Lean, mean and clean

The best of our large commercial washing machines have got leaner and meaner in recent years – at least when it comes to their water, chemical and energy usage, cycle time and even the space required.

Being big doesn’t have to mean much bigger bills, indeed there’s plenty of evidence to show how the industry’s biggest commercial beasts can cut costs while providing superb results. Jean Anderson looks at the large washers on the market right now and finds there is plenty of choice and expertise for operators to call upon.


The Kannegiesser PowerTrans Vario continues to be the market leading CBW (continuous batch washer), says the company’s Ellie Stowe. “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 the material ‘ActiveDrop’.

The large drum diameter gives items a high drop rate, which means that the textiles are compressed and the wash liquor can penetrate directly into the fibres. The large perforated area with gentle Carewash perforations ensures a fast liquor exchange.

“The above results in high mechanical action, which is gentle to the textiles, without friction on the textile surface and causes less tangling of the linen’” said Stowe.

The rinse section of the PowerTrans Vario is now a standing bath rinse as standard, which gives a better fresh water rinse and as a unique design feature, the PowerTrans Vario can operate without any empty compartments especially when processing colour run linen. The standing bath rinse combined with a 100 per cent guaranteed bath integrity, means that as there is no counterflow, so every batch can be processed separately as there is no liquor mixing between neighbouring compartments. Ratio metric dosing means the exact amount of rinse water is used for each individual batch.

The large diameter ‘butterfly’ drain valve, connected vertically direct to the drain, allows quick drainage, enhanced by the quick exchange of water. Fresh water filling occurs from the top of the compartment as opposed to the bottom. Stowe said: “One of the main features that really excites our customers is the unmatched cycle time, including transfer.

The unique ‘quick drain’ and improved Powertrans to PowerPress communications means that the ‘load to load’ cycle time allows for a greater degree of active process whilst ensuring the maximum possible high pressure process on the PowerPress. “We have introduced a new, highly effective filter system to remove lint and hair from garments – a reoccurring discussion with our hotel processing customers. The new filtration system has a 200 μm stainless steel sieve. Also featured is a new contactless water flow meter for greater control of the water flow within the Powertrans. “Since its introduction to the market in 2000, the PowerTrans has been a great success, with more than 1,800 machines now installed worldwide. Customers appreciate the simple yet effective design together with the unmatched proven wash quality.” The PowerTrans is available in differing batch sizes (kg): 40, 50, 60, 85, 110 and 130.

The large washer-extractor, PowerSwing PSW is available in two sizes, 180kg or 300kg. These can be loaded from a monorail system or a loading conveyor. The machine rotates into the vertical position to enhance loading which reduces any out of balance issues. The drum rotates at a low G factor during the loading phase, reducing the total loading time and hence the washing cycle can start quicker.

Kannegiesser’s Active Process Control continually weighs the linen and water within the process to allow precise operating conditions based on the actual weight of laundry

Sonja Wood at Ecosan Services with a tilting 120kg ILE Premium washer


Industrial Laundry Equipment Ltd (ILE) loves a large washer and it is where they specialise. With 15-20 machines over 60kg in UK stock at any time, you know that ILE have what you need. Managing director Richard Brown said: “Over the last two years, ILE have worked closely with the factories to ensure that we not only have the ability to offer a choice of high-quality premium machines and good quality economy alternates but that the customer can be assured of the very best in terms of efficiency too.”

ILE premium washers over 25kg all come with 7” colour touchscreens as standard and have features designed to provide the customer with extra efficiency and flexibility without the need to specify or choose additions on day one.

The PLC (programmable logic controller) allows you to mix water to the desired temperature, to fill from hot or cold as standard, to have or remove a thermal level protection and more importantly to choose the level of water in the drum by the centimetre. You don’t have to select from predetermined levels and can choose to increase/ decrease water levels to anything you wish. 10cm, 11cm 12cm, 40cm etc… Said Brown: “ILE washers also allow the same level of programmability with the wash action, spin speeds and chemical dosing times/volumes. You can have wash programmes with one element or dozens, so if you only want a rinse and spin or you want four pre-washes and six main washes, the choice is yours, although this one wouldn’t be efficient!”

The high quality stainless steel drums and perforated ribs help care for linen and also rinse more efficiently, he said. “All of the large premium washers (40kg, 60kg, 80kg, 100kg and 120kg) come configured to work as a hot water fed machine, steam heated or electrically heated. You choose how we install it and can change to the other options any time your requirements or plans change. This means that you can buy and install as part of a big plant using a steam boiler but if you replace the boiler, you do not have to replace your washers. “Unlike other machines, we make sure that even our 100kg or 120kg washers come with 60kW of heating elements built in. Whilst this will not allow you to heat efficiently from cold, it means you can feed them directly with hot water and use the built-in elements to raise and hold temperatures to ensure a stable wash or thermal disinfection.

“All of the large premium machines also come with double drains as standard. This means you can recover water if you wish. If you don’t want to then you can drain quicker or only connect one drain but again the choice is yours.”

Brown tells us: “The premium range is a beautiful, efficient and flexible machine of the highest quality. But it should be noted that the ILE economy washers, while not as polished, still come with the flexibility and efficiency as we have designed them with a 10” colour touchscreen and all of the same programming flexibility as the premium range. They do not come with a double drain but they are a nice efficient and cost-effective option.

“The flexibility of ILE washers can be showcased by the fact that whilst lots of traditional laundries and hospitals have already successfully installed and are using both premium and economy machines, ILE have others in different environments,” says Brown, quoting the examples below:

  • Shibori, a clothing dying company in Leicester, which has three x 100kg washers with a mix of premium and economy. The company loves the flexibility that these machines give as precision is key when ensuring that clothes are dyed to uniform standards for top name high-street retailers.
  • “Ecosan Services, a Kent based mat washing company which is getting a fantastic result from our 120kg premium tilting washer. Sonja Wood says: “The wash quality is superb and the levels of programmability have meant all of our needs can be met perfectly.”
  • At The Print Cloth People in Glasgow a 100kg premium washer is being used for washing printers’ cloths. The customer loves the flexibility and has found the equipment more durable than his previous famous brand machines which had to be removed due to constant failures based on the harshness of the solvents used. The ILE washer is giving extra capacity, flexibility, efficiency and reliability

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