Flat out on innovation

6 November 2020

Quality finish combined with lower running costs is everything when it comes to specifying ironers for large commercial laundries, as Kathy Bowry finds out

Times are tough all over, a fact that suppliers and operators can readily attest to, and especially in the hospitality sector, but some sectors are holding up. It seems there is a story to tell on ironers even in the midst of the global crisis kicked off by Covid-19. While hospitality laundries are having a bad time, healthcare and workwear businesses are holding their heads above water.

Mercé Bover of Girbau says: “It is true that uniform/PPE washing has increased, especially in hospital laundries, nursing homes, and so on. At Girbau we have ironing tunnels and machinery that is very suitable for covering these needs. In Zaragoza, we have renovated the entire laundry of the Hospital Clínico Universitario and have installed two complete ironing trains, PC120 models, a tunnel and a uniform folder and a plush folder.

“The PC120 models offer maximum productivity and efficiency as the design of the calender allows fluids to circulate easily, distributing heat evenly throughout the cylinder. There are no temperature variations on the ironing surface. In addition, the ironing finish is perfect because the pressure of the roller is uniform thanks to the flexibility of the spring and the compression capacity of the Springpress spring system. All this provides for energy consumption savings and ironing tailored to every need. The Inteli control facilitates the programming and adjustment of all the parameters so that the ironing is just right and necessary for each garment.”

Bover also says that ironers that can cut down on costly tumble drying time are also attracting attention: “Heavy duty chest type ironers are machines ready to process linen coming out straight from the batch washers or big washer extractors with no need for pre-drying.”

She also comments that when newbuild premises are commissioned, one of the most important zones in a laundry is the ‘clean side’ or ‘clean area’ where linen has already been washed but needs to be finished. “It is the area where you give the quality touch to the end product of the process. One of the most important machines in this area is the heavy duty chest type ironer. Machines with large diameters and with a modular construction and 1, 2 or 3 rolls are the top choices,” she says.

“Nowadays most of the ironers sold are gas heated models, especially when building a laundry from scratch. The reason is because it gives more flexibility to production. The laundry avoids switching on heating for machines that are not needed plus it avoids wasting energy with the heat dissipation of the piping installation.

“However, when a laundry is already equipped with efficient external boilers for steam or for thermal oil It is normal to install steam or thermal oil heated ironers. The highest energy cost in a laundry is expended in the ‘clean area’ therefore it is important to optimise consumption for ironers as well as the rest of the machinery.

“When talking about gas heated ironers it is important to do a good design job merging boilers and chest design. A very efficient boiler design needs to match with the ironers’ pipes and chest design to reach optimum efficiency when working together. Pipe section and thermal oil flow are key – both components must be aligned in order to achieve the most efficient heat transfer to the linen. It will also help to keep the thermal fluid properties for a longer period of time avoiding annual or bi-annual maintenance and keep up constant production. “Environmental sustainability is not only a matter of energy consumption but also involves avoiding waste and cost of maintenance. Durability of the components It is also key especially on components such as thermal oil which has a high recycling cost. Added to this, there is also downtime cost.

“in conclusion,” says Bover, “good design merging components of the ironer and robust components are very important in order to cut future laundry costs.”

Listening and reacting

ILE, a company that only recently passed its first birthday, says it has listened to the needs of the customer and worked with its designers to be able to offer one of the widest varieties of ironing equipment options on the market with all units equipped with high-tech touchscreens and powerful efficient burners, they are simple to operate and offer great reliability. ILE ironers are available in 3m, 3.3m and 3.5m widths:

¦ 800mm and 1300mm Diameter 1/2/3 roll, thick chest ironers with speeds up to 55m per minute.

¦ 800mm and 1000mm Diameter 1/2/3/4/5/6 roll, belt ironers with internal thermal oil to boost efficiency and give speeds up to 65m per minute.

¦ Combination ironers which allow you to add up to two of the belt ironers to a complete calendar line to precondition and speed up processing to crazy speeds.

¦ 800mm diameter, 1/2/3/4/5/6 roll, belt ironers (without oil)

¦ 800mm/1000mm diameter single roll return feed ironers with thermal oil. This range ensures that whatever the laundry size or budget, it is able to invest in future growth without sacrificing speed and quality. It is even possible to buy a return feed ironer and have it modified to become a pass-through machine in the future to allow for the addition of extra rolls and feeders/folders.

Richard Brown, owner of ILE, says: “The big boys want 2 and 3 roll high speed, high quality ironers capable of speeds of 50+m per minute and we have 1300 and 800 diameter calendar ironers that fill these requirements but we thought it was just as important to be able to give the smaller, growing ambitious laundries, viable and affordable options too.”

ILE’s ironers can be supplied with a range of feeders and folders or easily connect to most equipment on the market, if you already have a feeder and folder. “The ILE ironers are built to high standards and full of known brand top quality components that are readily available such as Mitsubisi, Siemens, Fujitsu, Bonfigioli motor gearboxes, Riello burners and so on,” says Brown.

Low gas consumption

The new Kalor G 1200 offers highest evaporation capacity with lowest gas consumption, avers Gerda Jank of Jensen. “Being the first company in the world to introduce the steam-free laundry concept, Jensen has a long experience from nearly 1,000 self-contained thermal heated ironers supplied. The new Kalor G 1200 ironer is the best in its class, reaching the highest evaporation capacity with the lowest gas consumption,” she says.

According to Jank, this achievement is due to the heat exchanger on the Kalor G 1200 which incorporates a new triple pass boiler design that has been designed with the optimum length and diameter in order to reach the full utilisation of the supplied energy. As a result, the flue gas temperature has been reduced, and the heat of the flame and gasses inside the boiler is conducted efficiently into the oil, reaching the highest possible capacity before exiting the heat exchanger.

Jensen has been using modulating burners for years. By introducing PID regulation, the modulating burner is adjusted precisely on the fly according the the chest temperature, ensuring that the temperature stays within +/- 2° compared to the set-point temperature. As an added bonus of the precise control, the lifetime of the burner is prolonged because fewer starts and stops are required. Thanks to the optional PID regulation of the burner keeping the temperature stable around the set-point, the capacity and speed has been increased to reach new heights, while at the same time the gas consumption has been reduced by 10%.

Jensen uses carbon steel material for ironing because this material gives the lowest friction with wet linen and heat conduction that is four times higher than stainless steel. The low friction combined with the stable ironing temperature ensure the highest finishing quality possible and a longer lifetime of the linen. A flexible chest has proven to give a higher capacity over time compared to a conventional fixed chest ironer thanks to its ability to adapt to the diameter of the roll like a band brake. When the roll applies pressure to the bottom of the chest, the chest automatically closes around the roll at the inlet and outlet position, maintaining a full contact angle when the padding wears down over time.

And says, Jank, thanks to new technology, it is now possible to increase the size of the flow channels providing more oil volume and a higher oil speed and velocity inside the chest. The increased oil volume and flow provide a higher capacity while the flexible chest made of carbon steel material ensures the optimum heat conduction from the oil into the linen through the chest. The Kalor G 1200 ironer is available with a new large diameter directly heated gap piece as an option. The increased surface of the gap piece combined with the higher temperature increases the evaporation capacity and the ironing quality of the linen. The large diameter gap piece is recommended for laundries requiring the highest possible speed and capacity for large piece linen of heavy material such as duvet covers.

Range of choices

Ross Weir of HJ Weir says: “If you are a small unit shop or a large industrial laundry there is a Laco machine for you. The full range has roll diameters of 370mm right up to 1200mm. The larger diameters are offered as 1,2 or 3 roll systems.”

He explains that the Laco pedigree has developed over decades of continuous improvement and that ergonomically they are one of the smallest footprint ironers that exist. “This is a major benefit to the smaller business where space is always an issue. The smaller range of ironers start with the return feed M370-M500 range but these ironer sizes are also available in pass through with the D370-D500 available in gas, steam, or electrically heated options.

The return feed systems can be supplied with feeding and folding options built in, with up to 3 primary and 3 cross folds.” The 500mm – 1200mm diameter gas and electric options are offered with the Air-Stream high capacity ventilated chest. This design increases capacity by up to 25% allowing the ironer clothing to lose its moisture faster. The multi roll gas ironers have 1 gas burner per roll allowing for fine tuning of temperature control. This leads to best in class quality finishing.All Laco ironers of 800mm and above come with a 206o coverage of the roll by the chest. This is 15% more than standard ironers. The ‘King’ 800 (K800) is designed with a 278o chest coverage, 55% more than standard ironers. HJ Weir is convinced that the K800 with the Air-Stream chest is the most efficient single roll ironer on the market.

King size, no folding

While ironing a king-size bedsheet without folding had been just a pipedream for many businesses due to the cost of investment, space and power required to run a 3.2 m ironer by 500 mm roll diameter ironer, GMP’s G32.35 opens new possibilities and new market opportunities. In fact, G32.35 has been designed to meet the needs of those laundries looking for a balance between ironing quality, productivity and budget. It offers several advantages in an accessible solution:

¦ A 3.2 m wide ironing surface allowing to process large bed sheets without folding, ensuring a perfect ironing quality.

¦ A reduction of process times compared to ironing folded sheets, with benefits on labour costs and relevant productivity increase.

¦ Reduced energy requirements compared to the 500 mm roll model thanks to the compact 325 mm roll diameter.

G32.35 shares with all the other G line models a very solid construction, smart microprocessor and GEMINI dual temperature control, an exclusive GMP system developed to monitor the ironing temperature across the whole surface. Additionally, maintenance-free belts draft rollers with their 5 years warranty and the bars-free cylinder supports ensure a low maintenance operation. G32.35 was launched in June with the first units delivered over the past summer

Hotel booking

The Chateau Star River Hotel in Guangzhou, China, has chosen Lapauw for the renewal of its ironing line. “We have been very carefully choosing much better machines to replace our 12-yearold ironer and folder,” says Ms Wang, the hotels house-keeping director. We were looking for machines that can give us a perfect finishing quality for our customers to provide them with excellent dining and sleeping experiences.

“We went to check Lapauw references in Guangdong province and listened to the comments from experts in the laundry sector. Finally, we have chosen Lapauw’s new IronMax ironer and Unifold folder because we believe that the Lapauw equipment will cut down our laundry’s labour and maintenance costs from the first day it is in operation.” 

HIGH & LOW: Jensen Kalor offers high evaporation and low gas consumption
BIG & SMALL: Laco offers roll diameters of 370mm right up to 1200mm
MAX POWER: Lapauw’s IronMax has been installed atthe Cahteaus Star Rivver Hotel in Guangzhou
HIGH PRODUCTIVITY: Girbau’s PC120 models offer maximum productivity and efficiency
NO FOLDING: GMP’s G32.35 opens new possibilities and new opportunities
BIG & SMALL: Laco offers roll diameters of 370mm right up to 1200mm

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