Feedback on the stands and from the official figures suggests that Expo Detergo has reached an important stage its development.

For the first time the exhibition took place in the Fiera Milano at Rho, a showground that was built to house the 2015 World Expo.

This site proved a great improvement on the old exhibition centre. The halls used for Expo Detergo were light and airy and easier to navigate as visitors could pass from one to another directly, without going via an upper floor as in the old site.

The show had also changed noticeably to give laundry more equal weighting with drycleaning. It was also much more international – a goal that the organiser had been trying to achieve. Most agreed it had been successful in this.

The official entrance figures recorded a total of 15,195 laundry and drycleaning professionals and 6,027 of these came from outside Italy. The majority were from Europe with 38 countries represented but Asia, the Americas, the Oceanic and African countries made a reasonable showing.

It would now seem that Expo Detergo compares well with Texcare International, a comment heard quite frequently around the show.

The big names in laundry were all present and this was a good place to spot trends and see innovative technology for both heavy-duty and commercial laundry applications.

Water saving has been a principal concern of the laundry industry for some time and for the tunnel washer specialist Milnor the main exhibit was its PulseFlow CBW, complemented by a 1000G centrifugal extractor. This line-up was being presented for the first time at a European exhibition.

The PulseFlow system saves water, energy and chemicals. As the show opened, PulseFlow’s effectiveness had just been endorsed by the Hohenstein Institute, which had awarded PulseFlow its Certificate for Innovative Technology. Extensive testing had confirmed fresh water consumption 2.5 – 3.5 litre/kg.

Managing director of Milnor International Karl Schubert was naturally proud of this certification. Speaking some time after the show, he said that he was also pleased with the exhibition. He said the company had received a lot of positive feedback and had undertaken several projects as a result of its presence.

Schubert said he had found the show surprising in the sense that it has developed into a full-fledged laundry and drycleaning show. Expo Dertergo had been very successful for Milnor and the stand had attracted many visitors from the Middle East, Turkey and Eastern Europe although there were fewer visitors from the UK, France, Spain and Germany.

The Jensen Group was also pleased with the attendance on its stand. Summing up after the event Jesper M Jensen said the group “was absolutely thrilled with the number of visitors at the Expo Detergo booth in Milan, and especially with the wide range of nationalities we were able to welcome. Customers from all over Italy, Europe and even the Americas, Asia and Australia found their way to the Milan trade show, which proved to be an excellent platform to foster existing customer relationships and establish new ones.”

Gerda Gerschwiler, head of marketing, said that visitors had been particularly interested in Jensen’s ability to provide total solutions. The CleanTech concept of a steam-free operation had proved very popular and Jensen had already installed more than 20 CleanTech operations.

The Jensen Cockpit had also been a centre of attention as it provides actual measurable data calculated in real time. From the Cockpit, managers can trace the process of individual pieces via the track and trace system. Reports can also provide information on utility and chemicals consumption and on the productivity of both the whole laundry and individual machines.

Girbau looked at the event from two viewpoints. Massimo Scatto, sales director for Italy, joined the company at the beginning of the year and has been building a network of dealers – previously only one covered the whole country. The exhibition provided the first opportunity to gather the 12 dealers already recruited.

Scatto noted great interest from the Italian visitors. It was unusual to sell machines at exhibitions but the company had been able to do so.

Girbau product manager Jordi Martinez agreed the show had been good for business. He had noticed a new demand from certain European markets such as Holland and Turkey.

Although the Girbau group covers all laundry sectors, the heavy-duty division was its main focus here and he stressed the company’s ability to provide a complete range for larger laundries. Martinez drew attention to the Eco tunnel, which saves water and energy.

The company had also redesigned its full range of feeders and folders and had introduced the Lite series for laundries that wanted to automate these processes but did not need the full list of optional extras provided by more sophisticated machines.

Kannegiesser’s display echoed the water and energy saving themes of its recent in-house show as well as machines designed to maximise productivity.

Favorit Plus revamps the company’s well-established washer-extractor series and extends the Jet rinse principle used in its Jet tunnel washers to save water and and to shorten cycle time, with the resultant additional savings in chemicals and energy. The Jet tunnels were also on display.

Kannegiesser’s finishing section included the EMX two-station feeder which allows cornerless feeding and delivers a maximum output of 1,200 pieces per hour in one- and two-lane operation. Another aid to productivity was the space saving AFMBR towel folder, a combination dry-work machine, which can process both bathrobes and towels.

Export is becoming increasingly important for the Turkish manufacturer Tolkar, which has a majority share in its home market. Mehmet Karali, export manager, told LCN that the company had recently signed distribution deals with the local Polymark companies in France and England.

Tolkar’s stand this year was equipped to give live demonstrations and visitors were particularly interested in two water saving lines, the Eco Drum series and the Miracle machines.

The Miracle range now includes a machine designed especially for cleaning dustmats. Kerali explained that while dustmats are widely used they are not easy to clean because of the rubber backing and also because they are designed to collect heavy dust and ground-in dirt. A dustmat service requires a robust machine and the Miracle dustmat washer is not only designed for heavy-duty use but has a sand separator and self-cleaning sand filters. It also extracts smoothly at high G-force levels.

The Lavatec brand is back in business under the ownership of a new company, Lavatec Laundry Technology GmbH, and its president, Wolf-Peter Graeser. Attending was a late decision as the company only launched in June but Graeser had taken space with the Italian distributor Logik Solutions. Graeser told LCN that his company was making satisfactory progress. It had shipped orders worth 2million Euros and had another 3million Euros of orders on the books. It had also quoted for new projects. The distribution network was also progressing.

Alliance Laundry Systems covers a worldwide market with a portfolio of brands aimed largely at the commercial sectors, including OPL and coin-op.

John Balman, senior director of sales for Europe, said that Expo Detergo had been excellent for the group. Alliance had invested in a larger stand than at previous shows and this had been a good decision, given the show’s changed character and the higher laundry profile.

2010 had been a good year for the company. There were still some difficult markets but sales to many western and eastern European countries seemed to be growing.

Balman explained that Ipso was concentrating on its innovative Cygnus modular control system while Speed Queen was focussed on the coin-op area, a growing market for Italy. The UniMac range had been extended with a line of chest-heated ironers with feed/fold and stack functions. Heubsch was focussed on gas-heated tumblers.

Lee Wilson is responsible for Alliance brands in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. He saw rapid growth in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) which are widely targeted. He said that Alliance saw this show as international and had seen many visitors from Middle East and Africa. He was promoting coin-op in particular to these countries as this was seen as a fast growing sector.

Electrolux was promoting its Lagoon wetcleaning system, which had been updated with a washer-dryer. However, its main innovation was an interactive management system for the coin-op market that would help both launderette managers and customers.

The Text Management Information System (TMIS) would give each laundrette a text number. This would alert launderette owners to machine errors. They could also check the mainly used programs and obtain service manual information via a mobile.

TMIS could also tell customers about machine availability at a specific time.

The company had also introduced the Ecopower system for dryers. This would minimise power use by measuring the load’s moisture level and gradually turning the heat down and finally off at a pre-set dryness level.

Imesa manufactures laundry equipment for the OPL, coin-op and drycleaning sectors. Marketing and communication manager Chiara Ronchiato said that the laundry Tandem, a compact washer and dryer stack had attracted a great deal of interest from drycleaning businesses.

As standard, this provides a 14kg washer and an 18kg tumble dryer in a 1m2 footprint so it allows businesses with limited space to offer a laundry service.

The two machines are independent, so giving users greater flexibility in operating the machines. Imesa has also developed versions for the hotel market that match a 14kg or 18kg washer with a same capacity dryer. The Tandem also features in Imesa’s Easy Shirt system in which it is joined by a form finisher, vacuum blow ironing table and manual collar and cuff press, all supplied by the manufacturer Silc. Ronchiato says that this combination will produce 30 shirts/hour but take up no more than 10m2.

Schulthess was introducing visitors to its ProfiClean series of wash programs, which have been developed for different target customer groups – such as hotels, restaurants and catering companies; nursing, retirement and residential homes or fire departments and rescue services.

This year the company launched its AutoClean machine-cleaning program which runs for 25 minutes and spins intermittently at 70C to remove dirt and detergent deposits, leaving the drum clean.

The Schulthess disinfection programs had created a great deal of interest, according to export manager Hans-Peter Caderas. He explained that Schulthess had worked closely with Büfa cleaning systems to develop the programs for its commercial and industrial laundry machines.

All models in the Schulthess Spirit TopLine, ProLine and industrial product ranges are now equipped with disinfection programs that can be used on a variety of fabrics. These programs include a cycle with 40C pre-wash and 60C main wash and two main-wash- only programs at 60 and 95C to handle infectious linen. Programs have been tested by the WFK Institute and follow guidelines set down by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute.

Both the TopLine and ProLine machines have a disinfection button in the control panel. Caderas described the Schulthess “all in one” system with integrated wetcleaning as the laundry care system of the future. The company provided live demonstrations of its wetclean system, which uses special programs and special detergents.

Caderas explained that wetcleaning offers an alternative to cleaning in perc or hydrocarbon. The wetcleaning process has been used successfully on garments such as coats and rainwear, leather, wedding dresses and sportswear.

The Schulthess Spirit Industrial WSI series features wetcleaning programs as standard and has options to suit the varying types of garments and fabric.

The Spanish manufacturer Domus was taking a larger stand than in previous years so that it could demonstrate the breadth of its range of washers and dryers, which covers sizes from 8 – 120kg. It was also introducing a flatwork ironer with built-in folder. The ironer is available with a choice of roll diameter, 800 or 1,200mm and an ironing length of 3.3m.

This summer saw changes at two former sister companies Laco and Lapauw. Dominique Lapauw who is now in charge of Laco talked about his plans for this company now that it is independent of Lapauw.

He told LCN that he plans to expand Laco during 2011. The factory has occupied a 1,500m2 site and produced two to three machines per week but the plan is to expand to 2,000m2 and produce five machines each week.

The Laco range includes chest-heated ironers from 300 – 800mm diameter. These are all single-roll machines that are produced in gas, steam or electrically-heated versions.

A particular feature of the stand at Expo Detergo was the Comfort Evolution, an ironer combined with feeder and folder/stacker. It is a compact, low energy machine that will produce high quality results.

The feeder has two clamps and uses brushes to spread the work while at the end of the production the folder can produce three long-folds and three cross-folds before the linen is passed to the stacker.

A further development was the M 300G ironer, a new type of gas-heated, chest ironer.

Lapauw told visitors about its future plans following its acquisition by the Belgian entrepreneur Philippe D’heygere in June this year.

Wim Demeyer, export manager, said the D’heygere is “a captain of Industry” who will bring wide experience of Belgian business to Lapauw. In this he will be supported by two colleagues, Anthony Geerinckx as chief executive officer and Stefaan Dewulf as chief finance officer.

D’heygere has ambitious plans for the Lapauw company and brand.

At present, D’heygere likens the Lapauw brand to a large powerful speedboat that is turning round on a small lake but he wants to take that ”boat” into the ocean.

The company also wanted to alert visitors to its innovation. The Extra feeder is a two-station machine. Its innovation, says Demeyer, is the use of vacuum to transfer the sheets to the ironer. It is low maintenance but easy to service.

He also feels that the 1,600mm ironer deserves to be better known.

Lapauw, he said, is the only company producing a two-roll machine with this diameter. It provides a solution for laundries that want more capacity than the standard 1,200mm two-roll machines offer but avoids the higher investment needed for a three-roll ironer. Lapauw’s 1,600mm machine is available in steam- and gas-heated versions.

The L-Super compact is a three-in-one feeder-ironer- folder/stacker.

On the Stahl stand, Uwe Stahl, CEO responsible for sales, said that he felt the exhibition was becoming more international and acknowledged that the emphasis had changed a little with the laundry sector gaining more importance. He also felt that there was a more positive feeling after the recession. The Fiero Milano’s prestige showground at Rho also contributed to the atmosphere and was much easier for visitors.

Stahl’s display gave an overview of the company’s range, which includes both finishing equipment and barrier washers. Additionally the company introduced a towel folder and a single-roll 1,600mm ironer.

The towel folder had a compact design and met the demand for machines that can produce a variety of folds including French and American and can also fold T-shirts.

The Swiss manufacturer Biko is known for its expertise in automated feeding and folding equipment and in robotics.

Markus Kobel said that he was very happy with the show as he had found the organisation better than for previous shows, the Rho site worked well and the show had attracted more international visitors.

The company believes in only exhibiting machinery in action and sees this as a USP for the stand. It was introducing the Monica universal folder/stacker, believed to be the first of its kind. It can handle all kinds of flatwork and will also stack unfolded linen, which some customers prefer, especially for napkins.

Biko was also introducing the Gabriela remote feeder which allows operators to position linen by clipping a single edge as Gabriela then finds the second edge automatically. This increases productivity and Kobel had taken orders at the show.

Danube manufactures a full laundry range but is particularly known for its flatwork dryer-ironers.

The D11 dryer-ironer follows the company’s policy of regular innovation. Both the frame and the panels are made of stainless-steel and managing director Bernard Jomard claims that this is the only ironer with this construction but it is available at the same price as the painted steel model. The D11 is also designed for increased production and its features include a high evaporation rate and microprocessor control.

Vera Simon, marketing manager at GMP, reported that the company had enjoyed a good year and even on the first day was positive about the show. GMP had kept in regular contact with customers during the more difficult times and had invested in service.

The company specialises in ironers for an international market but since 2009 has distributed UniMac machines from the Alliance group in the Italian home market. This has worked well, allowing GMP to supply a full laundry range. The company’s ironer display featured an addition to the G-Line series, which had been available for around 18 months. This was a 500mm diameter drying ironer that now had a 3.2m ironing length and was also available with steam heating.

Simon said that it had been well researched and was a strong, reliable machine.

Denis Begasse at Fanafel reported good attendance and in general had found the exhibition lively. In product terms the company was focussing particularly on the Hydromax range of ironer clothing. Begasse also gave an update on the company. At the beginning of the year, Fanafel’s parent group Tamfelt had been bought by the Metso group another supplier of industrial fabrics. Begasse says Metso is strong with around 27,000 employees worldwide. In 2009 Metso’s net sales were worth 5billion Euros.

The Japanese company San-Ai specialises in ironer spring padding produced to patented designs. It produces three main types, laminated springs, coil springs and the combination type Maxipress that combines the advantages of both coil and laminated types in one.

The company is also well known for its range of accessories and in particular for its Tapematic welding machines for fastening the guide tapes on ironers. The welder produces a smooth and lasting join and is claimed to be a more satisfactory method of mending broken tapes than knotting the ends together.

The Tapematic is available in both battery-operated and rechargeable versions, the latter being particularly convenient to use. Both have a swivel head so the machines can be used by either left-handed or right- handed operators.

Vitesse produces both ironer clothing and accessories. Mauro Vita seemed happy with the number of visitors which had included both those from the host country and international visitors.

The company had shown a representative range of products and most visitors had been interested in the full production but one of the highlights was the Extra Power Plus Wax, developed by a chemicals specialist that partners Vitesse. The wax is of vegetable origin and a great lubricant.

Hans-Joachim Schneider supplies both laundries and drycleaning businesses with a wide range of accessories and spares. Wolfgang Behrens said that Expo Detergo was very important both as one of the four main textile care shows and because the company sold large volumes of spares to the Italian market. Apart from spares, one of the company’s main lines is its range of hangers. It makes its own galvanised hangers but also supplies a range of coloured hangers. The coloured range started with silver, white and blue styles but the choice had gradually widened and there are now nine shades.

FB Italy manufactures packaging systems including vacuum types and bag sealers, for protecting and storing fabrics. The company reported a great deal of interest in its vacuum packaging range, which has been increased with two innovative vacuum packaging machines, the Evo a benchtop design and the Evo-Self, which is especially suitable for launderettes and can be used to pack bulky items such as duvets. Founder Fabio Bruno said these two newcomers had been proved very successful in attracting trade enquiries.