Cost effectiveness, energy/water efficiency, affluent reduction and extended linen life are some of the advantages of low temperature system which the On Premise Laundry (OPL) segment is largely looking at.
Healthcare organisations, hotels and large flight kitchens launder their linen in-house and form the OPL segment. The washers in this segment range in size from 10-200kg capacity. They choose to process their own laundry for the following reasons:
- It is more cost effective to wash linen on premise
- It gives the user complete control over the wash quality of linen which helps in controlling cost on account of linen discards in the long run
- It helps the user to set and maintain linen standards
The five basic variables that affect cleaning performance in any laundry operation are:
- Agitation or Mechanical Action
- Heat or Temperature
The proper balance of all the above brings about maximum cleaning economy and efficiency. To maintain work quality when one variable is changed, we have to compensate by changing the other. All OPLs typically try to maintain this proper balance. The laundry wash formulas which are a series of operations or steps designed to loosen, suspend or remove soil from linen are also critical in ensuring that we achieve the desired economy and efficiency. Most of the OPLs today use the standard high temperature wash process which involves high temperature, high alkalinity and high detergency action. This in turn leads to higher water, energy and power cost.
Once the soil is removed from the surface or linen, bleaching action is required to mask or decolorise the remaining stain.
Bleaching operation predominantly has both chlorine and oxygen as bleaching agents. However, excessive temperature can be detrimental in some parts of the wash cycle. Bleaching in high temperature can cause fabric damage or can result to setting of stains in initial stage. High temperature systems also mean higher consumption of energy which is required to achieve the desired performance.
Many OPLs today have machines which, because of technical or mechanical problems, are unable to provide the required high temperatures. In such cases, most users end up compromising on wash performance. There are also concerns of water hardness in many parts of the country which can be an issue. In high temperature system, the scaling deposit on the fabric and machines leads to reduction in machine and fabric life. Thus:
- High energy leads to high fuel consumption which increases the cost.
- High temperatures lead to high linen deterioration which again results to higher cost.
- High temperature systems will have wash formulas designed of high alkaline, that provide the potent cleaning force which helps to mask stains. However, when the same is discharged to sewage, would increase the COD and BOD levels, resulting in an increase in sewage treatment cost.
To offset all the above critical points, OPLs are now moving to a new concept of low temperature and low alkalinity wash process. The distinctive advantages of the low temperature system are:
- Energy savings up to 30% due to lower temperature
- Water savings up to 28%
- Productivity savings up to 30% due to shorter wash processes
- Affluent reductions up to 30% due to reduced water consumption
- Extended linen life up to 30% due to lower temperature wash processes
A low temperature wash process provides the user with the above mentioned possible savings because of a combination of:
- Good wetting agent
- Low temperature bleaches
This low temperature system, which uses a milder bleaching system and lower temperature, will be the future of OPL. As resources like water, energy and power are scarce and expensive, it will become the need of the hour for all OPLs to move to a process which will consume less of these resources. Many local municipal corporations today have already regulated supply of water to OPLs and to fulfil balance needs, many of them get water supply from wells, tube wells and tankers.
As water is the largest consumable in laundry and the single most important factor that could affect the quality of wash performance, it becomes important for all OPLs to adopt the system. This not only saves water but the low temperature bleach also provides a superior performance. The low temperature system saves on overall operating costs and also helps preserve the environment and achieve the mission and goal in reduction of Global Warming.Abhay Desai Director-Marketing, South Asia, Diversey India