The OPL market is made up of two main customer sectors, hospitality and care/residential homes. Customer requirements will vary considerably from sector to sector – healthcare, hospitality and commercial.

The care sector, for example, has seen a surge of care home managers looking to install an OPL in order to implement a proper laundry cycle management process and gain complete control over the prevention of infection and spreading diseases, while saving money in the process.

For the hospitality industry, OPL solutions can vary dramatically depending on the size of the premises. Speed is a key factor as many establishments are faced with the daily challenge of not only meeting the demands of processing the linen in each room, but the need to clean staff uniforms, towels and other items such as table cloths and napkins.

Clare Long is business account manager at the Professional division of Miele. She says that businesses with on-premise laundry have a lot to gain from using energy efficient washing machines and programmes. Not only can they reduce utility bills, but also build on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) image as an eco-friendly organisation. “Taking a more sustainable approach to OPL doesn’t have to mean a less effective laundry process. It all comes down to an organisation choosing an appliance that prioritises both sustainability and the high standards of cleanliness expected by customers and regulatory authorities.”

In the hotel and hospitality sector, quality of finish is often the biggest consideration, as it can be so fundamental to guests’ perception of quality, luxury and comfort. “This is often why hotels are increasingly choosing the on-premise laundry option, to give them 100% control of quality of finish,” according to Girbau UK. Girbau machinery is perfectly suited to serve all types of industrial, commercial and vended laundries. One example of this is the HS 6 series range of washing machines, ranging from 9kg up to 122kg capacities. The possibility of personalising programmes allows for everything from intensive washes to wet cleaning processes for delicate linen.

Girbau recently launched a new 85 kg capacity washing machine. Its spin speed (386 G Factor) leaves the linen with a residual moisture level of 48%. The high moisture removal capacity has a direct impact on savings in drying costs.

UK marketing manager Jo Emmerson says there are multiple reasons for OPL laundries to strive to lower utility usage and costs. “First and foremost is that it is the right thing to do for our environment. Second, an energy-efficient laundry will save thousands in utility costs over the course of a year,” she says.

A sumpless design combines with AquaMixer and AquaFall systems to allow for a superior wash using minimal water. Additionally, Girbau soft-mount washers reach high extract speeds up to 405 G-force. This allows for more moisture removal during extract, which shortens drying time by up to 50%.


Hotels make savings

Hotel chains across the US and UK are currently making savings from installing a Hydrofinity machine, including Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt. Hydrofinity is the developer of water-saving commercial laundry solutions for hotels and commercial laundries.

The Marriott London Heathrow is one of Hydrofinity’s latest hotel customers and is thrilled with the results. General manager, Ron Vos, said: “Marriott and Hydrofinity have a shared vision and passion for our sustainability. We set clear goals on saving energy, reducing water and using sustainable resources. Hydrofinity help us to meet these.”

Hydrofinity points out that by bringing the laundry operation in-house using a Hydrofinity machine, operators can take steps to reduce the day-to-day costs associated with energy and chemical usage, optimising the hotel’s profitability. Jamie Harrison, sales and channel director EMEA, explains: “There are a number of advantages for having an on-premise laundry.  You usually need much less linen stock on-site, you can control your costs very tightly and you have direct control over quality.”

Hydrofinity uses sustainable cleaning and fabric care technologies provided by Xeros Technology Group. The near-waterless Hydrofinity wash process replaces water with XOrbs. When a wash cycle starts, XOrbs are added from inside the machine’s storage area to mix with the fabrics and a small amount of water. The water itself is sprayed in, rather than poured. The XOrbs gently massage the garments, loosening dirt and stains. XOrbs then expand slightly, creating microscopic cavities that absorb and trap stains, carrying them away from fabrics in a small amount of cold water. When the wash cycle is completed, XOrbs automatically return to a holding area inside the machine and are ready to be used again for the next wash.

An independent trial by the UK’s Laundry Technology Centre (LTC) showed that the Hydrofinity process removes staining across a wide range of stain types, which were considered very difficult to remove.

Hydrofinity reclaimed 35.1% of the stained textiles as compared to 22.6% with traditional processes.

Harrison points out that hotels using the Hydrofinity system are using up to 80% less water than standard industrial washing machines. “One Hydrofinity machine can use up to 1 million litres of water less than a conventional machine in one year. Depending on water costs in your area, you could save up to £200 per month on water bills.” Labour costs too are lower, because labour-intensive activities like pre-treatment, pre-soaking and sorting are not always necessary.

XConnect, Hydrofinity’s innovative, cloud-based laundry monitoring solution, provides real-time monitoring and monitors equipment usage, showing water and electricity consumption. XConnect also tracks ongoing operations and helps identify potential issues before they occur.


Proud track record

Hughes Electrical has reorganised its commercial division following the acquisition of Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems in 2018. Both companies have a long and proud track record of providing a wide range of quality machines backed up by top class service.

This has led to the recent launch of Hughes Pro, a rapidly growing commercial laundry and dishwashing dealership, set up to support operators of on-premise laundries nationally. It supplies products and services including washers, dryers, ironers, detergents and guaranteed repairs by fully trained engineers for all mainline commercial laundry brands. It operates from branches in Glasgow, Newbury, Leicester, Norwich and Rochester.

Hughes Pro is the customer-facing brand of the new operation providing support throughout the UK and also for Miele Professional’s own national corporate customers by supplying installation and engineering services throughout the Midlands and East Anglia.

The Armstrong brand also continues to play a key role in the new operation as a longstanding dealer for Alliance Laundry Systems, the producer of commercial laundry brands such as Speed Queen, Huebsch and Primus, which include machines specifically designed for operators of on-premise laundries. Armstrong distributes Alliance products and supporting commercial laundry spares to a network of UK dealers, including Hughes Pro, from a brand new, spacious facility in Newbury, Berkshire.

One example of what Hughes Pro can offer is Oakham School in Rutland. It is a large private school with 1,000 pupils aged between 10-18, with boarding for 500. Its very busy on-premise laundry uses exclusively Miele machines, including three 20kg PW6207 washers, one 13kg PW6137 washer and one 8kg PW6080 washer, housed in a special building on campus with plenty of space and required air flow. Oakham has now entered into a long-term supply arrangement with Hughes Pro.


Reducing utility bills

Clare Long at Miele Professional says that the biggest benefit of using an energy efficient washing machine is saving on two business overheads: energy and water. For example, the Benchmark machines offered by Miele Professional require up to 30% less energy and 20% less water than the range’s previous generation. “For businesses with extensive laundry needs, such as care homes and hotels, introducing this type of machine can reduce their utility bills significantly, and make OPL less of a drain on finances,” says Long. Miele’s Benchmark machines offer a programme with a cycle time of only 45 minutes.

Choosing a machine that offers programmable controls will allow businesses to determine wash parameters, including temperatures and spin cycles, for individual items. This allows laundry staff to wash items thoroughly, while using the amount of energy and water required. For example, businesses such as care homes that regularly wash heavily soiled items like bedding can set their machines to a programme that washes items at temperatures required by the Department of Health’s regulation Health Technical Memorandum 01-04 (HTM 01-04): 65C for at least 10 minutes, 71C for at least three minutes or 85C for one minute. For those items that haven’t been soiled, laundry staff can switch to a different programme that doesn’t wash items at such a high temperature.y.


Green thinking

OPLs need to consider energy efficiency as a key factor with washing equipment in order to take into account sustainability, says Mick Christian, regional training and demonstration manager for laundry, at Electrolux Professional. The Line 5000 series, for example, combines efficient technology with green thinking, and includes washer-extractors and tumble dryers with cost-reducing features.

OPLs should be focussing on products that do all the hard work for them, saving operators having to consciously adjust their routines to save water and energy. The Automatic Saving system and Efficient Dosing system determines the weight of each load and adjusts both the water level and amount of detergent so only the exact amount of water and detergent required is used.



One problem encountered in the OPL sector is the low efficiency and productivity of the wash process. Christeyns has introduced a new wash concept Speed-O, which should solve exactly this problem.

Speed-O is a time-saving wash concept for washing light to medium soiled textile in washer-extractors up to 70kg. Speed-O is a synergistic combination of new, cold-active laundry chemicals, the power molecule ozone and a designated cold wash process.

Christeyns has succeeded in combining the advantages of ozone properties with the requirements of a commercial wash process. The Speed-O-wash concept uses cold water as this allows ozone to develop its optimum properties. Speed-O Wash (detergent) and Speed-O Boost (alkali booster) have been specifically developed to wash at full performance at cold temperatures. The surfactants and optical brighteners are not broken down by the ozone, so the products are fully active throughout the duration of the washing process.

Since the ozone molecule is unstable, it cannot be packaged, but must be freshly produced on-site. This is done in the Speed-O-Box. The box provides a constant flow of ozone gas concentration. A low concentration of ozone gas is continuously introduced into the washer-extractor when it is running.

The Speed-O-Box is easy and quick to install (wall mounted) without interrupting the laundry process. The system is completely safe and needs low maintenance. An ozone gas monitor constantly monitors the ambient air for its ozone content and shuts off ozone generation in the unlikely event that critical limits would be exceeded.