Stephen Pick of Service Machinery Limited (SML) knows that shirts have “proved to be an excellent opportunity for drycleaners to drive additional turnover.” Of course, to take advantage of this means buying new equipment.
Pick explains that shirt machines are based on one of two technologies – ‘plate press’ or ‘blowing’ and each has its advantages: “Plate press machines have greater heat capacity therefore they can dry a shirt quicker; they press a shirt against a polished ironing surface which on some fabrics gives the glazed finish some customers are looking for.” But he warns that they need careful loading as a crease left when loading takes a lot of correcting later, and quite possibly a re-wash. Blowing machines, on the other hand, “cope better with smaller shirts and the shirt is available to the operator to adjust and form while finishing.” Of the machines he supplies, he talks first of VEIT, a German manufacturer.
The first he mentions is the Universal Finisher 8319, “an ideal machine for small and medium-sized laundries… spin-dry shirts, blouses, smocks or chef jackets are finished quickly without creases by a hot-air fan.” He adds that drycleaned garments, such as jackets and coats, can be finished on this machine.”
Next is the “high performance” shirt finisher SF26 which Pick says is utilised mainly in laundries and textile care plants with higher shirt volumes. It features a low construction height and a retractable front clamp, and it’s quoted as handling up to 45 shirts per hour of different sizes, materials and shapes and requires only one operator. The unit comes with a colour touchscreen display to access the SF26’s many programmes. In describing how it works, Pick says that “the operator can select pre-programmed settings or make adjustments to the steam and air times, select long or short sleeved and change tensioning settings as required, or select the fully automatic dry sensor which makes sure the shirt is dry before completing the cycle and, perhaps more importantly, will not over-dry.”
There is an optional 2157 hand finisher iron for the 8319 and SF26 which can be used for ‘touch-up’ during the finishing cycle. Another option is the VEIT 8900 shirt press which Pick says is designed for laundries and textile care plants handling high volumes. Of this he says that “moving transversely from above the press plate with fused heating system, it provides temperature distribution, saves energy and achieves a stretching effect downwards.” It can handle 60 shirts per hour. And then there’s the VEIT collar and cuff press 8905 with vertical closing and built-in suction that holds the shirt in place during loading. Says Pick: “One operator can process shirts on both the collar and cuff press and shirt machine at the same time. This overlap of functions is key to efficient processing.” Not everyone wants a VEIT product in which case, Pick suggests the Böwe SP-20 shirt press which, he says, is new for 2021. “Developed by Böwe, the SP-20 offers ‘press and blow’ hybrid finishing. It uses a hot plate to the front and shoulder area, with high pressure hot air forming of the sleeves and back.” He says that the hybrid approach provides “quality finishing at a more affordable price.”
Overall, Pick reckons that “Böwe’s innovations reduce steam consumption and heat and noise for an improved working environment.” Further, the SP-20 features a tall-slim body form that allows the finishing of shirts from XS to XXL. Also, the hot plates are Teflon coated for reduced shine on dark coloured shirts. A matching collar and cuff press is also available.
Ultimately, Pick says that SML has “experience of supporting customers during the decision-making process, selecting the right machine and technology for their needs and also after the sale when it is key that technical support, service and spare parts are easily available and affordable.”