Green is the colour

24 August 2017

Clean 2017 was a showcase for sustainable innovation. Kathy Bowry reports on a small selection of what was there with the promise of more to come

There was a time not so long ago when a sustainable laundry solution provider would have the energy saving features gradually picked off one by one by the client ‘because of cost’. Into the bin went heat exchange technology along with water saving features even though, over the life of the machinery, the client would see significant reductions in running costs and fast payback on the investment.

How times have changed. Nowadays large commercial laundries are competing for customers who want everything, but at a rock-bottom price. At the same time laundries need to comply with a whole raft of legislation and CSR requirements. If a business wants to turn any profit let alone survive it needs to get bigger while at the same time  cutting back on water, energy and chemical use – and labour. Hence the advent of the eco-friendly, highly automated super laundry.

Realistically, opines Keith Ware, vice president of sales at Lavatec, the most important green you can talk about to operators is money (dollars). “Anything that is ‘about the environment’ must have a positive effect on the bottom line. ROI is always the first question for any purchaser. Few people spend money just for  the good of environment unless it is mandated. (Not so long ago California had a bad drought and was going to be capped on water use but rain came so that was  averted  – for the time being anyway – but in some states credits can be earned on reduced energy use.) Every piece of Lavatec equipment is designed to be as efficient as possible.”

And it seems that customers are lapping up Lavatec innovation. At Clean 2017 last month, North Grand River Co-operative, a laundry in Lansing, Michigan, managed by Sodexo, purchased the new Lavatec LT50-10BT continuous tunnel washer as well as a 110-pound, 40-bar single stage extraction press and four new TT-series Ecodry dryers. They will be adding the new osLaundry management system software to  the LT50, which is in the early stages of installation in the coming weeks.

“Having a software solution that can be integrated into all of our new equipment was a major victory for us and our customers,” says Ware. “We found they liked learning about the remote diagnostic support and real-time information that will allow them to make more informed decisions on a quicker basis. Many operations realise they need to be more efficient, and osLaundry gives them the tools to do so.”

Ware also reports staff answered many inquiries about the TT-series Ecodry dryers. “The smart technology built into the machine puts it on a different level of efficiency and throughput. The line burner covers the entire drum and is the ace in the hole that drives efficiency.”

Alliance is totally committed to developing energy efficient solutions for its customers, says CEO Mike Schoeb . “Manufacturing products that use less is relatively easy. Manufacturing products that can do that and effectively clean textiles is complicated and requires substantial investments in engineering and laboratories. Our 200 person engineering team is allocated to working that out and delivering. It all turns on our customers’ needs. We have made big investments in energy efficiency testing, notably at our new facility in the Czech Republic and at our laboratory in the USA where we are striving to delivering exactly what our customers want.”

He believes intelligent software has a lot to offer when  it comes to efficiencies. With its commitment to laundromats, which Schoeb says is embedded in its DNA, Alliance has developed networking software that allows owners of multi-site launderette businesses (and OPL) to have more visibility over the different sites and receive alerts to problems straight onto a smart phone or tablet.

The simple, easy to use Speed Queen Business Suite dashboard setup was developed in-house by Alliance and is the first and only integrated suite of its type, says Schoeb.  It can handle soap management – powder/liquid or liquid injection - ancillary sales, staff working hours, stock control and many other business management tasks. The developments will streamline store management and maximise profitability while also keeping an eye on any wasteful practices.

For example, owners will also be able to monitor individual machine performance and use across their estate, highlighting problems such as, for example, why is one site’s machines not in use as much as those in another shop in a similar catchment area thereby allowing steps to be taken to address the problem.

At the same time Alliance brand UniMac features its TotalVue system that gives OPL laundry managers and executives a complete view into laundry operations and monitors the performance of all UniMac washer-extractors and tumble dryers in one or multiple locations. Huebsch meanwhile  benefits from the Huebsch Command network connected to the Galaxy 600 control platform

Milnor used Clean 2017 as the platform from which to launch the PurePulse water recovery treatment system. The 18-membrane PurePulse system combines high flux efficiency and superior filtration performance to help commercial and on-premise laundries achieve significant water and energy cost reductions.

Visitors to the Milnor stand saw the 8-module 76039 PBW tunnel system (with an MP1650 single-stage press and 6458TG pass-through dryer). In addition to the PulseFlow technology tunnel, Milnor introduced several new models at the show, including the MWF100J7 220lb (100kg) capacity suspended model and rigid-mount MWT series and Premier series dryers.

The new 80-pound capacity E-Series washer from Girbau Continental also made its debut at the show. The freestanding machine, recently added to the E-Series line, offers a soft-mount design for simple installation, high-extract speeds reaching 400 G-force, superior efficiency and Continental’s highly flexible Inteli Control. The E-Series line up has 20-, 30, 40-, 60-, 80- and 90-pound capacities.

Lapauw has broken new ground by introducing a range of tunnel washers that brings the company by into the total laundry solutions provider category. Their advent was announced at the show, and the first of these is due to be installed by the end of the year (see more innovations in our Clean 2017 coverage on pages 11 and 14).

However, talking about product on the stand, namely its range of gas ironers including two new models, Steven Renders, CEO of Lapauw International, says: “There is a move towards better quality finishing in the USA and choosing a gas ironer over a steam model  will give better efficiencies, better temperature regulation and in most cases better finishing than steam units. With steam you run it for a day; with gas you run it for an hour and there are no boiler worries.”

With an eye on pulling in new customers in North America, Lapauw showed off a two-roll 1200mm version of its ironMax, which it labels the next generation of gas-heated ironers, featuring redesigned chests and bridges for the largest ironing surface available, and “the only true parallel thermal oil circuit”. Also on display was the IronPro, a single roll 500 mm ironer for lower capacity and OPL laundries.

During Clean 2017 Xeros marked the landmark figure of 100,000,000 gallons of water saved for laundry businesses globally by the company’s machines with a clock ticking around to the magic number. Almost simultaneously with that event, news came through that the Xeros NFPA 1851 compliant system for firefighters’ personal protective equipment (PPE) was named Top Product of the Year at the Environmental Leader 2017 conference in Denver, Colorado an award it had previously accepted for its polymer bead-cleaning laundry system in 2015.

More to come in an in-depth round up of developments at Clean 2017 in our special  review issue in the September issue of LCN International


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