The washer-extractor market covers many sectors, from the smallest commercial on-premise laundry to the largest industrial installations.
In each, resource saving remains an important factor in the purchasing decision. Customers that regularly process large volumes of linen now require washer-extractors that are designed to reduce water, energy and detergent consumption.
In each, resource saving remains an important factor in the purchasing decision. Customers that regularly process large volumes of linen now require washer-extractors that are designed to reduce water, energy and detergent consumption.
Following on from last October’s upbeat mood at Expo Detergo, manufacturers represented at last month’s Clean Show in Atlanta are confident that laundries are ready to invest in replacements.
Rick Pyle, president of Alliance Laundry Systems, says that heavy-duty laundries are indeed upgrading their lines with more energy-efficient equipment and achieving payback through lower utility bills. This applies not only in Europe, but also in many markets worldwide. "The focus on energy efficiency remains ultra-critical. If anything, this trend is accelerating."
Demand going into 2015 is especially strong in France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Scandinavian countries and Pyle says that Alliance continues to invest not only in new products but also to support these markets by investment in offices, staff, customer service and marketing.
The nature of this business continues to ensure success – laundry is a necessity of life, and remains a profitable business opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs, says Pyle.
A leading manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment, Alliance last year acquired the Primus Laundry Equipment Group, which is based in Belgium with manufacturing facilities in the Czech Republic and China.
Demand to reduce water and energy consumption continues to be the company’s focus in research and development. This complements Alliance’s aim of making laundromats and on-premises laundries (OPL) as profitable as possible for investors, store owners and operators.
Control systems that allow operators to use programs suitable for each type of workload and each soil level are important. "There’s no question that the next generation of washer-extractors will be engineered with state-of-the-art microprocessor controls," says Pyle. "However, introducing machines with features that marry energy efficiency, customer value and ease of use are of the utmost importance when we look to the future."
He says Primus already produces some of the most eco-friendly washer-extractors and barrier washer-extractors available. These machines are coupled with an advanced control system called Xcontrol Plus to provide store owners and operators with the best of both worlds. Easy-to-program machines with efficient eco-programs are said to reduce water and energy consumption by 15% and 20% respectively, while cascade drums and high G-Force extraction speeds reduce residual moisture by up to 20%, so shortening drying cycle times.
"Innovation isn’t solely about technologically-advanced controls anymore, it’s about committing to the next generation of washer-extractors in every facet of a machine, without harming the environment," says Pyle.
The Jensen-Group is focussed on heavy-duty laundries. From 1 February this year, the group expanded its current product portfolio with stand-alone washer-extractors, and tumble dryers.
These machines can process wash loads of 20, 40, 60 or 110kg. Jensen says its current "one-stop-shop" approach with stand-alone machines, materials handling solutions and automation is now "rounded-off" with planning expertise and service solutions.
Until now, Jensen had offered these machines as part of a total project and they were a "third party offering", purchased them from various suppliers.
Jensen explains that its customers process large volumes of linen predominantly in a highly automated washroom. However, end-users often have linen that, for various reasons, cannot be processed in the tunnel washers and transfer dryers.
Delicate linen has to be processed separately, as does contaminated and infectious linen. Nursing homes may want to process their guests’ private garments in a process that is separate from the rental linen. In the hospitality sector, laundries may want to process premium linen separately.
Laundries therefore often operate a line of washer-extractors and dryers for small to medium volumes.
Jensen agrees that reducing energy and water is now a key focus in all markets. This has been the case in European markets for several years but the importance of saving water and energy has spread throughout all industries, worldwide.
However, laundries have now come to realise that there is a certain amount of energy and water needed to perform a proper cleaning process and so producing the right cleaning result has become equally important – it is all about achieving the correct balance, says Jensen.
State-of the art controls that can provide almost limitless flexibility and an easy-to-use display is also important.
Data management, troubleshooting and networking capabilities have become indispensable on the latest controls. Jensen says its washer-extractors fulfil these requirements and can allow customers full flexibility to create customised programs.
Pellerin Milnor agrees that controls are important. The MilTouch controller is already available on machines up to 60kg and will be gradually introduced to all other models.
MilTouch formulae can be developed on a PC, saved to the USB external memory and uploaded via the touchscreen. With intuitive fault diagnosis and relevant troubleshooting suggestions, the MilTouch control streamlines employee training and eliminates operator guesswork. Milnor introduced its MWF-Series with MilTouch control towards the end of 2013.
Its X-Series features the MilTouch-EX control, a development of the MilTouch system that can be interfaced with specialised options such as metered water and integrated re-use tanks. Both product lines feature Milnor’s RinSave.
Controllers such as Milnor’s MilTouch and MilTouch-EX touchscreen controls allow operators to run statistic reports to check that laundry workers are running the correct formulae and see if formulae have been modified or changed, resulting in quality issues. The controllers will allow engineers to review diagnostics to make sure the machine is operating properly.
At this year’s Clean Show, Milnor introduced its 30022 VZZ 27kg (60lb) capacity rigid-mount washer-extractor with MilTouch control.
Milnor’s extensive line of large open-pocket tilting washer-extractors feature the MilTouch-EX control. The line has been expanded with the addition of the 72046M5K model, which was shown at Clean 2015. These washers are said to be ideal for workwear and dust control laundries with high production needs.
Milnor’s 48040 F-Series 275lb (125kg) capacity washer-extractors are available in two non-tilting models, 48040 F7J and 48040 F7Z and tilting versions 48040 F7B and 48040 F7D. The tilting models provide optimal ergonomics and efficiency loading and unloading of goods. Available with either E-P Plus or MilTouch controls, the 48040 F-Series is said to be an excellent choice for dust control and uniform laundries.
At Kannegiesser, director of sales Otto Burger says that customers are looking not only for the lowest cost, but want to achieve the highest quality and increased productivity at the same time. "All these targets can be reached only if you have all processes of the machine under control," he says.
The German manufacturer offers three washer-extractors ranges: the FavoritPlus barrier machines, the Futura open-pocket washers and the PowerSwing series, which provides automatic loading and unloading options.
Transferring some of the ideas used in its tunnel washers to the
washer-extractor sector, Kannegiesser has developed a system for complete process control, from loading, dosing, heating, and washing right up to extraction. Even residual moisture can be adjusted precisely so that the level is right for the next stage in production.
Kannegiesser’s washer-extractors use the latest water management software together with the JET rinsing process, already proven in the PowerTrans JET batch washer, to achieve very good water and energy consumption figures.
ScaletronPlus is an innovative solution for cost savings and high-quality laundry processing. The integrated electronic system measures water and chemicals continuously. The residual moisture is programmable for all following processes such as the ironer and tunnel finisher.
ScaletronPlus and the JET Technology are unique systems, says Burger. Replacing existing washer-extractors with the Kannegiesser FavoritPlus allows laundries to achieve 25 – 30% higher output per shift, with consumption figures that, until now, could only be attained by tunnel washers.
At Lapauw, regional sales manager Europe and Russia Wim Demeyer reports increased use of washer-extractors for sensitive products. The market for the Pullman barrier washers is expanding and the machines are now used in sectors such as food service and pharmaceuticals as well as in healthcare. "Interest in our new MediWave barrier washer is still growing," he says. "As for workwear and mats, we see the Open Pocket washer still performing strongly."
MediWave is the first barrier to use glass fibre reinforced polymer (GRP) for front and back cover. GRP is chemically inert and the surface is therefore easy to keep clean. Additionally, the patented paint finish reacts with UV light to kill bacteria and the covers’ seamless design avoids the risk of dirt traps.
To assist efficiency, the door handles have an LED bar, which is visible from a distance. The LED lighting "communicates" with the laundry manager by changing colour so providing "at-a-glance" information on work/load status.
All Lapauw washer-extractors are fitted with a plug on which the laundry can connect a water recuperation system, either delivered by Lapauw or installed by third parties. The washers’ software is already set to activate water recovery. This allows the laundry to plan its investment and to buy a washer-extractor now and then invest in a water recovery system at a later date.
Stahl in Germany reports that the trend for hotels and hospitals to bring laundry in-house continued throughout 2014 and the company expects this trend to continue in 2015.
Stahl’s latest generation of Atoll, WS and Divimat washer-extractors feature several innovations. These include PTS 3, a third-generation power transmission system developed by Stahl that only uses as much energy as actually needed for the particular job.
With Stahl’s Pendulum Overflow System (PULS) dirt particles float up to the water surface to be drained off via the overflow. By this means, the rinse water remains clean so that customers can shorten many wash programs by a complete rinse stage. The specialised SWI heat insulation ensures heat remains inside the outer drum instead of radiating out.
Stahl’s Speed-Flow hydrodynamic system features an Eco-Drum. The perforations of the stainless-steel drum ensure gentle treatment of the linen.
Stahl’s machines benefit from the integrated FREEpro microprocessor control unit. Both this and the wash performance function allow the operator to control the wash parameters for each load according to the type of linen and the level of soiling on the load.
Jürgen Schäfer at Miele Professional International says that the market generally in Europe is stable, with customers focussed on efficient products. He reports that central Europe is strong going into 2015 and there are good developments in southern Europe.
Miele has been offering specific wash cycles for some 20 years now and has a lot of expertise in how to optimise the cleaning process for different types of garments and soils, says Schäfer. "At the end of the day each customer wants the perfect cleaning process, which provides the best balance between cleaning performance, gentle fabric treatment and energy consumption," he adds. "With standard wash cycles, the customer can only achieve standard results with standard performance values."
Optional features on Miele’s washer-extractors such as a water recovery module and weighing system can reduce the consumption on models with load capacities ranging from 10 to 32kg.
Miele’s Profitronic M controls allow a high degree of program customisation while its patented load weighing system ensures that the use of resources is automatically tailored to the load in hand.
At Schulthess of Switzerland, Nicole Gillhausen says that the present demand for washer-extractors (up to 30kg) is recovering, but with mixed results depending on sectors and regions.
There is increased demand from care and nursing homes but lower demand in the hotel sector in some markets.
The reduction of energy consumption is still a main focus for research and development. Shorter washing cycles and lower temperatures to achieve the same results are also important.
The customer continues to expect a flawless washing result, while maintaining the textile’s value. It is essential to use state-of-the-art microprocessors to meet the increasingly specific demands of the laundry industry especially with regards disinfection or wetcleaning.
In many cases, it is necessary to develop specific programs in conjunction with detergent suppliers for certain applications.
Schulthess WMi washers span 10 – 30kg capacities and these washers featured a USB interface to allow machines to be customised by downloading programs that met specific requirements.
Wetcleaning is a specialist area for the company. Demand varies according to country but long-term the future is good and the chemistry is improving.
Tolon, the Turkish manufacturer, has just opened a branch office in Belgium to support the sales and service activities in Europe. Carine Derez, vice president sales Tolon Europe, says the company has invested strongly in R&D to design a new range of industrial washer-extractors, dryers and a towel folding machine, all to the latest European standards.
The washer-extractor line currently exists of four models with capacities ranging between 20 and 110kg (TWE 20, 40, 60 and 110). The machines are equipped with a flexible, programmable control and a colour display.
At Domus in Spain, export manager Eduard Colomer says that Asian and American markets remain good, in the tourism and hospitality sector as well as the coin-op sectors. "Emergent markets like the Middle East have been really good and also some other markets in the EU," he says.
Colomer agrees that reducing water and energy consumption remains important especially in most European countries. "Developing countries also appreciate our efficient washers combined with Eco-Energy tumble dryers with air recovery system and moisture control."
At Clean 2014, Domus showcased its latest technology to program both front-loading and hygienic barrier washer-extractors.
The Touch Control microprocessor on its high-spin DHS-27 washer has programs to meet several requirements. It includes an automatic weighing system and optimal loading for the most efficient cycles.

PROGRAMMABLE: Kannegiesser’s FAVORITplus has an individually programmable mechanical wash action for each work classification, together with water and chemical metering with Scaletron PLUS