcoDryers feature Girbau’s Transflow technology. This is a combination of both radial and axial airflow for maximum efficiency and drying throughout the drum, so reducing cycle times and energy consumption.
The insulated cabinet and Girbau’s double-glazed door further optimise energy efficiency and prevent heat escaping to the laundry. The ED Series of dryers also feature easy-to-use controls.
There are 10 preset programs catering for most commonly laundered fabrics. Three short-cut functions – Eco, Soft and Half-Load – are ideal for day-to-day adjustment and can be used in combination.
Finally, the Care Touch drum design, eliminating sharp edges, prolongs linen life.
Detailed design advice
One recent installation is St John’s House, a new-build care home in Norwich, which is operated by Castlemeadow Care. When first approached by Castlemeadow, a Girbau laundry consultant listened to its specialist laundry needs and provided detailed advice on laundry design and equipment choice for infection control, operational efficiency and quality. Laundry staff were also given introductory training on laundry operation and machine use.
Acting care home manager Sanda Scott is pleased with their on-premise laundry that features two energy-efficient Girbau ED340 gas dryers, paired with two Girbau HS-6013 washers, enabling the housekeepers to process the bed linen, bath towels and residents’ daily laundry.
Another care home business, Sunrise Senior Living delivers resident-centred residential care, assisted living, nursing and dementia care services through 25 luxury care communities in the UK. Sunrise provides high-quality laundry service for bedding, towelling and residents’ clothes as a vital part of its full range of services.
As its long-time laundry partner, Girbau worked with Sunrise to review the existing OPL set-up and to recommend a new laundry design and equipment that worked more efficiently and providing better workflow and the highest standards of infection control.
“We now have more efficient workflow with more efficient machines,” says Adam Keens, director of facilities at Sunrise Senior Living. “With the new laundry design we have been able to bring in an improved laundry process. The laundry runs more efficiently and our staff spend less of their valuable time on laundry tasks.”
Each home has been equipped with larger machines, typically two Girbau washers, two 55lb capacity Girbau gas dryers as well as a roller iron. Larger sites have more machines, some also having smaller washer and 30lb dryer.
“Girbau equipment offers the best balance of equipment reliability and operational efficiency,” adds Keens. “Girbau has supported Sunrise for more than 10 years. They give us good maintenance support and customer service with absolutely no fuss. They are very responsive.”
A reliable service response is still paramount. Customers typically want next-day or same-day turnaround on repairs.
The staff training that Girbau UK provides to customers after new machines have been installed is now seen as one of our most valuable services, says Marsh.
While the machines are easy and intuitive to control, the training ensures users are fully aware of how to get the best out of them both in terms of high quality results and efficient use of water and energy. In OPL environments, staff are often multi-tasking and lack laundry experience, which Girbau UK can help provide.
Matching dryers to washers
The right choice of dryer will depend on the size of the washers being used – some smaller washers supplied by Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems have directly matching dryers.
Armstrong supplies a wide range of dryers into the OPL market, including the US-built Huebsch models – the world’s best selling commercial dryers, which range from 8kg (200 litre) to 77kg (1,400 litre) capacities. Options include cabinet dryers and the larger Loadstar/Twinstar tumblers.
“As with washers, cost is important, particularly to smaller OPL operators,” says Tom Lowes, director of Armstrong. “But reliability and longevity are also vital and the Huebsch range has an international reputation for long term reliability.”
“The machines are simple to operate and service and, should anything go wrong Armstrong engineers are on hand by telephone to help if they can, but if a call out is necessary, customers can rely on our quick, efficient national service coverage.”
Armstrong are able to offer a range of attractive finance packages to assist customers including a fixed price hire agreement which means there is no capital outlay and no additional cost for parts and labour throughout the agreement period.
The Camelot Rest Home is a 33 room residential home in Dudley in the West Midlands. The small laundry, equipped by Armstrong on a fixed price hire arrangement, consists of an Amazon high spin freestanding washer and a Heubsch dryer.
The laundry handles everything from the home, including all the bedding, kitchen and dining room items and the residents’ personal laundry – so it is kept busy all day every day according to the care manager, Wendy Madderley. “The laundry is operated by the carers who are all trained to use all the special programmes and is often in use through the evenings and nights as well as day time. We are really happy with the equipment, which is very reliable and easy to use. And the hire agreement makes budgeting easy and eliminates any nasty surprises.”
Hotel uses OPL as back up
The new 105-room KIP Hotel in Hackney offers affordable room only accommodation in the heart of one of London’s most vibrant areas.
Mike Baxter, whose concept the hotel is, told us that with that number of rooms he made the decision that the bulk of the laundry would be sent out. However, he wanted an on-premises laundry as back up to make sure that nothing runs out with the rapid turnover of rooms.
He brought in Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems which installed a 14kg Amazon free standing high spin washer and a Huebsch Loadstar tumble dryer. “Despite the bulk of the laundry going out, the Armstrong equipment is in daily use, operated by the housekeeping team and the porters,” says Baxter.
“Having it there means we can be confident of always being able to meet the demand for clean laundry, particularly towels, and meet the expectations of our clients who demand high standards despite the very reasonable rates we charge. We are very pleased with the equipment and Armstrong’s service.”