The choice of ironer by an on-premise laundry will be influenced by the work being processed and the space available.
These vary considerably from sector to sector, healthcare, hospitality and commercial, so manufacturers and suppliers work closely with customers to determine their exact requirements before suggesting the most suitable ironer for a particular business.
The wider range of articles and materials being processed means that modern OPL ironers must respond quickly to changes in material type and the dimensions of each piece to ensure optimal results.
Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems supplies a full range of ironers to suit all sizes of OPL.
The company’s experts are happy to assess each site and offer advice, taking into account factors such as energy efficiency, ease of use, reliability and lifetime costs. For businesses needing a smaller ironer, Armstrong has its own Amazon range (built specially for Armstrong by GMP).
This includes ironers with rolls from 250 – 500mm diameter and working widths from 1.0 – 3.2 metres. Smaller models use a simple electronic temperature control combined with a variable speed control.
Larger models have the benefit of a microprocessor that controls both temperature and speed. The microprocessor also offers a sleep mode that comes into play after the ironer has not been used for some time. This mode can either switch the ironer off completely or gradually reduce the temperature.
Temperatures and speed are set by the operator, offering maximum flexibility for different types of operation and ensuring that heat is not wasted when the machine is not in use.
Armstrong also supplies ironers from the Belgian manufacturer Laco. This range includes ironers with roll diameters of 370, 500, 600 and 800mm and working widths from 1.75 – 3.3 metres, suitable for all types of linen. Machines with roll diameters of 500mm and above are available with gas, electric, and steam heating, but the 370mm ironer is only available in gas- or electrically-heated versions.
Laco has developed the Air-Stream® ironer with a patented design of flexible chest that improves the airflow and raises the output without compromising the finish it produces on the linen. The Laco Air-Stream ironer has, as standard, a felt covered roll with integral vacuum and a hydraulic system that improves
roll-to-bed contact.
Laco’s SECOM range is designed
to appeal to laundries processing
30 – 80kg/hour. It includes a range of ironers with working widths of 1.8 – 3.0 metres. All ironers are designed for low energy consumption.
Len Hazell, industrial sales manager for Armstrong says: "Interest in ironers for OPL sites has increased over the past couple of years and the product enhancements from GMP and Laco are helping to develop this market."
Girbau UK has seen consistent sales growth right across its OPL ironer range, says managing director Peter Marsh.
"We have seen solid demand for OPL ironers with an uplift in sales in the hotel sector and particularly in sales to smaller boutique hotels looking for the additional flexibility offered by an OPL ironer," he says.
The hospitality sector is seen as continuing to offer the best prospects for growth in 2016 and beyond, while other markets remain broadly stable.
Marsh says that energy efficiency and quality continue to be important drivers for growth in the OPL ironer market, especially in the smaller, premium hotel sector where the company is seeing the strongest growth.
Boutique hotels are looking for a high quality finish on their premium linens but they also prize energy efficiency in all aspects of the laundry, as sound environmental practices are important for their customers.
The Compact is an ideal choice for larger OPL laundries where its combination of drying and high quality ironing finish, with folding and stacking functions offers a high productivity solution.
The comprehensive Girbau PB Series of ironers offers ironing widths from
1.5 – 3.2 metres, ensuring there is a model to suit the OPL customers’ varying requirements, which will include productivity, energy efficiency, ergonomics, and premium quality precision.
The addition of the GMP range of smaller OPL ironers, which is now distributed in this country by Girbau UK offers smaller OPLs an ironer that is cost-effective on low volumes .
"GMP ironers complement our established range of ironers perfectly and offer smaller on-premise laundries the opportunity to automate the otherwise time-consuming process of ironing bed and table linen, and so increase efficiency" says Marsh. They are the ideal complement to our own larger PB Series ironers."
GMP ironers feature an accurate twin-sensor temperature control system and enhanced insulation to reduce heat dispersion and improve heat distribution evenly across the ironing surface.
This improves the result, and also reduces energy loss and so improves energy efficiency.
The large control panel is simple and extremely easy to understand and use.
Users can easily adjust ironing speed and temperature to suit all types of fabric. Accurate and reliable temperature sensing and control prevent wasteful energy loss and protect the linen from scorching.
The GMP ironers available from Girbau UK are the GMP 100.25, 120.25, 140.25, 140.30 and the largest, 160.30. (The first number denotes the ironing width of the roll from 1.0 – 1.6 metres, the second the roll diameter of either 250mm or 300mm).
For larger on-premise laundries, the Girbau PB series of ironers offers cylinders ranging in width from 1.5 up to 3.2 metres for even higher capacity and productivity with operating speeds of up to 15 metres per minute.
Energy efficiency and flexibility remain key considerations, according to Les Marshall, sales and marketing director at Miele Professional.
"Ironing is an important stage in the laundry process, requiring a high level of operator skill," he says. "With Miele Professional ironers, it is a very simple process for operators to follow to obtain optimum results.
"Our drivers for growth are the same as before – if we improve energy efficiency and maintain high standards of quality, then we are producing ironers that will provide growth." The hospitality sector represents a significant growth area for his company. Quality and appearance are important here so there is a willingness to pay attention to details such as perfectly pressed bed and table linen.
Recent additions to the Miele ironer range have proved to be strong sellers in the UK’s OPL market.
Marshall says the PM 12 series, introduced in 2014, was Miele’s first rotary ironer range for 25 years.
"We are very encouraged by the take-up," says Marshall.
"We had a record number of sales of ironers in 2015 and are looking forward to the year ahead."
He adds that Miele’s latest generation of ironers has "a pioneering design" and features that are exclusive to the Miele Professional brand.
The PM 1217 has a roll length of 1.66 metres (166cm) allows fast switch-over between return- and through-feed operation to afford great flexibility. The machines can be adjusted to suit each operator’s build and preferred ironing position (seated or standing).
An air-cushioned heater plate guarantees uniform contact pressure across the entire length of the roller. This ensures both high throughput and an excellent finish.
All three ironers in the PM 12 series are easy to operate thanks to their touchscreen display, which allows precise control of temperatures and ironing speeds.
Favourite operating programs can be stored, while a "pause" function maintains operational readiness by retracting the heater plate and stopping roller rotation.
The Flexcontrol foot switch is adjustable and the operator can quickly and simply stop the roll, if pieces need adjusting on the infeed table

PRECISION CONTROL: Miele Professional’s compact PM 1217 ironer is simple to operate as it has a touchscreen display that allows temperatures and ironing speeds to be regulated with precision