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What are the points to be assessed when selecting industrial washer – extractor to wash 3000kg of white linen every day?

Utility costs and labour accounting for 70% of the overall cost of running a laundry, it is imperative to invest in washer-extractors that help minimise load washing and drying time. It is just as important to find the right vendor with whom to partner.

It is essential to consider total lifecycle cost — what will the total cost be to operate and maintain a piece of equipment over its lifespan. It is better to pay more upfront for a machine that will produce a strong return on investment and last a long time than to purchase an inexpensive machine without the bells and whistles that may have to be replaced in just a few years or more importantly will remain out of commission due to frequent maintenance requirements. Price is very different from total cost of operation.

Advancements in controls technology and equipment design, washer-extractors (washers) are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and flexible. This is good news for hoteliers looking to save money in a recovering economy. In the race to gain new business, vendors are manufacturing higher G-force machines that spin off more water faster, allowing linens to dry in less time.

While innovation has allowed vendors to squeeze just about as much water as they can out of the washing process, other advances, especially in software programming, are reducing demand for chemicals. Thanks to these efficiencies and others, payback time on today’s washers can be very reasonable; experts say, as short as one year to 18 months depending on the model size.

Earlier, hotel owners used to purchase hard-mount machines that require anchoring to a concrete floor six to eight inches thick. These run up to 100 G-force in strength. Today the trend has changed and more soft-mount machines that are capable of a much higher G-force are being opted for. These do not require anchoring in concrete and include built-in shock absorbers.

The change in trend is because of higher savings from higher acceleration in G-force and soft-mount machines. There is a lot less moisture left in the items that are washed and they dry faster. Clothes that dry faster require less energy in the process. They also last longer. Also, more loads can be managed in less time. This reduces the demand for labour and its associated costs. Soft-mount machines can reduce water weight by up to 50%.

Factors to Keep in Mind

What size and type of machine to buy depends on a number of factors, including number of rooms, types of items that will be washed (towels, robes, sheets, pillow cases, duvets, etc.), whether the property has a pool, restaurant or catering operation, linen thread count, the class of the property, and whether or not business is seasonal.

It is best to seek professional assistance early in the laundry design development process. Also seek the advice of other owners and operators and visit them with the maintenance personnel who run the types of machines you are looking to purchase. Ask for a list of commonly purchased parts and their cost from vendors. Ask how long the manufacturer has been in business and what the cost will be to get a service technician to your property.

Purchasing industrial grade washers with controls that give operational flexibility is critically important. It is a good idea to have larger capacity machines for the bulk of the work (sheets, towels and pillow cases) and a smaller capacity washer for specialty items (duvets, bed skirts, bed pads, housekeeping cleaning rags, shower curtains, food and beverage linens, uniforms, etc.)

Today’s washer-extractors are much more efficient than previous generations for many reasons. For one, motors are all inverter driven. This allows the machines to ramp up to speed instead of jumping to speed.

The G-force of the washer-extractor — the force of acceleration — is very important when considering a machine. At 300 G-force or higher, linens can go straight to a finisher — skipping the dryer.

Other internal features such as cylinder open area and perforated holes along rib tops can impact efficiency.

The more flexible the controls are the more effective the chemicals can be. The more flexible the machine is at saving water, the better.

Preventive maintenance is critical to the long-term effectiveness of a machine. Having the ability to automatically set start times for washer-extractors is also important and can be a real labour and cost saver. A load prepared by an afternoon or evening shift can be under way before a new shift starts in the morning.

With property owners placing more emphasis on the presentation of bedding and towels, the washer-extractor purchasing decision has become more important.

Image plays a huge part in today’s investment decisions and how properties try to differentiate themselves.

Akash Dharamsey
ADD Laundry Concepts



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