With the Cleaning industry under even greater pressure to reduce water and energy use, adopting resource-saving technology is a vital step towards a business that is sustainable both from a business and an environmental point of view
In the face of ever-increasing energy costs, laundry managers across the sector are being challenged to minimise water consumption. Here Mick Christian, regional training and demonstration manager for laundry, at Electrolux Professional explains how some of the latest technologies available can help those who are as eco-conscious as they are economical.
By its very nature, the laundry and cleaning industry is very utility-heavy. Operational costs cover both energy and water, not to mention detergents, so finding the balance between meeting the hygienic and aesthetic demands of offering a professional laundry service, and the need to remain profitable, is a major challenge.
For some, the concept of saving energy and water will be viewed as a big green tick in the sustainability box, yet for others, efficiencies are only relevant if they equate to reduced operating costs. In an increasingly competitive market, even relatively modest reductions in running costs can make all the difference when it comes to managing how much a customer is charged for a given service.
However, it is not just limited to professional laundrettes and drycleaners. The continued rise in On Premises Laundries (OPLs) has seen companies from a variety of vertical markets take their laundry operations in house, to give them greater control of both cost and quality. While hotels were, for many years, the main beneficiaries of OPLs, due to recent advances in technology – driven by the market demands for more efficient operation in the face of rising energy costs – many other businesses are now in a position to benefit from OPL technology, and the associated energy savings.
MINIMISING FOOTPRINT – MAXIMISING EFFICIENCY
From businesses, such as gyms and fitness clubs, as well as hairdressers and even small B&Bs, there has been a movement toward more compact solutions which can offer the space-saving benefits associated with domestic washers, with the capacity to cope with commercial loads at a quicker rate than their domestic counterparts. Ultimately, it presents an opportunity for smaller businesses to bring their laundry in house or, for those that may be struggling to keep up with the constant demand for clean linen, towels, mops and cloths while working with domestic washers and dryers, to improve the quality of their output.
In order to meet this demand from smaller businesses, Electrolux Professional launched its myPRO washer and dryer range.
Engineered to bridge the gap in the market for a laundry solution that sits between the domestic and commercial markets, myPRO meets the needs of a vast array of small businesses. Crucially, myPRO offers significant benefits over domestic appliances, as it can complete a wash cycle in half the time of a domestic machine, thanks to a host of professional programs. Additionally, great wash results are guaranteed time after time thanks to the Electrolux SpeedCare drum, while peace of mind is provided through the professional warranty designed for commercial use.
Importantly for the owners and operators of small businesses, myPRO delivers major energy savings. Not only does the washer have an A+++ energy rating which prompts significant financial and energy benefits, but its hot water inlet also helps reduce cycle time. By removing the need to heat water within the appliance itself, the myPRO washer subsequently reduces the duration of the cycle and minimises the energy required to heat water to the desired temperature level. A normal 60ºC program takes just 82 minutes (starting with cold water at 15°C), which can be reduced by a further 12 minutes when the hot water inlet is used.
The savings prompted by the myPRO washer are matched by those delivered at the drying stage. Electrolux Professional’s SpeedCare drum offers outstanding dewatering and lower moisture intensity through its optimal drum design and 1,400 rpm spin. Automatic Moisture Control technology also ensures that the cycle stops as soon as the operator’s desired moisture level is reached – regardless of their load size. This results in lower energy consumption and the prevention of over-drying for longer-lasting linen.
TRAIN TO GAIN
However, while investing in the most appropriate equipment is key to achieving both hygienic and efficient best practice, an OPL is not a ‘fit and forget’ solution. Ensuring both the equipment and its operators are in regular contact with the manufacturer will go a long way to ensuring the system continues to work effectively.
Comprehensive training is therefore vital for all users, and all aspects of the process should be explained to staff: from the basics of washing, drying and finishing, through to the intricacies of each piece of equipment they will be expected to use. More importantly, training needs to be tailored not just to the equipment in question but to the individual industry, as marrying the intricacies of the equipment to those of the respective industry is the key to achieving the best return on investment.
Such training can take place in a number of ways, however the most common being at a centralised facility. Electrolux Professional’s Center of Excellence in Luton, for example, is a fully-equipped training and demonstration centre which has been designed specifically to welcome laundry operators, providing immediate, hands-on experience of different types of equipment and is available to all customers. Through this type of training, operators can get practical, reliable advice which will enable them to improve their productivity and efficiency levels.
Of course, if training can be delivered on-site, then this will mean that operators are able to receive the same level of training while minimising the amount of time taken off work. As such, our advisors are only too keen to visit customers on the road and roll their sleeves up and work through every stage of the laundry process with end-users in the comfort of their own workplace.
Ultimately, the laundry industry has responded to market demands, and end-users now have greater access to laundry equipment which will invariably help operators and small business owners alike reap the energy savings rewards on offer.
Given the utility-heavy nature of the professional laundry operations, in the past many end-users with smaller sites were either forced to choose between the unreliable and ultimately expensive nature of domestic machines or large-footprint commercial equipment. The former is not really fit-for-purpose in a commercial environment, and the latter – while offering the reliability and robustness of professional laundry equipment – may either take up a large amount of available space or not necessarily be used enough to really unlock its full efficiency potential.
Now, however, through the introduction of hybrid machines such as Electrolux Professional’s myPRO range, a wide variety of end-users can undertake efficient and effective laundry operations on-site, without compromising on quality or footprint.
For more information on Electrolux Professional and its industry-leading range of laundry solutions, visit www.electrolux.co.uk/professional