Investing in the future

24 August 2017

As washer-extractor technology continues to progress, manufacturers are confident that laundries are ready to invest in the next generation of machines, reports Tony Vince

The washer-extractor market covers three main sectors – industrial/linen supply, on-premises laundry and the vended/coin-op sector. All laundries - from the smallest commercial on-premise laundry to the larger industrial laundries and textile rental companies - require washers that are more efficient in their use of energy, water and detergent.

Following on from the upbeat mood at Texcare 2016 in Germany, manufacturers represented at last month’s Clean 2017 in Las Vegas are confident that laundries are ready to invest in replacements. Several US speakers pointed to a rejuvenated economy, with the hotel industry enjoying higher occupancy rates and this increases linen demands. Heavy-duty laundries are upgrading their lines with more energy-efficient equipment and achieving a good return on investment through the resultant lower utility bills.

As at last year’s Texcare, a key theme for the large-volume laundries is the integration of the whole production line – sorting, washroom, extraction and drying. Data management, troubleshooting and networking capabilities have become indispensable on the newest controls.

In addition, equipment manufacturers and distributors like Alliance Laundry Systems, Continental Girbau, Miele Professional, Onnera Group, Whirlpool, Xeros and Pellerin Milnor displayed washer-extractors suitable for the OPL and vended laundry operators.

Kannegiesser USA and ETECH are now Kannegiesser ETECH. The theme of its stand at Clean Show was ‘Smart Laundry.’  The ETECH product line of eRail Monorail and conveyor solutions as well as its eVue Software was on display

Kannegiesser’s washer-extractors use the latest water management software together with the JET rinsing process, already proven in the PowerTrans JET batch washer, to achieve very good water and energy consumption figures.

The manufacturer offers three washer-extractors ranges: the FavoritPlus barrier machines, the Futura open-pocket washers and the PowerSwing series, which provides automatic loading and unloading options. The growing demand of customisation and individualisation is also increasing in the laundry sector, says Kannegiesser.

The PowerSwing, for example, provides a large number of loading options. This means that the PowerSwing can be integrated in the best possible way into all sorts of different laundry layouts

Continental Girbau showcased its range of on-premise, industrial and vended laundry equipment and solutions at Clean 2017. One stand features the latest Girbau Industrial and Continental on-premise and industrial laundry products including open-pocket E-Series Washers and Pro-Series II Dryers. 

Clara Barton Hospital, in Hoisington, Kansas has been benefiting from Continental Girbau’s washer technology since last year. Working with the hospital’s architect and Brian Asher, of Continental agent Commercial Laundry Sales & Service (CLS&S), in Wichita, Kansas, Clara Barton Hospital CEO Jim Blackwell decided to develop a laundry facility that has already achieved a $350,000 drop in annual costs and is on track to save $1.75 million over five years.

Asher installed high-performance Continental soft-mount washers and dryers. Now one laundry operator uses the Continental laundry equipment to process 11,000 pounds of laundry per month. The soft-mount E-Series Washers (one 55-, one 30-, and one 20-pound capacity models) are freestanding, feature a flexible control, and generate high-extract speeds up to 387 G-force. Three Continental Pro-Series II Dryers (two 35- and one 55-pound capacity models) are used. “We could have poured a thicker concrete pad to accommodate hard-mount washers, but it made sense to go with the soft-mount washers for ease of installation; higher G-force extract speeds; and maximized productivity, efficiency and labour savings,” said Asher.

Soft-mount washers remove considerably more moisture from laundry during extract, when compared to most hard-mount washers on the market, so laundry dries in significantly less time. “This boosts laundry throughput while reducing natural gas consumption and resulting costs,” he said.

When developing the on-premise laundry, adhering to state and federal health standards was paramount. “We ensured there was no cross contamination,” said Blackwell. “Soiled laundry coming in is completely separate from clean laundry going out.” Other requirements include a 25-minute bath time at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “An optional temperature boost on the washers allows them to reach state and federal sanitation standards,” added Asher. “Because of the 25-minute bath time, wash cycles are close to 50 minutes.”

The 55- and 30-pound E-Series Washers feature the flexible Inteli control, which allows complete control over every conditional aspect of the wash process, including water temperature by degree, wash rotation speed and duration, water levels, bath cool-down by degree and extract speeds.

Chemicals are automatically injected into the wash cycle, at the right time and water temperature, according to the program selected. Asher, who also provides the hospital with cleaning chemicals, set up individual wash programs for items like blankets, gowns, sheets, towels, bed pads, scrubs and rags. “It’s really easy,” added Blackwell. “Our laundry operator just enters a program number and presses start.”

Once washed, items are quickly dried in highly programmable Pro-Series II Dryers. The dryers are engineered with a moisture sensing system that ensures items are not over-dried.

Clara Barton Hospital now enjoys complete control over laundry quality, said Blackwell.  “We feel like our wash cycles and attention to detail fit hand-in-hand really well,” he added.

Access to data

Laundry is becoming more and more technical and it is important for customers to be able to access data concerning their laundry operation at any time, day or night, according to Xeros, the developer of polymer bead-based textile cleaning.

Xeros’ innovative technology changes the most basic operating principles of the washing machine by replacing 80% of the hot water used in traditional machines with beads made from a special stain-absorbing polymer.

The Xeros NFPA 1851 compliant system for firefighters’ personal protective equipment (PPE) was named Environmental Leader Top Product of the Year at the Environmental Leader 2017 conference in Denver, Colorado. This is the second Environmental Leader Top Product of the Year Award for Xeros. In 2015 Xeros Polymer Bead-Cleaning Laundry System won the prestigious environmental award.

One judge commented on Xeros’ solution for cleaning firefighter turnout gear, “Stain absorbing polymer beads technology. Water/energy reduction results are impressive. No performance sacrificed. Time savings realized as well. Beads are recyclable.”

The Xeros team attended Clean Show in Las Vegas, where Xeros marked the landmark of 100,000,000 gallons of water saved for laundry businesses. They include the Clarion Inn Seekonk, Comfort Inn Danvers,, Hampton Inn Seekonk, Hyatt Regency Reston, Hilton Universal LA, and Stanford Park Hotel.

The regions that are growing most and that Xeros are entering in 2017 are United Arab Emirates (especially Dubai), Israel and Australia. Each of these regions has a limited water supply, rising water and energy utility prices (in Australia gas prices have trebled and electricity prices have doubled in the past year). Xeros is also continuing to grow in the UK, USA, Mexico, Spain and France.

The company recently introduced its SM35 washer, a 35lb/16kg capacity machine ideal for drycleaners, smaller hotels, and spas where size and space is a consideration. Using the same patented polymer cleaning technology as the award-winning Xeros SMV90 commercial washer, the Xeros SM35 is said to reduce water consumption by up to 80%, and cut energy and detergent usage by up to 50%. The machine benefits from the Xeros Sbeadycare laundry management program.

Also on show was Pedestal, which enables conventional commercial washing machines to be transformed into sustainable polymer cleaning systems. Pedestal is compatible with nearly any size or brand of conventional commercial washing machine and can be integrated through a relatively simple process at the end of a manufacturer’s production line. This provides a gateway for the incorporation of Xeros’ technology into any commercial washing machine.

Vended sector showcase

Continental Girbau also showcased its vended and multi-housing laundry solutions at Clean 2017. The multi-housing area included LG and Econ-O branded washers and dryers and for the vended laundry there were ExpressWash Washers, G-Flex hard-mount washers and an L-Series 75-pound capacity PowerLoad Washer.

Continental has added a 33lbs capacity G-Flex Washer to its line of hard-mount flexible-speed washers. The G-Flex line now includes 33-, 40-, 55- and 70-pound capacity models. Like all G-Flex Washers, the 33lbs capacity model offers programmable extract speeds reaching 200 G-force, programmable control and superior results using less water and energy. The Logi Pro Control brings 25 individually modifiable programs, each with up to 11 baths, including multiple pre-wash, wash and rinse cycles.

Coin, multi-housing and OPLs

Whirlpool Corporation Commercial Laundry is a family of brands that includes Maytag Commercial Laundry, ADC and Whirlpool Commercial Laundry.

Throughout the four-day Clean Show, staff from each addressed market challenges, product enhancements and trends through education sessions.

Whirlpool Commercial Laundry manufactures commercial washers and dryers for the coin, multi-housing and various smaller on-premises laundry applications. At Clean 2017, Whirlpool unveiled its CAE2765 top-load washer, as well as top-load dryers, front-load washers and dryers, and stacked dryers.

Whirlpool’s Single-Load Top-Load Washer CAE2765FQ (pictured) is said to provide exceptional value for owners and operators and is built with commercial-grade components and offers quality features to help streamline operations.

Visitors were able to see the new Maytag Commercial Laundry Multi-Load Washer. and also its Maytag Connect 360° technology. This is a web-based laundry room communication and management system designed to help boost profits for coin stores, universities and multi-housing applications.

The system offers owners the ability to manage multiple aspects of their business from a single portal, providing flexibility to monitor machines remotely, reduce downtime and simplify operations. The Maytag Connect 360° module fits current Maytag Commercial Laundry products or can be retrofitted to work with older units.

In April this year, the German company Miele Professional launched its benchmark range, which is split into two product lines: Performance and Performance Plus. The Performance machines range from 13kg to 18kg, and with outstanding wash quality and cycle times from 52 minutes, provide essential time savings for busy staff.

The Performance Plus machines have cycle times from 45 minutes and a full package of programmes to suit the requirements of each business. The Performance Plus range (in the cottons 60C programme) requires up to 20% less water and 30% less energy than the previous generation, while also reducing residual moisture to 45% for further savings.

Both product lines feature an exclusive new OneFingerTouch door system, which alongside an easy-to-use six-button programme selection creates a seamless process for laundry operators. They also both provide protection to fabric through an upgraded honeycomb drum design. The Performance and Performance Plus ranges are built to last for up to 30,000 cycles – equivalent to around 10 years when used for eight hours a day – and are approved to Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) category 5 standards.

Cloud-based solutions

Alliance Laundry Systems exhibited a variety of innovative commercial laundry products and solutions from its family of brand names –UniMac, Speed Queen, Huebsch and Primus. UniMac featured its TotalVue system, which gives laundry managers and executives a complete view into laundry operations. The networked system monitors the performance of all UniMac washer-extractors and tumble dryers in the facility, as well as those in multiple locations. The cloud-based solution also offers a real-time look at operations from anywhere in the world through an Internet portal.

For the vended laundry, sector, Speed Queen introduced new offerings tied to its industry-leading Quantum controls. The new developments streamline store management and maximise profitability.

Huebsch showcased its Galaxy 600 control platform and visitors were able to learn about features that have been added to the control set to make it even more user friendly for vended laundry owners.

Its European brand, Primus, displayed its FX soft mount range of washer-extractors and RX range of rigid mount washer-extractors. Visitors could also see Primus SoftWash, the brand’s wet clean solution, which has already gained broad support from drycleaners around the world and is now being introduced in North America.


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