Achieving greater productivity14 December 2016
The ironer is at the heart of the finishing line. Tony Vince examines how the latest generation of machines are reducing energy consumption, raising production and becoming easier to use
The ironer is at the heart of the finishing line and it is by the quality of the finished goods that the customer judges the laundry’s standards.
Wim Demeyer at Lapauw points out that Lapauw pioneered gas heated ironers over 20 years ago. At this June’s Texcare, Lapauw exhibited a completely reinvented gas heated ironer, the Ironmax, its latest generation of gas heated ironers, as well as the Ironpro small capacity ironer range.
A key innovation with the Ironmax is the MaxSurface feature, with large bridges, each spanning over more than one metre. MaxSurface incorporates an innovative chest design, said to be twice as flexible compared with current chest technology, and provides better chest-to-roll coverage. The features maximise the ironing surface, providing up to 15% more surface, compared with current flexible chest ironers.
The Ironmax hydraulic chest lifting system wraps the chest around the roll and is adaptable according to each ironing program, ensuring an optimal and constant ironing pressure, irrespective of the thickness of the linen.
Another key innovation is the MaxPower parallel oil flow system. Lapauw says that oil flow is as important to the evaporation as the burner power.
The parallel oil flow system distributes the thermal oil to each chest and bridge via a parallel circuit, which ensures a uniform temperature. The thermal oil flows through the chest perpendicular to the movement of the linen. This maximises the heat transfer from the thermal oil to the wet linen, providing more heating power.
Finally, the MaxSuction feature has an individual, adjustable suction per roll. The individual springs and individual suction fan per roll is said to create up to five times more suction power, so maximising removal of moisture.
The Ironmax comes in 2-roll and 3-roll versions with 1,200 diameter and features standard modulating burner and PLC control system with touch-screen.
The first Ironmax ironers have already been installed in laundries and first results indicate that the Ironmax delivers an evaporation power that is up to 5% higher than current technology.
Lapauw says that more and more laundries require small capacity ironers that are capable of offering the same quality and efficiency as the industrial, chest heated ironers. With the Ironpro, Lapauw expands its ironing range to the OPL laundries and small capacity ironing lines that require a high finish quality finish. This allows Lapauw to offer an ironing range that starts at single roll, 500mm diameter ironers through to 3-roll, 1,600mm diameter ironers.
The Ironpro offers single roll chest heated ironing with roll diameters 500, 600 and 800mm and working widths from 2,200mm up to 3,300mm.
The Ironpro differs from today’s small diameter ironers because it is, in fact, a mini Lapauw ironer, equipped with the well-known Lapauw technology. The flexible, thin chest assures a high and uniform ironing pressure over the complete surface. The chest is raised against the roll like on the Lapauw ironers using electric actuators instead of hydraulics. As the Lapauw ironers, the Ironpro has an indirect heating system where thermal oil heats the chest and assures the most uniform and constant ironing temperature.
Standard features include a feed band assembly, stainless steel feeding trough for fast feeding, exit table and a small PLC controller with touch screen that allows the laundry to create different ironing programs, in function of the linen.
The padding is 2-layer high temperature aramid padding with Springpress springs.
The Girbau Group supplies both the industrial laundry sector and the OPL/commercial markets, with divisions for each. Its ironer strategy recognises this and with the PB/PBP series, the Compact series and the PC series Girbau has covered the varying needs of each sector in terms of production and technical advances.
At Texcare International, Girbau showcased its global laundry solutions, for vended laundries, small and medium-sized hotels, industrial laundries and hospital laundries. Girbau Commercial division demonstrated its PB ironer and the new Optifeed system in operation, indicating where the linen should be fed in to make the most of the ironer’s heating capacity. The indicator allows the user to know what part of the roller is warmest. In this way the ironer’s burner does not have to be turned on and off, so maximising energy savings and increased productivity.
The PB Series of flatwork ironers is suitable for commercial and hotel laundry applications. The PB series offers OPL laundries a range of ironing widths from 1.5 metres up to 3.2 metres, ensuring there is a model to suit the capacity requirements of many different OPL laundries that also need productivity, energy efficiency, ergonomics, and premium quality precision.
The control system in Girbau Industrial’s PC ironer series features an energy optimiser mode that can be pre-set to switch the line into energy saving mode at the end of a shift.
The rigid bed used for all flatwork has a robust design that allows the company to offer a seven-year warranty on the chest. Heat capture technology saves energy by using heat without transmitting it to the exterior, so improving efficiency and the working environment. The G Help system in the PC series ironers allows any problems to be diagnosed remotely via a connection in the machine.
Girbau has introduced parameters that are adjusted to achieve better results with any kind of item, giving speeds up to 50m/min on the PC120 and up to
45m/min on the PC80. It also includes the Inteli concept, identifying settings via visual icons.
Jensen showcased highly sophisticated machines designed for its one-stop-shop approach for integrated systems. Referring to the finishing section as “centrepiece of each and every laundry” it has evolved product to meet customer expectations.
One recent addition to its flatwork offering is the Jenroll Hybrid ironer that offers 5-star ironing quality without tape marks at a speed of up to 50 metres per minute or more, allowing the laundry to use it for fast ironing of flatwork for the healthcare sector, or for top-quality ironing for hospitality.
The Jenroll Hybrid is a space-saving solution combining a flexible chest section of 1,200mm diameter and a calendar section comprising three rolls of 800mm/ diameter, ensuring top-quality ironing in the first section, followed by a final drying of the linen in the calendar section without leaving any tape marks in the linen.
The Jensen Group offers a comprehensive range of ironers to provide for all applications within the heavy-duty industrial laundry sector.
Mono-roll ironers may be preferred by premium hospitality businesses for their high quality standards as they do not need guide tapes, which may mark the linen). Multi-roll ironers (with two, three, or four rolls and varying diameters ) may be more suited to hospital work where productivity is the priority.
Steam heating is an option but, for sustainability, Jensen developed its CleanTech concept on gas heating. The EXPG thermal oil gas-heated ironers are self-contained units with a gas burner and an integrated heat exchanger. This combination can be used for laundries that want more ironing capacity without having to invest further in the boiler house or for those wanting to free-up boiler capacity for other machines.
The integrated burner on these ironers, combined with the flexible chest allows the temperature to be adjusted to suit the work. Cotton can be processed quickly at higher temperatures, or the heat can be lowered for ironing polyester or for producing high quality results on table linen by running the ironer at low speeds. The carbon steel roll ensures optimum heat conduction and minimises the friction when linen is wet.
Mono roll ironers offer a choice of 1,200 or 2,000mm diameters and multi-roll models, 800, 1,000, or 1,200mm. They are also available with a fixed chest but the majority of customers opt for a flexible chest, which ensures full roll-to-bed contact and so increases capacity.
All ironers are available with working widths of 3,000 and 4,200mm.
Laco ironers, manufactured in Belgium, are available with roll diameters of 370, 500, 600 and 800mm and working widths from 1,750-3,300mm, suitable for all types of linen.
For Texcare International 2016, Laco Machinery will focus on the latest ironer technologies. The manufacturer will present its two-roll 800mm flexible chest ironer in gas- and thermal oil-heated versions. This ironer features Laco Air Stream technology. This comprises a flexible chest, a pre-heated air chamber and an improved airflow circuit inside the roll. The system offers increased output without compromising the quality of finish to the ironed linen. The Laco ironer has as standard a felt covered roll with integral vacuum and a flexible heated chest that is hydraulically pressed against the rotating roll.
Stahl’s heavy duty flatwork ironers have now been joined by the Master range with roll diameters of 121cm – 201cm available in gas, thermal oil electric and steam based options.
The Stahl Master 1210 flatwork ironer is pictured with feeding machine and folding machine. Stahl’s Master ironers use a heated band design which is said to allow 180 warp angle under contact pressure increasing the contact area by up to 20%.
The design of the “super trough” optimises heat retention and allows even distribution. The ironer is designed so that it is the roll that raises and lowers rather than the heavy trough and this again saves energy.
Kannegiesser says manufacturers need to supply ironers with high evaporation for productivity and efficiency. As the range of linen handled widens, so the ability to adapt ironing temperature quickly to different sizes and thicknesses has becomes increasingly important.
One batch might be heavy sheeting with a high moisture content that needs high temperatures and the next polyester table cloths that need much lower temperatures. The change must be quick and efficient as it is in the Kannegiesser HPM ironers, which use a stainless-steel flexible heating band rather than conventional chest.
This heated band adapts to the roll contours, giving better contact and therefore excellent heat transfer and high evaporation rates, to such an extent that a two-roll ironer has the same capacity as a conventional three-roll. The productivity gains of a three-roll HPM over a conventional four-roll ironer are even greater. Additionally the combination of excellent heat insulation, and a small footprint leads to extremely low energy consumption.
Alliance Laundry Systems serves the commercial and OPL market with ironers available through both Primus and Ipso brands. With the European market, energy efficiency is one the biggest influences both on buying decisions and the technical development. Primus recently introduced a further model to its cylinder-heated I Series, the I80-320 ironer. With its roll diameter of 800mm and 3,200 mm roller length, the machine is said to achieve an ironing capacity of up to 195kg/h. It is equipped with an MCX microprocessor, a specially adapted version of the popular XControl microprocessor system developed for the FX washers. The ironer is also available in an electric-heated version, with gas- and steam versions planned.
GMP serves the OPL market and small-to-medium size industrial /commercial sector. The Italian company showcased several technical innovations and the very latest versions of its flatwork ironers, the result of major research carried out by the specialist ironer manufacturer.
Visitors saw the latest developments to its G line of rotary ironers. There were three models on show, each with distinctive improvements. Models have been developed to provide even more resistance to heavy-duty use after strenuous testing, according to GMP tradition. The mechanical systems were developed to support the cylinders and provide longevity, with extended maintenance intervals.
This chest ironer range, already recognised for its ease of use and maintenance, is now equipped with upgraded chests and rollers, produced for the maximum precision in size and shape to give greater efficiency, greater quantity and higher quality. The chrome-coated surfaces are covered by a warranty extended up to three years.
GMP also demonstrated the latest version of its Tenax professional roller padding. It is a stainless steel lamellar spring padding, specifically made for smaller diameters and lower pressures when compared with the multiroller ironers. Tenax is designed with a specific thinner thickness and a modified shape that conforms to GMP rollers.
Miele Professional has extended its PM series of flatwork ironers with three models – PM 1318, PM 1418 and PM 1421 – that meet the requirements of OPLs that handle high volumes as well as commercial laundries. The standard versions can be enhanced with optional features such as the Plus infeed table, which includes a vacuum device to keep the linen in place as it moves onto the ironer roll helping to ensure a smooth, crease-free result.
The PM series of ironers have a ranging width of 1,680mm to 1,900mm and are available in electric- and gas-heated versions. The use of aluminium in the trough conducts heat around four times faster than steel. Its smooth surface and a contact angle of 167degrees ensure a large contact surface and good contact pressure. Heat is introduced on the infeed side where a large proportion of moisture needs to be evaporated fast. This is where most heater elements are located on electrically heated models.
On gas models, dual-burner technology ensures rapid heat transfer at this point. This results in ideal heat distribution and reduces energy consumption in comparison with older models by over 10%.
Depending on the model and residual moisture, up to 96kg of laundry can be ironed in a single hour. Each outfeed table features a sculpted and perforated surface consisting of hexagons. The holes at the points where hexagons meet allow cooler air to be drawn in to replace the heat rising from the flatwork.
This allows textiles to cool down while still on the outfeed table, which in turn fixes the clean laundry in place. In addition, the optional heat-retaining cover prevents heat loss and ensures lower temperatures around the roller.
These PM flatwork ironers are designed for use by two people but can also be operated by a single person by fitting a return-feed module, available as an optional extra. Laundry feed belts are also available as accessories, preventing laundry slippage during the feed-in operation. Leaf-spring padding represents a further option, allowing uniform contact pressure and enhanced evaporation of steam, further improving the quality of laundry finish.
Danube, part of the Onnera Group, also focusses on OPL commercial sectors. Danube notes regional differences – Western Europe stresses sustainability while Eastern Europe is more concerned with price, and in the USA efficiency and durability are the big concerns.
Research and development is the answer to meeting these varying requirements. Its Smart system helps to meet the efficiency requirements of high grade hotels and hospitals. Danube’s recently introduced MIII range has a 300mm diameter and 500mm working width. The gas heated version features a Radiant burner, which is said to increase production by 25%. The MIII dryer ironer is also available in electric and steam versions, and all feature the Easy Control microprocessor with seven pre-set ironing speeds. The ironers come with working widths of 2m, 2m60 and 3m30.
Domus, also part of the Onnera Group, has unveiled larger models of its flatwork ironers as well as the radiant gas burner, which is said to increase production by 25%. Its latest Radion gas ironer is described as “the most efficient on the market”. It is an all-in-one compact solution ideal for the hotel market. At the same time the compact Sextans flatwork ironer offers 600, 800 and 1,000mm roll diameters for laundries, hotels and hospitals processing up to nine tons daily. Other features include roll length of 3m30, which allows ironing, and folding of linen 3,300 x 3,300mm.