Manufacturers are focusing their engineering skills on redesigning their washer-extractors to meet the demands of a market ever conscious of the need to save resources and their costs both now and in the future. The latest generation of machines represent a streamlined approach to design without sacrificing durability and efficiency.

Lee Wilson, vice president of international sales at Alliance Laundry Systems, says that in the past, washer-extractor development focussed primarily on customers’ demands for excellent wash quality and the ultimate in reliability. Today, he believes, laundries have placed many additional standards on manufacturers – labour-saving features, water- and utility-saving features, greater flexibility and traits that will help equip their laundry to handle the largest daily volumes possible.

Using feedback from laundry customers, he says Alliance has focussed on these goals in producing the next generation of washer-extractors, equipped with state-of-the-art microprocessor controls. The latest development is the UniLinc control for the UniMac brand’s UW range of washer-extractors. UniLinc enables laundries to fine tune cycles with 30 programmable water levels, a feature that can save hundreds of gallons of water annually, says Wilson.

The control acts “almost as an on-site laundry manager.” UniMac’s reporting software offers managers access to data that will help them to allocate resources more effectively and promote quality. Further developments to Alliance’s washer-extractor range include designs that provide higher G-force extraction speeds as well as overall improvements to increase the machines’ durability and ease of use.

Energy and resources, such as water, are becoming increasingly scarce, according to Wim Demeyer at Lapauw. All Lapauw washer-extractors are prepared for future connection to a water recuperation system. The drain is fitted with a plug that can connect to a recuperation pump, and the machines’ PLC has its parameters set to manage the recuperation process.

Standard size plugs and open-ended PLC architecture allow operators to choose the type of water recuperation system, but Lapauw can also supply its own water-recuperation package consisting of recuperation pump and one or more water tanks, depending on customer requirements and the capacity of washer-extractor. The tanks are mounted on a stand and situated on top of the washer-extractor, giving the laundry a stand-alone system.

Where the laundry has more than one washer-extractor, Lapauw can offer a central system. The company has also introduced an open pocket washer-extractor, the Combi 1001 that is designed as a “low cost” machine, but introduces developments such as a suspension system with springs and plastic hoppers instead of stainless-steel ones, whilst retaining a tilting system.

Lapauw also has a complete range of three-pocket washer-extractors, from 100 – 300kg, and says this design is particularly suited to handling sheets as the load is divided over three compartments rather than being loaded together in one compartment.

By spreading the load in this way, the machine reduces the risk of loads going out of balance during extraction. The full load of sheets is divided over three separate compartments, instead of being loaded together in one.

Using three compartments also produces a better and more even spread of the load, so reducing the risk of imbalance during extraction.

The question of balance has also been addressed by Tolkar, one of the biggest laundry machine producers in Turkey. The company has recently brought the Smartex brand and its technology under the Tolkar umbrella.

As a result the company can now provide washer-extractors from 10 – 500kg and the machines incorporate technology known as the Smart Balance System which reduces both the vibration and noise of the extraction stage.

The Smart Balance System comes into action as the linen is distributed in the drum and the system corrects any imbalance throughout the extraction, no matter how high the extraction speed.

Sensors on the machine define the force directions and the extent of the imbalance of the front and back planes of the drum.

To counter the forces that could send the load out of balance, the system injects water into the balance cells around the drum in the opposite direction, and this action continues until the process is finished.

Once balance is achieved, the control system can compensate for imbalances of up to 30% for all Tolkar/Smartex machines at any point within the drum whilst spinning at 400G.

John Balman, sales director of the Ipso brand of laundry equipment, says Ipso’s recent washer-extractor developments have focussed on increased spin speeds. This has resulted in Ipso’s WFF cabinet hard-mount models with speeds of 145 ­–165G and a soft-mount range delivering speeds up to 475G.

Developments at Ipso also include greater connectivity to the laundry with the Cygnus control platform for washer-extractors.

Cygnus Professional enables managers to modify wash programs any time, even while the machine is running. Cygnus offers data such as temperature, water level, wash speed and soap injection times.

It provides troubleshooting information to limit downtime and identify factors that could lead to big problems. Managers have a log of the machine’s history, as well as the ability to run diagnostic checks of the main systems .

As laundries are now handling larger volumes, Ipso has added a 40kg washer to its WF range. It has an extract speed of 82G to reduce drying times. Ipso’s CW8 is designed for small capacity on-premises laundries. A matching semi-commercial dryer, with stainless steel-cabinet also is offered.

Daniela Koch, head of marketing at Schulthess Maschinen, says that the Swiss-based manufacturer’s appliances have been regularly accorded top marks for low energy consumption. The high-capacity Spirit TopLine washer and dryer include both standard programs and a wide range of special programs to handle the varying laundry classifications. The TopLine drum sizes have increased to 7kg from 6kg. Special disinfection programs have been developed to ensure high standards of hygiene.

Spirit ProLine washer-extractors cover 8, 10 and 12kg capacities. In addition to 30 professional programs they have a large selection of special programs to ensure cleanliness and hygiene for kitchen and table linen, workwear and overalls, butchers’ clothing, bedding and programs to deal with incontinence wear and other textiles requiring disinfection.

The appliances can be upgraded and programs extended using the Wash Card system.

The Schulthess product range is rounded off at the heavyweight end with the Spirit Industrial.

The 10 – 30kg capacity machines are designed for 30,000 wash cycles.

The company’s Wet Clean System can handle just about any task that might be encountered in rest homes, hotels and catering businesses, for example.

This includes outerwear, wedding dresses, sports and rainwear, sleeping bags, duvets, silk curtains, leather, protective clothing, uniforms and laundry from the nursing care area.

Bernard Jomard at Danube International says that reducing water and energy consumption has always been a goal when designing a new machine.

The drum is designed to use as little water as possible and this feature, combined with high water removal, will save money in energy when drying.

Danube International has been active for over twenty years in the design and manufacture of barrier washers for hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and for clean rooms. The machines are built to avoid the flow of airborne particles and micro-organisms from the soiled room to the clean room, and to retain the particles inside the soiled room.

The Asep range from Danube is suitable for hospitals, clean rooms, correctional facilities, food and nuclear industries.

The latest addition to the range is the Asep 100 barrier washer.

With a load capacity of 90kg, the Asep 100 has a microprocessor control with five pre-set programs and 25 free programs.

The four factors which directly affect any wash process are mechanical action, chemicals, time, water and temperature and Girbau of Spain says that these have been a strong influence in the development of its 6 Series washers.

Girbau has extended its original 6 Series, covering 9, 14 and 19kg, by launching four machines with wash load capacities of 25, 44, 63 and 122kg.

The ratio between diameter and depth of the drum is designed to provide the best mechanical action.

Other features include perforated blades and a wide range of program options.

The 6 Series also benefits from interim control, a standard feature in the larger capacity models and optional in those with wash loads below 25kg.

A selection of graphic icons exclusive to Girbau allows operators in any country to program the wash processes easily.

The Interim Manager Tool (IMT) also lets the operator configure wash programs from any computer, save them to a memory card and use them in as many washers as needed.

The Atoll 1100 washer-extractor produced by Stahl in Germany has a maximum load capacity of 110kg and can process ten or more heavy-duty doormats at same time, depending on size.

The doormats are water proofed at the same time as the washer-extractor is cleaning them.

The machine is gentle in its operation, says the company.

Both Stahl’s Atoll washers and its Divimat hygiene washer-extractor range were developed to keep water, energy and detergent consumption low.

Six perforated scoop ribs, hydrodynamic wash system and heat insulation ensure optimum wash-efficiency.

The specially designed heat insulation ensures that heat is retained inside the outer drum.

This effect, which is similar to the one of a thermos flask, is said to save about 30% of the heating energy.

The Atoll range is now available in 12 different sizes from 5.5 – 110kg.

The suspension and bearing of the latest model, the 45kg capacity Atoll 450

washer-extractor, is capable of operating at 410G yet runs with little noise and no vibration, even during the extraction cycle.

Machine operation is made easier by means of a large loading door and through the FREEpro microprocessor control unit, which enables the operator to determine and save hundreds of different wash programs.

A redesigned user interface based on touch screen display (FREEpro touch) makes operation even clearer.

Stahl’s pendulum-overflow technology tackles the problem of dirt collecting on the water surface during washing.

A microprocessor adds water at regular intervals, the pendulum movement of the drum causes the dirty surface-water to flow off through the overflow. As a result wash times are shorter, fewer rinses are needed and Stahl says the machine produces better wash results while still reducing its energy consumption.