The American drycleaning market varies from state to state, but given the strong environmental trends, it was not surprising that alternative solvents were to the fore on machine stands.

Darin Haiges, executive vice president of Firbimatic distributor Eco Dry of America, said that in the past four years, Firbimatic had been putting more research into this area because of the restrictions on perc being imposed in New York and California. Several states, said Haiges had increased the tax on perc, in some the price has been pushed as high as $30 per gallon.

A full range of machines including perc models was on show, but the company was introducing the WD50 wetcleaning machine, housed in a drycleaning-style cabinet. This is a slimline two-tank machine with 20kg loading. The advantage of this machine, says Firbimatic, is that it works in a dry-to-dry closed circuit and has a short cycle time, thanks to the recovery head design which has already been used successfully on the company’s Vortex and Ecogreen machines.

Darin Haiges also said that the machine uses “super cold” water, resulting in less shrinkages and risk of dye run. The machine had been on test for several months.

A machine that went even further in the alternative solutions could be seen on the Satec USA stand.

The AnyClean claimed to offer four cleaning methods – hydrocarbon drycleaning, wetcleaning, washing and drying – in one machine and to be switchable between the different processes.

In more established alternatives, Renzacci was presenting the Excellence line of hydrocarbon machines with a cycle time equivalent to that of a perc machine. Marco Niccolini explained that Excellence machines have a totally different separation system which makes the solvent odourless without the problem of bacteria.

The machines feature a distillation system that increases distillation efficiency by 18%.

Additionally Renzacci is introducing a hydrocarbon machine KWLHFT that does not have a distillation unit but instead relies on filtration using Tonsil powder, a particularly powerful filtration agent with good absorption of colours.

Niccolini says that this machine is a specific response to USA market demand and that much of the interest stems from those setting up drycleaning businesses for the first time, and particularly from the Korean drycleaning community. The machine is seen as simple to operate and less expensive as it does not have the parts dedicated to distillation.

The third important development was a new wetclean machine Puraclean, destined for American and Asian markets. Puraclean combines both wetcleaning and drying units in one machine and is provided with a special soft mount which reduces the whole cycle time.

It also has a special temperature control which chills the water and keeps it in the best possible condition.

Realstar’s exhibits again targeted the American market. Alberto Tromponi felt that the American market was picking up after a difficult time economically, and there was more interest in drycleaning. Perc machines were losing ground a little, but still accounted for around 50%.

The company showed three perc machines and two multisolvent machines. All have multi-language computers and allow step -by-step adjustment of the machine.

The company also plans to have a wetcleaning machine, but this was not on show.

Union was enjoying a good show. The Union name is, said Gabriele Cuppini, well respected in the American market.

His company emphasised the trend towards multisovent machines, with a slant towards GreenEarth. A list on the wall detailed those American drycleaners who had opted for GreenEarth.

Union too will have a wetcleaning machine, but the emphasis was on a range of smaller capacity multisolvent machines, covering 10kg, 12kg and 15kg to offer the widest possible range of sizes.

“We focus on what the customer wants,” said Cuppini.

A new company FUT Satec USA GMBH has been formed as a result a partnership between monitoring specialist Fresenius and Satec USA. The company is in negotiation with Udo Sahl of Satec Germany to take over that company’s drycleaning business. At the time of the show negotiations were still in progress , But all the main managers from Satec Germany, including Joseph Reuter had joined the new company.

The company will have a hydrocarbon machine, Easy Clean manufactured in Germany.

Tony Franklin, of SailStar USA, declared the show excellent, He had seen visitors not just from the states but from South America, Australasia and also several European visitors.

The company was, he said, trying to cover every option, perc, multisolvent (in which he includes Rynex) water and Co2. There was a definite trend within the show’s home market towards alternative] solvents, . primarily hydrocarbon.

Eugenio Boni, of Italclean told LCN the company was exhibiting for the fifth time. He found the show a little bit smaller than last time, with less of an international flavour, visitors had been mainly from North and central America. Nevertheless he felt it important for the company to be there.

The solvent demands of the American market varies state by state he said, and the company had both perc and hydrocarbon, though his personal view was that perc is the best solvent.

The GreenEarth team were out in force with representatives not just from its home country, but from UK licensor Alex Reid and the latest recruit, Marty Brucato of Impressing which will introduce the system to France

Finishing well

“We have changed a lot of the design,” said Ken Uchikoshi of finishing equipment specialist Sankosha. He explained that the company was targeting the top-end of the market. It wanted to be seen as a quality brand, so that the price becomes less important. The range for the USA market is essentially the same as for Europe but adapted to suit the US electrical system.

New products included a small press designed for mid -small size drycleaning operations, and for bigger businesses to use for specialised applications.

Hoffman/ New Yorker dates back over 100 years and its stand celebrated its history by showing one of the early presses alongside the FX42 press, the most recent version of that machine.

In contrast the latest development is based on space-age technology. MicroSil protective coating, uses a corrosion protector developed by NASA for use in the space programme. The coating will prevent soap and starch from . building up on the press head, with the result that the heads heat-up more efficiently, finishing is faster and downtime for cleaning is much reduced.

Customers using the coating have said that hot-head presses can go for six months before they need cleaning. It is available for all hot-head presses, and can be applied during manufacture, but is also sold in kit form for applying to existing presses.

Hoffman was introducing a rotating double-buck cabinet shirt press which will press both the body and sleeves at the same time.

The shirt finishing display also included the Gemini two-piece system consisting of double buck cabinet, ALC collar cuff press and the CSL sleever that will also press the cuff – a feature most drycleaners want says Jeff Rabinowitz, national sales manager.

The CAL 4016 is a conventional drycleaning legger utility press and including built-in vacuum. The Patented pressmate is a sheet of material that can be placed between the legs of the trousers allowing the operator to press both legs at once.

The top master is a trouser tensioner that will finish the top of the trousers, press the pleats and then condition the legs before they go to the legger press.

The Hoffman stand was constantly busy and Rabinowitz said the show had been a very good one where several orders had been taken.

The American finishing market is going through a change, according to Stuart Ilkowitz of Trevil America, For many year, productivity has been the top priority here, while in Europe the concentration has been on quality. So in the USA the company has developed the speed of its machines.

But now the USA is paying more attention to quality, demanding higher quality at high volume rates. At the same time Europe is looking more at productivity while wanting the same quality it has always sought. Trevil, said Ilkowitz has been instrumental in helping both markets achieve these combined aims.

Corinna Mapelli from Trevil headquarters in Italy was showing two form finishers. The Princess de Luxe, was launched in Frankfurt but now has a photocell, mounted on the carriage, which finds the hem of the garment and adjusts the carriage height to suit the type of garment. It also has a double-function sleeve clamp capable of handling both long and short sleeves.

The Athena is an addition to the range for the American/Canadian market and designed to suit small shops or large shops needing a back-up unit. It has an inflatable body with removable collar clamp, tensioning carriage and sleeve clamps. There is also a manual cuff and collar press – designed for small shops which want to offer a shirt service but without heavy investment in equipment.

At Unipress, sales manager Tom Stites reported that although International attendance at the show was down, the company had still seen a number of visitors from outside the USA.

Though providing for both laundry and drycleaning markets the company saw independent drycleaners as its target at the show.

It showed two additions to the shirt pressing range. Both were designed for a quality result but were still claimed to be capable of a 50-60 shirts per hour with one operator.

One machine had a built-in collar and cuff unit and claimed to be the smallest footprint machine of any shirt press, just 10ft by 3ft.