Designed for maximum efficiency

5 September 2018

Cost has long been a key factor for all OPL customers. More and more customers are looking for machines that are cost-effective to buy and to operate. Tony Vince reports

The modern on-premise laundry’s choice of washer-extractor is influenced by the work being processed and the space available. Customer requirements will also vary considerably from sector to sector – healthcare, hospitality and commercial. Although initial outlay and water and energy usage are important to all OPL operators, a high-quality build, reliability, service back up and longevity matter more.

For the main OPL sectors – care homes, hotels and bed & breakfast establishments  – Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems recommends freestanding, high spin washer-extractors  – free standing for minimal cost installation and high spin to minimise the drying time, which uses the most energy.

Armstrong recommends its industrial quality Amazon, Primus and Schulthess models, which are available in a large range of sizes from 6kg (that can fit under a work surface) right up to 77kg. All models offer thermal disinfect cycles and, teamed with the correct chemicals, can guarantee the stain free, sterile laundry demanded by the care sector.

“In the care sector which is under relentless financial pressures, price is obviously very important, but so is budgeting for installation, maintenance and service back-up, which is why our finance packages are increasingly popular in this sector”, says Tom Lowes, director of Armstrong.

To help OPL customers to afford compliant laundries and budget for on-going costs, Armstrong offers a range of finance arrangements including a fixed price hire agreement which means there is no capital outlay and no additional cost for parts and labour throughout the agreement period.

Bournbrook Manor Residential Home in Selly Park, Birmingham accommodates 21 elderly residents, including some with dementia and prides itself on the friendly, family atmosphere it creates.

The small laundry, equipped on Armstrong’s fixed price hire arrangement, is fitted with a Primus washer. It handles everything from the home, including all bedding, towels, kitchen and dining room items and the personal clothing of all the residents.

“There’s always something that needs washing,” says Vanessa Erskine, manager of the home. “All the care staff are trained in the correct programmes to use including those that deal with soiled and contaminated items. The Armstrong scheme makes budgeting much easier – it’s always good to know that if anything does go wrong then someone will come out to fix the problem very quickly.”


Hotels opt for OPL back-up

In the hotel sector, Armstrong finds that a number of hotels will send bedding out, but will often maintain an on-premises laundry for towels and other non-iron items and as back-up in case of any delivery problems.

London’s five-star Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel has 237 rooms and while all the bed linen and table linen is sent out for laundering, a substantial in-house laundry handles all the towels and bathrobes.

Armstrong have been suppliers to the hotel for a long time, recently replaced the washers with three Primus FS55 washers, each of which has a capacity of 55kg. The laundry is staffed full time, seven days a week.

Kevin Sims, director of engineering at the hotel, says: “You’d be surprised how much laundry a hotel of this size creates, even though we’re only doing the terry work in-house.

“Needless to say, for a hotel of our reputation, the quality of the wash is paramount. We are very pleased with the new washers, as we have been with Armstrong’s previous machines, and with their service.”

On a smaller scale, the new KIP Hotel in Hackney offers affordable room only accommodation in the heart of one of London’s most vibrant areas. It has a total of 105 rooms ranging from small single internal rooms sharing a bathroom to bunk bedded multi-occupancy rooms and family rooms.

Mike Baxter, whose concept the hotel is, says that with that number of rooms he made the decision that the bulk of the laundry would be sent out.

However, he wanted an on-premises laundry as back up to make sure that nothing runs out with the rapid turnover of rooms.

He brought in Armstrong who installed a 14kg Amazon free-standing high spin washer.  “Despite the bulk of the laundry going out, the Armstrong equipment is in daily use, operated by the housekeeping team and the porters.

“Having it there means we can be confident of always being able to meet the demand for clean laundry, particularly towels, and meet the expectations of our clients who demand high standards despite the very reasonable rates we charge.”


Long-term value

Businesses are always looking for long-term value and a lower total cost overall cost of ownership, rather than capital purchase price, says Peter Marsh, managing director, Girbau UK. That means a reliable and long operating life, reduced maintenance thanks to robust and strongly engineered machines with lower running costs from energy and water efficiency. Customers are also looking to comply with legislation, especially in a healthcare environment. A consistently high wash quality is always important too.

Marsh says that OPL market customers typically choose energy efficient high-speed machines with advanced and easy-to-use programming. These maximise efficiency and successful cleaning of a wide variety of fabrics with reduced cycle times, lower temperature washes and reduced consumption of energy, water and chemicals.

Girbau’s Inteli and Logi controls on its HS Series high-speed washers feature easily adapted programming to meet the varying and specialist needs of different OPL applications.

In the care sector, the ability to disinfect by washing at higher temperatures is also an important consideration. Smaller hotels and guesthouses often prefer to use stackable machines because space is at a premium, while larger hotels may use washers up to 32kg. Fitness clubs and spa hotels that process large quantities of towels and robes may use even larger machines up to 57kg capacity.

Girbau Inteli washers come with a good range of pre-installed programs to meet a wide range of laundry needs, but they also offer to scope to add a further 79 dedicated programs, says Marsh. “Many Girbau customers in healthcare and hospitality are now asking for specialist programs that we have written to address the unique requirements of their OPL.”

An important feature of the machines is the Care Touch drum, which is unique to Girbau. “Customers appreciate the positive difference this makes to preserving delicate fabrics and ensuring a longer lifetime for everyday linens, as well its ability to improve moisture extraction and enhance wash quality.”

Stoke by Nayland is a luxury hotel, golf and spa resort near Colchester, Essex, where the quality of laundry and high volumes of towels and towelling are an important element in the whole customer experience.

Girbau’s laundry consultants worked with the resort’s housekeeping team to identify shortfall areas in the existing laundry before recommending an upgrade capable of meeting capacity, quality and energy efficiency requirements. After meticulous planning the Girbau installation team fitted a laundry that included three robust HS-6023 (25kg capacity) Inteli washers.

The advanced Inteli controls on Girbau HS Series washers provide 20 pre-set and 79 customisable programs for quick and easy programming for a variety of textiles, including spa towels with notoriously difficult-to-clean treatment oils. The washers have helped to transform laundry operation as Steve Miles confirms: “We are very happy with the quality of the machines and the effective combination of Inteli washers and chemicals. We can now process 15-16 loads per day of towels from the leisure side of the business in 45 minute cycles, slightly longer for spa towels. We also process six to eight loads per day of hotel linen, including napkins from the restaurant.”

The prestigious five-star Berkeley Hotel in London recently approached Girbau UK for advice on upgrading its laundry equipment and took the opportunity to specify the latest Agua Smart Wet Cleaning Ready washers. This means it can use the same machines for laundry and wetcleaning.

The hotel’s basement laundry operates seven days a week from six in the morning until half past ten at night. It processes guest linens as well as some of the hotel’s more specialist items such as towels, bath mats, monogrammed spa robes and special children’s bed linen. Guests can choose a same-day or express service.

Girbau installed two HS-6013 14kg-capacity and two 27kg-capacity HS-6024 Inteli washers capable of processing standard hotel laundry and wetcleaning the delicate guest laundry that requires special care and attention. The hotel also has a HS-6008 washer for smaller loads.

Inteli washers come with a range of 20 pre-installed programs to meet a wide range of laundry needs, and offer to ability to add a further 79 dedicated programs for wetcleaning and other applications. Ideal Manufacturing installed all the pumps and chemicals required for laundry and wetcleaning.

“Everything is working fine. We are very happy with the machines and range of programs,” said Cecil Jenkins, head valet at The Berkeley. “We can do everything we want with these machines including laundry and wetcleaning.”


Staff training service

The staff training that Girbau UK provides to customers after new machines have been installed is now seen as one of the company’s most valuable services, says Marsh. “While the machines are easy and intuitive to control, the training ensures users are fully aware of how to get the best out of them both in terms of high quality results and efficient use of water and energy. In OPL environments staff are often multi-tasking and lack laundry experience, which we can help provide.”

A reliable service response is still paramount. Customers typically want next-day or same-day turnaround on repairs. As a manufacturer, Girbau’s UK service team has unsurpassed access to spare parts for faster first time fixes as well.

On finance, Girbau UK’s Complete Laundry Care makes running an on-premise laundry simple, hassle-free and affordable, with no upfront capital payment required. It offers the latest energy efficient washers with a fixed monthly rental that includes all service and maintenance.

There are no additional or unexpected repair bills to pay and customers are assured of prompt same-day/next-day service response from Girbau’s factory-trained nationwide team of experienced engineers.


Laundry cycle management

Mick Christian, regional training and demonstration manager for laundry at Electrolux Professional, says that more and more care home managers are now implementing a proper laundry cycle management process and looking to install on-premises laundries (OPL). This is namely due to the greater level of control it can offer with regards to prevention of infection, he says, adding that OPLs also offer versatility and consistency, while saving money in the process.

“Preventing infections and the spread of bacteria is a huge concern for care homes, and linen is notably one of the main transmitters of disease. As such, it is essential bedsheets, pillowcases, blankets and even workers uniforms are cleaned with the greatest care and attention,” says Christian.

“The latest innovations in laundry technology offer care home managers added peace of mind in the fight against infection. For example, Temp°Check is a process validation tool which allows operators to validate that thermal disinfection has taken place. The compact, universal control is the perfect tool to enable compliance with a strict and growing set of laundry criteria – particularly prevalent in the care sector.”

It also provides Productivity Reports, which show the efficiency of the laundry equipment, to create a more economical and profitable laundry.

Looking at hotels and guesthouses, size of premise is a huge factor to bear in mind and OPL solutions can vary dramatically, says Christian. “Speed is also a significant driver as many establishments are faced with the daily task of processing the linen in each room, towels, table linen, as well as staff uniforms, and other items that need to be washed.

“The most popular solutions in the hospitality sector are dedicated washer extractors, dryers, and ironers, namely due to the sheer volume of material they can process. That said, no matter how large or small the premises, there is always a solution available – be it a towel laundry, a complete OPL, or something smaller, like the myPRO smart-professional solution.

“For gyms and fitness clubs it is less about volume and more about space,” he continues. “We are experiencing a shift towards compact solutions, but with the capacity to deal with commercial loads at a quicker rate than their domestic counterparts. This allows smaller establishments to set-up in-house, or up-grade their domestic washers to deal with the constant demand.

“The Electrolux Professional myPRO washer and dryer series is the perfect investment for businesses striving for best-in-class results but don’t have the budget to invest in a completely commercial laundry facility. Smaller in size, but not in capability, myPRO is made for professional environments and boasts a professional warranty. It’s the perfect solution for smaller establishments.”

OPL washer-extractors

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