Giving it large

We’ve often heard that ‘big is best’. Of course, how that is interpreted depends on your standpoint, but one thing is certain, large commercial washing machines are still around and there’s a reason for that; they’ve become much better in recent times – certainly so when it comes to their water, chemical and energy usage and cycle time.

Quite simply, just because a machine is big it doesn’t necessarily follow that operators of large machines will see large bills. The evidence seems to make the case that large machines – 60kg loads and upwards – use size to bring economies of scale while providing superb results. Adam Bernstein looks at the latest large washer models from the main suppliers to see what’s on offer to the sector.

MAG Laundry Equipment

MAG Laundry Equipment’s journey into the commercial laundry industry began back in 1986 as a local service and maintenance operation which led to MAG being later established in 2004.

Mark Dennis, managing director, says that over the years, the company “has been at the forefront of providing technologically advanced washing machines to the market, decreasing energy costs and improving washing results for many businesses across the hospitality and commercial laundry sectors.” He thinks that the use of modern technology ensures “that commercial laundry rooms and those found in hotels do not need to sacrifice running costs to achieve a high throughput of washing, which is a requirement for these types of businesses.”

With regards to MAG Laundry Equipment’s product offerings, he points to the Primer industrial washing machines that, he says, “come highly recommended and are a popular choice with commercial laundries, hotels and food factories that need a reliable system to achieve results quickly.” He says that MAG is an exclusive UK distributor of Primer’s products – units that have been “designed and constructed by one of the world’s leading manufacturers since 1922”. Primer, according to MAG’s website is renowned for creating robust energy-efficient heavy-duty washing machines. He says that the machines are popular because they feature a wide door and optional tilt facility, “making it easy to wash a variety of large, bulky items such as table linen, workwear and towels.”

There are three machines in the range – LS-45T (with a 400l capacity), LS-62T (which has a 600l capacity) and LS-125T (which offers a 1200l capacity). MAG, says Dennis, puts great store on the software intelligence that is used for programming cycles and detecting errors. He says that MAG’s machines are fully programmable and are adaptable to the setting in which they are installed. Each commercial high-spin washer comes, he says, with 26 pre-set programmes which have the flexibility to export and import programmes and sof tware updates via a USB drive. He adds: “The ability to adapt wash cycles is a crucial advantage for commercial laundries and hotels, as cycles can be customised depending on the job at hand… In addition to this, our wash control software can improve energy efficiency by 50 per cent, saving money on energy costs without compromising on quality.”

Of course, normal operation is one thing, but the test comes when failures creep in. Here, Dennis says that when it comes to detecting errors, “MAG’s intelligent machines can alert staff before a breakdown occurs, to avoid unnecessary downtime for a business that relies on its ability to turnaround washing requirements quickly.” He says that if a fault is detected, the machine will log this as an error code within the display panel. On top of this, Dennis says that MAG has a nationwide team of service engineers, “who are available 24/7 to get laundry rooms back up and running if a breakdown does occur.” This is backed, claims Dennis, by the use of common spare parts, “that can be purchased and held as stock should a part need replacing.” He illustrates this by talking about items such as drain valves, hoses and boards that can be ordered in advance, “so small repairs can be made with ease to ensure the smooth and effective running of laundry equipment when the throughput of washing is at its highest.”

Dennis reckons that the sheer number of installations of MAG Laundry Equipment machines across the hospitality and commercial laundry sectors is “testament to their effectiveness… Hundreds of machines were installed within hospitality settings and commercial laundry rooms last year, proving that they are a popular choice for customers looking for reliability and performance.” He feels that at a time when businesses are preparing to re-open, it’s important to consider ongoing laundry requirements and to prepare for the future. In summary, Dennis believes that MAG Laundry Equipment will ensure that businesses with a commercial laundry requirement “will have access to machines programmed with the latest technology, and are supported through a dedicated after-sales service, to keep laundry rooms operational while helping to protect

MAG’s 67kg and 133kg washing machines after installation in a busy laundry in London.

HJ Weir offers Milnor washers with spacious cylinders to provide more room for lift and drop action

HJ Weir

According to its website HJ Weir Engineering Co Ltd is “one of the world’s largest manufacturers of flatwork finishing equipment.” It adds that it is known as the ‘originators of flatwork handling technology’ and that it has been “providing separating, feeding, ironing, folding and stacking solutions globally for over 55 years… our many years of experience coupled with innovative design and one of the most advanced yet simple control system makes us an unrivalled leader for the industrial and commercial laundry sector.”

HJ Weir is the UK and Ireland dealer for Milnor’s product range. According to Ross Weir, managing director, Milnor has been producing washers for over 70 years “and has earned the reputation of supplying some of the most robust and efficient products on the market today.”

In terms of large washer-extractors HJ Weir is promoting “the very popular MWF range” that can be supplied in sizes from 27kg – 125kg. All MWF models come with the latest MilTouch Control which utilises resistive touchscreen technology and full VGA resolution; Weir says that the screen has a clear and informative display which shows current machine status information including total formula time and time elapsed; “and with complete programming flexibility, formulas can be developed on a computer, saved to USB external memory, and uploaded with a touch of the screen… with intuitive fault diagnosis and relevant troubleshooting suggestions, the MilTouch control streamlines employee training and eliminates operator guesswork.”

A new feature for 2020 is a weighing option – a weigh cell with electronic flow meter. This option, says Weir, “ensures that the machine processes goods efficiently with every single wash.” He says the weigh cell works by capturing the weight of the goods loaded in the machine. Once loaded, the algorithm in the controller calculates the correct proportion of water to goods based on weight. The electronic flowmeter then ensures that the right amount of water is delivered to the machine based on the weight of the load. Likewise, Weir says that wash chemistry is adjusted to correspond to the weight of the load in the machine – “this means loads that are smaller than the machine’s maximum capacity are washed in the correct amount of water and wash chemistry.”

A standard feature on the Milnor range is what the company calls RinSave which allows for the basket to reach a precise G-force that ‘slings’ the wash liquor (including water, chemistry, and soil) out of the load after a wash step. “This,” asserts Weir, “will save up to two rinses per load and fill/rinse time.” Another development that Milnor totes is bigger cylinder perforations that, Weir says, “provide better wash quality by promoting excellent interchange of the goods with water and chemistry, better rinsing by allowing rinse water to freely interact with the goods, and better extraction by allowing water to escape from goods easily and quickly.” He adds that a tall rib construction and precise cylinder speeds combine to “provide excellent MAF – Mechanical Action Factor.” On top of this, Weir says that spacious wash cylinders provide more room for lift and drop action and for goods to open and absorb wash and rinse water “ensuring goods get clean the first time, reducing time-consuming and costly rewashes.”

Milnor also has built in what it says is a “dynamically tuned suspension feature” which Weir describes as “a cutting-edge design that employs a unique, two-point suspension system.” In describing it, he says that its centre of mass is located where an imbalance would occur. A smooth coil suspension system, constructed of engineered fabric and rubber layered coils, provide low natural frequencies and vibration is isolated, “delivering smooth operation and performance.” According to Weir, “dynamic forces are evenly applied for minimum vibration, which provides smooth extraction, less wear and tear, and longer machine life.” Allied to this, tapered roller bearings have a large contact area which spread forces; the front and rear bearings are fixed in the same housing, preventing damaging misalignment, and a pressed-on basket means it does not need to be replaced when a bearing change becomes necessary.

Weir concludes by saying that “every Milnor design model is tested for a minimum of 1,000 consecutive hours in a high-extract, out-of-balance state – ensuring your machine is tough and will stand up to years of use.”

As an aside, for backup to its customers, HJ Weir says that it carries an inventory of over 15,000 spare parts at its manufacturing facility in Chepstow in South Wales. Says Weir: “By using genuine spare parts, we are able to maintain excellent operational capability of equipment after repair or maintenance and help reduce our customer’s maintenance costs.” He adds that 80 per cent of the held spares are available to be supplied on 24-hour express delivery with established couriers.

Kannegiesser UK

Selwyn Burchhardt, for Kannegiesser UK, claims that the Kannegiesser PowerTrans Vario “continues to be the market leading CBW.”

He points out that one of the many advantages of the PowerTrans Vario “has been its excellent wash action. This is due to the large drum volume and the design of the beaters which gives material what is called ‘ActiveDrop’.” He explains that because the unit has a large drum diameter, textiles see a high drop which compresses them as the wash liquor penetrates into the fibres.

Burchhardt moves on to detail a large perforated area within the drum that has “gentle Carewash perforations that ensure a fast liquor exchange.” All in all, he reckons that these features result in high mechanical action which is gentle on textiles and without friction which causes less tangling. As for the rinse section of the PowerTrans Vario, Burchhardt notes that it now has a standing bath rinse as standard to give it a “better freshwater rinse.” On top of that, he says that the PowerTrans Vario can operate without any empty compartments.

“The standing bath rinse, combined with a 100 per cent guaranteed bath integrity,” says Burchhardt, “is to our knowledge, only fully operational on the PowerTrans Vario. This means that as there is no counterflow and every batch can be processed separately as there is no liquor mixing between neighbouring compartments.” He adds that with ratio metric dosing the exact amount of rinse water is used for each individual batch.

The unit features a large diameter butterfly drain valve that is connected vertically direct to the drain. This, says Burchhardt, has “been proven” to allow a very quick drainage on the PowerTrans. He says that this has been enhanced by quick exchange of water in general as filling occurs from the top of the compartment rather than the bottom.

Burchhardt talks of a new filter system that has been designed to be “highly effective” in lint removal as well as hair removal. He notes that hair removal, in particular, is becoming an important discussion point with hotel processing customers who seem pleased that there’s a new filtration system with a 200 μm stainless steel sieve. The PowerTrans, since its introduction into the market in 2000, has been a great success with more than 1,700 machines now installed worldwide. Customers appreciate the simple yet effective design together with the proven wash quality. Units are available in various batch sizes from 40kg, 50kg, 60kg, 85kg, 110kg to 130kg. And from Burchhardt’s perspective, “with more than 110 PowerTrans already installed in the UK and Eire the benefits of the machine can be said to be proven; orders have already been received for the new Vario to be installed in the UK over the next few months.”

Turning to another unit from Kannegiesser, the large washer-extractor PowerSwing PSW, Burchhardt says that it’s available in two sizes – 180kg or 300kg. The unit can be loaded from a monorail system or a loading conveyor. It rotates into the vertical position to enhance loading which, he says, “reduces any out of balance issues. And with the drum rotating at a low ‘g factor’ during the loading phase, the total loading time is reduced, and the washing cycle can start quicker. Burchhardt says that many of Kannegiesser’s customers use these machines with the Active Process Control which, he says, continually weighs the linen and water within the process. “This,” he says, “together with the JET rinsing principle, the process allows precise operating conditions based on the actual weight of laundry processed.”

Lastly, Burchhardt points out Optimum Processing Extraction which “allows different garments to be extracted to a certain moisture retention in order to enhance the efficiency of the tunnel finisher.” This process works because light garments have higher moisture retention while heavier garments retain less; this allows the tunnel finisher to run at a constantly higher capacity without the need to adjust the speed or temperature of the tunnel finisher. As an automated process, batch weight is continually measured during the extraction cycle.

Kannegiesser’s PowerSwing PSW rotates into the vertical position to enhance loading which reduces any out of balance issues

Jensen barrier washerextractors feature an automatic weighing system to optimise the loading of linen while adjusting the water and liquid detergents consumption accordingly.

The JWE 270/600 is the newest addition to the Jensen’s washer-extractor range.

Jensen

Gerda Jank, head of communications for Jensen Group, says that Jensen’s washer-extractors are perfect and will help increase a laundry’s flexibility.

Available in load sizes between 60 and 270kg, she says that “these standalone machines offer maximum performance at minimum footprint. Their compact dimensions allow an efficient production event in tight spaces.”

But no matter the area that they fit into, Jank believes that “process management is key for excellent washing results.” In particular, she says that Jensen washer-extractors can wash a wide variety of linen types because of complete customisation of parameters like cycle times, water levels, temperatures, and extraction speeds. Going further, she adds that “robust design and intelligent balancing software keep machine wear low, ensuring longevity and operational efficiency.”

Turning to the machines themselves, and starting with the JWE 60/130 and JWE 110/250, Jank says that these two are based on a very simple construction. They are freest andi ng, high-spin machines which are high-performers and can spin up to 360G. In detail, Jank says that minimum drum spacing allows a fast heating and claims to reduce the water consumption down to below 10 l/kg on an average wash cycle. She adds that both machines are available with a steam-heated system and high-capacity inlets to speed up the water inlet. Any residual water is quickly discharged through a wide drain valve, “ensuring,” as Jank puts it, “a smooth production process.” On top of that, she points to a “well-thought-out design and the use of advanced materials to ensure longevity and a cost-efficient operation… the sealed bearings do not require any maintenance and can be easily replaced, and the gaskets are spared during the operation as their shafts are ceramic coated reducing the risk of abrasion.” Also, simplified wiring and low tolerances of the shafts “ensure trouble-free operation without any maintenance for the longest of periods.”

And to make things easier for operators, there’s a wide-swing large loading door and a conical drum face to facilitate the loading and unloading of washing. Other ergonomic features that, reckons Jank, should “reduce the strains on operators to a minimum” is a front-loading detergent hopper and for the JWE 110/250, an optional 10° tilting device with an independent tilting control. There’s also, for safety, an automatic latch and an accelerometer-based spin control unit and smart indicator light that can be observed from large distances so that operators get an instant overview of the machine status.

Jensen also offers laundries JBW bar rier washers with capacities from 63 up to 230kg. Of these, Jank says that these types of machines prevent the spreading of germs and bacteria as they avoid any contamination of the linen – “because they are installed into a wall, linen can be loaded on the soil side and unloaded on the clean side.” She notes that Jensen’s pass-through washers “are a very economical solution for laundries as their automatic weighing system optimise the loading of linen and adjust the water and liquid detergents consumption accordingly – “equipped with our unique Hygiene Monitoring Software System – HMSS – the JBW’s offer the highest quality of washing with maximum disinfection.”

Lastly, Jank talks about a new washer-extractor recently launched by the company, the JWE 270/600. “It’s an open-pocket, front-loading, washer-extractor with a loading capacity of 270kg; its two-way 12 per cent tilt and loading hopper allows for fully automatic loading from an overhead sling system as well as fully automatic unloading—and for less automated laundries it improves manual loading and unloading ergonomics.”

In addition to being the largest washer-extractor offered by Jensen, she ends by saying that it can be integrated into a fully automated washroom.

Electrolux Professional

Mick Christian , regional training and demonstration manager for laundry, at Electrolux Professional, takes the view that “the laundry industry is still very much reliant on human involvement for the loading and unloading of machines and the long-term impact of this manual work on operators is a major industry challenge.” While it’s true that the bigger the machine, the heavier the load and the greater the risk to operators, the ergonomic impact of a washing machine is not as transparent as utility consumption, cycle time or other financially quantifiable metrics.

According to Christian, “musculoskeletal disorders are the biggest cause of injury in the laundry and drycleaning industry. As such, when it came to the design and development of Electrolux Professional’s latest commercial washing machine, the Line 6000, we took the decision to go down the road less travelled to ensure that the machine’s positive impact on the operator would match its impact on bottom line.”

He says that the Line 6000 range of commercial washers “is now the only machine in its category that has been awarded the prestigious four-star rating for ergonomics by Ergocert.” Part of the reason for this, he claims, is down to the innovations that minimise tension and strain which include a new mounting position for the dosing dispenser – which can be manually or automatically configured – “to improve access and visibility”, as well as an easy-to-open door and optimised drum height. “All of these factors,” he says, “combine to deliver an evidence-based and third party-ratified reduction in the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.”

Ergocert, by the way, says that it is “the first certifying body in Europe created with the specific purpose of certifying the ergonomic features of workplaces, workstations and daily-use products.”

Further, the Line 6000 range features a host of intelligent monitoring and utility-saving programmes, all of which Christian says combine “to deliver long-term cost savings and outstanding productivity over the operational life of the unit.” Of course, ergonomics is one thing, but Christian says that an estimated 85 per cent of a commercial washer’s life cycle cost comprise of utility and running costs. It’s for this reason that he says that “the Line 6000 has been designed to keep these to a minimum, while maximising sustainability.” An automatic savings programme adjusts the volume of water used in line with the weight of the load, while integrated savings helps to avoid over- and underloading to maximise productivity. There’s also a built-in power balance extraction sequence that translates into real-time unbalance monitor ing and G-factor adjustment throughout the extraction sequence for efficient dewatering and low moisture retention.

The bonus, Christian adds is that “real-time wash cycle information can be quickly accessed at the touch of a button, while Clarus Vibe also allows for easy automatic dosing (via the intelligent dosing programme) by only releasing the correct amount of detergent based on the garment type and volume.”

The Line 6000 washers can be remotely accessed via the Electrolux OnE digital platform to give operators more insight into running costs. Its data can be used in a variety of different ways, from optimising the overall laundry process to improved return on investment to flagging, and therefore reducing, inefficient cycle patterns and utility overuse. Quite simply, Christian thinks that for sites with multiple washers, or businesses with multiple sites, the OnE platform is “fully scalable so operators can have an overarching view over their entire laundry operation.”

Ultimately, it’s Christian’s view that bigger machines can offer significant opportunity for laundry operators to make savings at scale. However, ergonomics is just as important. The Line 6000 series is available in six different drum volumes, ranging from 65l up to 300l, with a dry weight capacity of 7-33kg depending on the model. For laundries with a limited footprint, the WH6-6 washer can be stacked in series with the TD6-7 Line 6000 dryer to allow operators to wash and dry 60kg per day from just a 0.4m2 footprint. Fundamentally, Electrolux thinks that “the Line 6000 commercial washers are designed for the lowest possible water, energy and detergent consumption. Most of all, they are designed to offer the best user experience.”

Electrolux says that the Line 6000 range of commercial washers is the only machine in its category that has been awarded the prestigious four-star rating for ergonomics by Ergocert.

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