Laundry equipment: Going flat out

There’s something very reassuring about having perfectly ironed linen and garments. Crease-free looks clean, professional and makes items look like new. Of course, managing this on a commercial scale means acquiring equipment that meets a specific need. And with flatwork being an integral part of operations for hospitals, restaurants, hotels and more, efficiency is critical. The choices are tough. Adam Bernstein weaves his way through the market to see what’s on offer.

Girbau has showcased a number of new innovations recently says Jo Emmerson, marketing manager for the company.

First on the list is the Girbau Compact+ range of integrated and “highly versatile 5-in-1 ironers that provide complete feeding, ironing, drying, folding and stacking all from one machine.” In her view, it’s “a perfect allround performer offering both high productivity and quality finish for large opl and smaller independent laundries.”

The Compact + is available in 800 or 600 models with 800 or 600mm diameter roller and a 3.3m ironing width. Heating options include electricity, gas or steam. A new gas burner with two ramps allows each of two lanes to be heated and temperature-controlled independently for greater efficiency and economy.

The larger Compact+ 800 machine can operate within just 20 square metres, “making it,” according to Emmerson, “a perfect solution where space is tight.” Mechanically speaking, standard Compact+ models can perform one or two primary folds on one or two equal lanes and one, two or three cross folds on one lane. Primary folds are performed using an air blowing system.

The cross fold is performed on a single cross lane. A multiline option can also perform one or two folds on one or two lanes (or even four lanes as a further option) plus one, two or three cross folds on a single lane, or one or two cross folds on two lanes. The latest addition to Girbau’s DRB feeder range is the new DRBS3 automated feeder with advanced new infeed rollers and robust spread grippers.

Emmerson says the new spread grippers offer a more ergonomic loading position and a higher gripping force – “linen is transferred to the grippers mechanically rather than by blowing and the infeed rollers increase grip by pressing against the main roller.” She adds that the DRBS3 allows automatic feeding of large items from one, two or three stations and manual feeding in one to four lanes, with vacuum feed assistance. Capable of processing up to 1,000 items per hour, the DRBS3 features spreading belts, a vacuum box and table for automatic feeding.

The last product Emmerson mentions is the FR+, “a new high quality, high capacity flatwork folder that can handle up to king size bed linen.” Available in three, 3.3 and 3.5m widths, the FR+ offers one, two or four automated lanes for primary folds, with the option for two or three primary folds on one, two or four lanes.

It can also be configured to provide three cross folds on a single lane or two cross folds on two lanes. She notes other features that include internal lighting, a pull-out table for large items, a fitted tray and counter for smaller items, and an anti-static bar that feeds in ionised air. The FR+ can also be optioned with a single, double or triple stacker.

Martin Carter of Foltex sees value in their range of products to complement any calender line and highlights this with a couple of case studies. Foltex design, manufacture and install the full range of feeders and folders that can easily cope with all small and large flatwork pieces.

Having more than 20 years’ experience with other laundry businesses Mohammed Irfan started Amora Linen Services in Birmingham in 2013 with the sole intention of offering “an affordable first-class linen service to both hotels and restaurants in the West Midlands area.”

Finding that the output from his four-roll ironer was being impeded by the older model flatwork folder attached, his investigations led him to install a new Foltex LP 300 folder with drop-stacker.

Says Irfan, “I chose the Foltex unit not only because the simplicity of it appealed to me but above all because it was affordable. It has proved to be 100 per cent reliable since installed here in June 2016 as the first UK flatwork folder installation for Foltex and has improved the efficiency of our ironer by at least 25 per cent.”

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