As the world looks to reduce CO2 emissions and industrial laundry operations search for newer and better ways to satisfy customers and save on energy costs, Lavatec has developed an innovative and patented solution that accomplishes both. The new LAVACascade drying system is a true model of efficiency, producing energy savings of at least 50%, says the company.
LAVACascade is a fast and simple three-tiered marvel that generates additional payback with time and labour savings, says Lavatec. The first phase introduces high heat to the laundry load. A middle stage recaptures waste heat to maintain a consistent temperature, followed by a final cooling stage. Each phase takes only a few minutes to complete.
“This is a significant industry advance in drying that was several years in the making. We applied the same engineering approach we use for our custom-built tunnel washers to design LAVACascade,” explained Mark Thrasher, president and co-owner of Lavatec Laundry Technology.
“The end result is, we designed an incredibly efficient system with a shorter drying time that has the capability to reduce energy consumption by as much as 75%. Last month we completed installation of the first machine with a customer in Germany. The initial results are outstanding.”
Lavatec’s Cascade technology is in alignment with recent developments on a worldwide scale to address climate change and reduce CO2 emissions. The California Energy Commission approved standards in December 2019 that pertain to commercial and industrial laundry operations. Short and long-term 1-5 year goals impact energy savings, emission reductions and electricity consumption.
In many ways, the LAVACascade system addresses and supports a research finding from the Nuremburg Institute of Technology, one of the largest universities of applied sciences in Germany. Citing a 2010 German Federal Statistical study that analysed the total energy consumption of 3,800 laundry and dry-cleaning businesses, it reported that 90% of the total amount of energy consumed was used for the heating of water. Although each business examined had systems to recover or re-use water, only one operation had installed a facility to re-use waste heat from laundry dryers – and of the 28 dryers, it applied to only four.
“In Europe and worldwide, the reduction of CO2 emissions is on the agenda of nearly every government,” acknowledged Thrasher. “With our customers looking to reduce costs and meet new coming regulatory mandates, the reduction of energy and emissions has the complete attention of commercial laundry operators.”
Lavatec management believes LAVACascade has the capability to improve nearly any type of commercial laundry operation and is the perfect complement for those with a high amount of full dry linen. This includes but is not limited to those washing towels for the hospitality, healthcare and uniform cleaning segments, as well as mats and mops used to clean floors at these facilities.
“These types of laundry operations have a very high quantity of similar items that requires a long drying time,” said Thrasher. “In this type of situation, the energy savings potential is enormous.”
LAVACascade’s first customer fits this profile. Coburger Handtuch is a regional service provider in Rödental, Germany, that specialises in handling towels, cleaning mops and dirt control mats. Company owner Joachim Krause is both a supporter and promoter of environmentally beneficial technology and equipment.
“Like any initial start-up, we had some interesting situations arise during the installation that we have learned from,” summed up Thrasher. “It was mostly related to the placing of the machines and allowing for proper airflow. The key thing is the owner now understands that the drying time and energy consumption are lower than what he originally calculated and expected. We are in discussions with several operators in North America and hope to announce additional new orders soon.”