Looking for long term solutions28 November 2017
An on premises laundry operation can be as varied as the laundry sector, and the requirements for one in the care sector may be very different for a hotel or a gym. Tony Vince examines current developments
Cost has long been and remains a key factor for all OPL customers. What is changing today is that more and more customers are looking for machines that are cost-effective to buy and to operate. Customers are looking at total cost of ownership including everything from utilities to maintenance.
Long-term equipment reliability is therefore also becoming a very important factor in purchasing decisions, as is the speed and efficiency of the manufacturer’s service support team.
For some OPL sectors – smaller care homes, hotels and guest houses, for instance – freestanding, high spin washer-extractors are the most suitable machines according to Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems – free standing for minimal cost installation and high spin to minimise drying time, which uses the most energy.
For the nursing and care sectors, Armstrong recommends its industrial models in the Amazon, Primus and Schulthess ranges, all of which offer thermal disinfect cycles and which are available in a large range of sizes from 6kg (which will fit under a work surface) right up to 77kg.
“Price is definitely a key factor for small OPL users,” says Tom Lowes, director of Armstrong, “but at least as important are easy installation, easy operation, low or zero maintenance costs and quick, effective service back up if it is needed. In other words it’s not just the initial cost of the machines, but the lifetime cost of the laundry including maintenance and service back-up and utility costs.”
To help OPL customers to afford compliant laundries and budget for on-going costs, Armstrong offer a range of finance arrangements including an increasingly popular fixed price hire agreement which means there is no capital outlay and no additional cost for parts and labour throughout the agreement period.
Armstrong recently installed a new laundry including two Amazon HSF 8kg washing machines at TenderCare, a care home in Oldbury in the West Midlands for elderly residents and people with dementia on a fixed price hire agreement.
The laundry handles everything from the home – bedding, towels, kitchen and dining room items as well as all the residents’ personal clothing.
Dedicated laundry staff operates it during the day, seven days a week, and the carers will very often be using it during the night.
“The machines are in operation anything up to 20 hours a day,” says Christine Stanton, manager of the home. “They are very reliable, easy to use and the fixed price hire option helps us with budgeting and makes sure that there are no nasty shocks if a machine does break down.”
OPL market customers typically choose energy efficient high-speed machines with advanced and easy-to-use programming, says Peter Marsh, managing director, Girbau UK. These maximise efficiency and successful cleaning of a wide variety of fabrics with reduced cycle times, lower temperature washes and reduced consumption of energy, water and chemicals.
Girbau’s Inteli and Logi controls on its HS Series high-speed washers feature easily adapted programming to meet the varying and specialist needs of different OPL applications.
In the care sector, the ability to disinfect by washing at higher temperatures is also an important consideration. Smaller hotels and guesthouses often prefer to use stackable machines because space is at a premium, while larger hotels may use washers up to 32kg. Fitness clubs and spa hotels that process large quantities of towels and robes may use even larger machines up to 57kg capacity.
Cost has long been and remains a key factor for all OPL customers. “OPL equipment is a major purchase for many businesses and they are looking for long-term value as a result,” says Marsh. Customers are also looking to comply with legislation, especially in a healthcare environment. Energy efficiency remains 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. Finally, washers need to provide a consistently high wash quality.
Girbau Inteli washers come with a comprehensive range of pre-installed programs, with scope to add a further 79 dedicated programs. “Many Girbau customers in healthcare and hospitality are now asking for specialist programs that we have written to address the unique requirements of their OPL operation,” says Marsh.
An important feature is the Care Touch drum. “Customers appreciate the positive difference this makes to preserving delicate fabrics and ensuring a longer lifetime for everyday linens, as well its ability to improve moisture extraction and enhance wash quality,” says Marsh.
Wet cleaning service
He says that the introduction of Girbau’s Agua Smart wet cleaning system and the fact that the HS Series washers are ‘Wet Cleaning Ready’ is giving hospitality customers the ability to provide a dedicated wet cleaning service for valet and guest laundry that they might previously have outsourced. They can use the same machines as for their regular laundry, while providing a high-quality finish for all types of delicate fabrics once considered dryclean only.
The luxury 5-star Landmark London hotel recently took delivery of a new Girbau HS-6057 washer for its basement on-premise laundry, which processes all towels and towelling including robes, slippers and face cloths. It also handles staff uniforms and guest work.
The laundry operates every day of the year and Girbau was able to install the new machine in just a 5-hour window at the weekend, in order to keep disruption to a minimum. Margaret Benisz-Kaggwa, laundry manager at The Landmark says that the machine’s Easyload function makes the machine easy to load and unload, reduces the manual effort required and lessens the wear on fabrics as they are pulled out of the machine.
Girbau HS 6 Series washers can spin at speeds of up to 1,000rpm to create water extraction forces of up to 400G. Depending on the fabrics being cleaned, this means residual moisture after washing can be less than 50%, which in turn means faster drying and further energy savings. G-Drive, Girbau’s exclusive control and communication system linking the inverter, motor and microprocessor ensures accurate balance even at high speeds for quieter operation, reduced vibration and longer machine life..
Girbau recently added the HS-6032, 36kg capacity machine to its HS 6 Series of washer-extractors. Designed to fill the gap between the new HS-6024 model and the larger HS-6040, the HS-6032 is expected to be most popular among larger hotel OPL laundries. The HS-6032 is available with the choice of Girbau’s Inteli or Profit Plus controls. The Inteli model includes Girbau’s Smart Load technology, which automatically adjusts water consumption and chemical dosing in accordance with load weight, fabric and chosen wash program to save energy, water and detergent without users needing to do anything.
Washers in the Girbau HS 6 Series have Water Technology List (WTL) approval meaning that businesses investing in new machines can benefit from 100% tax relief as well as enjoying optimum water efficiency.
Flexibility and control
Miele Professional sales and marketing director Les Marshall says that one of the key sectors where on-premise laundries provide advantages is in hotels. Bringing the process in-house allows teams to manage their own processes, giving them flexibility and control, and even creating a small on-premise laundry to process towels can have many benefits.
In this situation, the Miele Professional 5.5kg – 8kg machines are the perfect fit. Miele Professional’s Little Giant commercial washers for on-premise laundries provide a load capacity of up to 6.5kg and can process a full load of laundry in as little as 90 minutes, while Miele’s 8kg capacity machines can wash up to 200 towels per day.
Miele Professional’s Little Giants PW 6055 washer-extractor has a load capacity of 5.5kg and features the company’s Profitronic L controls and honeycomb drum, which cushions laundry, preserving the quality, softness and life of the towels.
In care homes, another key sector that benefits from on-premise laundries, the prevention and control of infection within a vulnerable patient community is a huge consideration. Creating an environment that helps to safeguard residents is therefore vital, and laundry machines must comply with the Department of Health’s HTM 01-04 guidelines.
This states that in order to kill bacteria, linen should be thermally disinfected using washing cycles that achieve 65C for at least 10 minutes, 71C for at least 3 minutes or 85C degrees for 1 minute. Miele Professional washer-extractors were already compliant before the rules came in, and can be validated using the NeQis independent validation system to show that the disinfection temperatures can be met and held as per the best practice guidelines.
Comparison of costs
Xeros, the developer of polymer bead-based textile cleaning, has set out a comparison of costs in operating a hotel in-house laundry. In setting out the arguments for outsourcing a laundry operation against managing it in-house with an on-premise laundry (OPL), Xeros points out that by bringing the laundry operation in-house using a Xeros machine, operators can take steps to reduce the day-to-day costs associated with energy and chemical usage, optimising the hotel’s profitability.
The Xeros 25kg washing machine – and its latest 16kg machine designed for smaller establishments – are said to use less water and deliver a gentler. With a Xeros polymer bead system, the system uses 80% less water than standard industrial washing machines.
For example, if a typical 250+ room hotel spends £13,926 a year in water and sewage costs on their in-house laundry operation, the costs would drop to £3,482 with a Xeros bead-cleaning system.
That is £10,444 per year in savings, which can be multiplied over the lifetime of the machine.
The Xeros system uses special chemicals that are pre-measured for the polymer bead machines. The beads absorb stray dye, keeping laundry cleaner and new looking. Lower water temperatures, less harsh chemicals and a gentler cleaning action allow fabrics to last longer.
An independent trial by UK-based experts LTC showed that Xeros has the ability to remove staining across a wide range of stain types, which were considered very difficult to remove. In fact, Xeros reclaimed 35.1% of the stained textiles as compared to 22.6% with traditional processes.
Xeros has set up the Sbeadycare all-inclusive laundry management programme to hotels, commercial and industrial laundries, drycleaners, fitness clubs and spas. Depending on the particular package, customers receive the machine, installation, financing, chemicals, beads, service and maintenance, training and warranties as well as access to the firm’s proprietary laundry management technology.