The existing hotels, super-speciality hospitals along with small laundries, commercial laundries, spas, governmental institutes or even hotel staff accommodation, have a recurrent demand for effective laundry solutions. There is a lot of scope for improving laundry efficiency and reducing labour costs, which forms a major part of the laundry bill.
Over the years, a lot of research has been done in this area to better understand the importance of saving on water and electricity costs and resultantly incorporating variations or customising products to achieve better results.
Since labour costs are the highest for any laundry, hotel operators could resolve expensive labour issues and increase staff efficiency by staggering the work schedule amongst the existing staff. This is possible with washer-extractors that are equipped with control systems enabling a delayed start function, such as in the UniMac equipment.
This model can be loaded before the staff leaves for the day and programmed to start an hour before the first employee arrives the next day. From there, the morning shift can transfer clean loads to the dryers. A second group of employees then could be scheduled to arrive just prior to the first drying cycle being completed.
Improving wash cycle efficiency
Hotels can also examine to see just how energy efficient the washing side is. Two major features that need to be looked at with the washer-extractor are high-speed extraction and selectable water levels.
The high-speed extraction is the first step in conserving utilities on the drying side. The higher the G-force, the more water that is removed and the less drying time required. How big is the difference between a washer with a 200 G-force extraction cycle and one with a 300 G-force cycle?
A 60-pound load of terry cloth towels will retain roughly 67% moisture at 200 G-force, while residual moisture would drop to 57% at 300 G-force. Again, when multiplied by the number of loads a laundry is processing each day, the savings in both time and utilities are much higher. Likewise, programmable water levels beyond the normal three options can produce additional savings. Multiple water levels and further advanced cycle programmability are virtual necessities to reducing operating costs, while still producing top-level finished quality.
Some washer-extractors today have 30 or more fill level options. Such versatility enables operations to fine tune levels to the minimum needed to get good clean results. These seemingly small savings per cycle can add up to tens of thousands of litres of water saved annually.
Likewise, today’s high-feature control systems offer advanced programmability as well as virtually limitless data on operations. These operation reports ensure staff is the utilising prescribed wash cycles properly and can help uncover equipment issues that could result in wasted water, utilities, labour or unplanned down time. Controls help management keep an eye on the laundry and its efficiency, even when they cannot be there.
Improving drying efficiency
With 70% of a laundry’s utility consumption coming on the drying side, it’s imperative to utilise the most efficient dryers possible. And balance is the key.
Efficient drying is the result of a balance of heat, airflow and tumble action. There’s so much misinformation in the industry that paints BTUs as the lone measure of speed and efficiency. That’s just not true. Alliance Laundry Systems has focused on a balanced approach to drying and that’s helped the products set industry standards for speed and efficiency.
Drying tumblers that have programmable dry cycles are extremely helpful in guarding against wasteful over drying of linens. Tumblers equipped with an auto-dry feature are ideal. Auto dry cycles are programmed to achieve a set moisture level. When the load meets that moisture level, it begins the cool down cycle. Tumblers equipped auto-dry systems are much preferred. Users have been able to reduce drying times and eliminate wasteful over-drying of loads.
The latest cutting edge innovative “OPTi dry” or Over Dry Prevention Technology is an energy saving technology applied in drying tumblers. The sensors measure the moisture level accurately and stop the drying cycle to save energy. As per studies carried out by Unimac on a 75lbs tumbler dyer operating 10 cycles/day can save approximately $5600 on the energy and labour per year, while saving the linen from 31% fibre loss.
Sajal Nanda, Managing Director, Protek Trade, New Delhi.
Ghassan Majdalani, Director, International Sales-Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa, Alliance Laundry Systems.