Running smoothly: choosing the right laundry calender

Jean Anderson Reports.

‘Dashing away with the smoothing iron’ takes on a whole new meaning when you look into the world of commercial flatwork ironing.

The Victorian laundress immortalised in that folk song would look enviously upon the modern calenders producing high quality flatwork at speed for a wide range of facilities. From the likes of care homes with plenty of flatwork to pass through their in-house laundries to large commercial laundries processing thousands of linen hire items every week, the correct calender for the task does more than iron out the creases in the production flow.

Its smooth, efficient running will help to keep productivity high and operating costs to the minimum. Those that require a swift and easy maintenance programme are a boon, as is the footprint of smaller calenders where space is at a premium. With options like return feed or double exit ironers, and whether to use a gas, steam or electrically heated model, there’s a lot think about on top of maintenance and engineer support.

Here a range of companies explain the benefits of the models they have available to achieve the desired smooth finish.

Jean Anderson, writer at Laundry & Cleaning Today


Kannegiesser’s High Power Steam Ironer (HPM) with four rolls and Textile Care Technology is breaking boundaries in terms of textile care and energy efficiency, says the company’s Ellie Stowe.

“By using a gentle ironing process, we are able to offer you a prolonged textile life of up to 30 per cent plus energy savings without making compromises to quality and productivity. “An extended ironing distance ensures an excellent evaporation capacity and a quality finish even at low temperatures and high speeds.”

Stowe continues: “After labour costs, textile, energy and water consumptions are the largest costs facing laundry owners. Ironing textiles at high temperatures will damage material fibres, cause discolouration and lead to loss of tear resistance. By reducing the steam pressure to as low as six bar, energy consumption can also be lowered considerably.” (See the pie chart on this page to see the benefits of low temperature ironing.) “An essential component of the Kannegiesser four-roller HPM is our Textile Care Technology,” Stowe adds. “Depending on the processing programme, the temperature of the heating band can be adjusted for different articles, supporting a consistent degree in white and coloured garments. It is also ideal for processing temperature sensitive items such as polyester table linen. “Avoid over drying light fabrics by lowering the temperature – energy is saved and the lifespan of the linen is extended.

Kannegiesser’s illustrations show both thick and thin articles are processed by selective roller adjustment. “Depending on the programme, all rollers can be driven at high or low pressure – alternatively the first roll can be set to low pressure and all other rolls to high pressure. This way the ironing process can be adjusted to a wide range of articles,” said Stowe.

Kannegiesser’s High Power Steam Ironer (HPM) with four rolls and Textile Care Technology is breaking boundaries in terms of textile care and energy efficiency

The Stahl brothers – (top left) Uwe, (top right) Jochen, (bottom left) Werner and (bottom right) Alexander

Stahl Master Range gas fed, return feed 500 dia roll, 2100mm wide, ironer


Ironers have come a long way from the days they were huge lumps of cast iron beds, multiple rollers and tape led linen transport, says Tabish Aiman, who’s company TexID Limited distributes Stahl ironers in the UK.

Aiman explains that Stahl has been a key player in design changes which have produced the ironers today’s textile care professionals favour. Looking back, he said: “At the time, the needs demanded very high production rates and placement in large centralised facilities processing several tonnes per day. Though these large facilities, requiring multiple roller lines are still a mainstay, several other applications have emerged requiring adjustments to the basic design of ironers,” he said.

“Looking at modern garment care professionals, whether they operate a series of receiving shops with a central processing unit or standalone shops, the breadth of offering increased to domestic bed linen sometime ago,” said Aiman. As a stopgap, double buck utility presses were the norm resulting in very high production costs and requiring skilled labour.

From that, he said: “A new breed of ironers emerged. These were smaller diameter rollers and restricted widths so they could fit in smaller facilities. The introduction of return feeding introduced a reduction in labour as a single or pair of operators could both feed and then fold the returned pressed linen on the same side rather than standard through feed ironers which required operators on both ends. Not only was this new design welcomed by garment care professionals in the retail side but hotels, care homes and institutions benefited.

“On the larger industrial side, trends for very large diameter, up to two metres, single roll designs were introduced to the market. These took advantage of vertical space and eliminated the need for tape feeding of linen between rollers. Modular construction methodology allowed laundries to purchase single roll ironers to begin with and add additional rolls as demand increased.”

He explains: “Stahl has been at the forefront of these design changes.” Now in its third generation of family owners, Stahl has been manufacturing industrial laundry equipment for over 110 years to become one of Germany’s largest providers. Aiman said: “Rather than compromise on the finish quality by heating the roller instead of the bed, Stahl makes all of its ironers with 180-degree heated beds with a choice for steam, gas or electric heating.

“Taking the engineering to another level, Stahl ironers do not use belts or chains to drive the rollers and have opted for the much more reliable Gearbox Direct Drive methodology. Topping this off with Spring or Lamina padding, Stahl are considered the leading brand for high quality finishing of flatwork,” he concludes.


The new Kalor G 1200 from Jensen offers highest evaporation capacity with lowest gas consumption, says the company’s head of communications Gerda Jank.

“Being the first company in the world to introduce the steam-free laundry concept, Jensen has a long experience from nearly 1,000 self-contained thermal heated ironers supplied.

“The new Kalor G 1200 ironer is the best in its class, reaching the highest evaporation capacity with the lowest gas consumption.” Kalor G 1200 incorporates a new further enhanced triple pass boiler that has been designed with the optimum length and diameter in order to reach the full utilisation of the supplied energy. “As a result,” said Jank, “the flue gas temperature has been reduced, and the heat of the flame and gases inside the boiler is conducted efficiently into the oil, reaching the highest possible capacity before exiting the heat exchanger.”

Jensen has been using modulating burners for years, said Jank. By introducing PID regulation, the modulating burner is adjusted precisely on the fly according to the chest temperature, ensuring that the temperature stays within +/- 2°C compared to the setpoint temperature.

“As an added bonus of the precise control, the lifetime of the burner is prolonged because fewer starts and stops are required. Thanks to the optional PID (proportional-integral-derivative controller) regulation of the burner keeping the temperature stable around the setpoint, the capacity and speed has been increased to reach new heights, while at the same time the gas consumption has been reduced by 10 per cent.” Jank continues: “Thanks to a new technology, it has been made possible to increase the size of the flow channels providing more oil volume and a higher oil speed and velocity inside the chest. The increased oil volume and flow provide a higher capacity while the flexible chest made of carbon steel material ensures the optimum heat conduction from the oil into the linen through the chest.

“The Kalor G 1200 ironer is available with a new large diameter directly heated gap piece as an option. The increased surface of the gap piece combined with the higher temperature increases the evaporation capacity and the ironing quality of the linen. The large diameter gap piece is recommended for laundries requiring the highest possible speed and capacity for large piece linen of heavy material such as duvet covers.”

The new Kalor G 1200 ironer reaches the highest evaporation capacity with the lowest gas consumption

Carefully does it! One of Industrial Laundry Equipment’s ironers arrives for installation


At Industrial Laundry Equipment (ILE) Ltd they have listened to the needs of the customer and worked with their designers so they are able to offer one of the widest varieties of ironing equipment options on the market.

Says company owner Richard Brown: “All equipped with high-tech touchscreens and powerful efficient burners, they are simple to operate and offer great reliability.” ILE ironers are available in 3m, 3.3m and 3.5m widths with the following types available:
• 800mm and 1300mm diameter one/two/three roll, thick chest ironers with speeds up to 55m per minute.
• 800mm and 1000mm diameter one/two/three/four/ five/six roll, belt ironers with internal thermal oil to boost efficiency and give speeds up to 65m per minute. • Combination ironers which allow you to add up to two of the belt ironers to a complete calender line to precondition and speed up processing to crazy speeds.
• 800mm diameter, one/ two/three/four/five/six roll, belt ironers (without oil).
• 800mm/ 1000mm diameter single roll return feed ironers with thermal oil.

“This range ensures that whatever the laundry size or budget, you will be able to invest in your future growth without sacrificing speed and quality,” said Brown. “It is even possible to buy a return feed ironer and have it modified to become a pass through machine in the future to allow you to add extra rolls and feeders/folders.”

He adds: “The big boys want two and three roll high speed, high quality ironers capable of speeds of 50+m per minute and we have 1300mm and 800mm diameter calender ironers that fill these requirements but we thought it was just as important to be able to give the smaller, growing, ambitious laundries, viable and affordable options too.” ILE’s ironers are all able to be supplied with a range of top quality feeders and folders or can easily be connected to most equipment on the market, if you already have a feeder and folder.

The ILE ironers are built to high standards and full of known brand top quality components that are readily available in the UK such as Mitsubishi, Siemens, Fujitsu, Bonfigioli motor gearboxes, Riello burners etc, said Brown.


HJ Weir, the flatworkhandling specialists, work with the Belgian manufacturers Laco Machinery to provide a comprehensive flatwork range.

“The Laco ironer range is the most complete range in the market,” says Ross Weir, managing director of HJ Weir. “If you are a small unit shop or a large industrial laundry there is a machine for you. HJ Weir offer the full range from roll diameters of 370mm right up to 1200mm. The larger diameters are offered as one, two or even three roll systems,” said Weir. “Laco have the pedigree developed over decades of cont inuous improvement.

Ergonomically they are one of the smallest footprint ironers that exist and this is a major benefit to the smaller business where space is always an issue,” he said. The smaller range of ironers start with the return feed M370-M500 range but these ironer sizes are also available in pass through with the D370-D500 available in gas, steam, or electrically heated options.

The return feed systems can be supplied with feeding and folding options built in, with up to three primary and three cross folds if desired. “The 500mm–1200mm diameter gas and electric options are offered with the Air-StreamTM high capacity ventilated chest. This revolutionary design increases capacity by up to 25 per cent allowing the ironer clothing to lose its moisture faster. The multi roll gas ironers have one gas burner per roll allowing for fine tuning of temperature control.

The Laco two roll 800 with folder and stacker available from HJ Weir

Want to read more?

There are lots of ways to view articles from Laundry & Cleaning Today

Prefer to subscribe and receive a printed copy of Laundry & Cleaning Today? Click here

If you have a story to share or a general enquiry, call 0118 901 4471 or email