Let’s talk about dry cleaning and water washing. For some producers they are complementary techniques with a continuity in between, for some others are two separate worlds and incompatible techniques. The companies we have discussed with, have different judgements, in some cases the differences are unbridgeable, in other cases, they are limited to nuances and different accents. We are talking about professional washers who prefer one technique, rather than another, in accordance with studies and extensive research paths. The techniques used can vary depending on the type of fabric, more or less delicate, and the type of dirtiness that might need to be treated. We are talking about machines of very different sizes related to the linen and garments that needs to be maintained.

We are facing an evolution in our way of dressing, that has been under the eyes of everyone for few years now, and a strong boost towards the use of technical fabrics and a casual fashion. The viral emergency has contaminated the rhythms of life, work and even the economy generally. The healthcare crisis has also given a further impulse to the washing methods with a remarkable ability to remove germs, bacteria and mites, for obtaining as result a garment that is not only perfectly clean and spotless, but also punctually sanitized. But let’s start as usual, our road map among manufacturer companies.

We meet the Commercial Director of ILSA S.p.A., Marco Boccola, that underlines how, “dry and wet cleaning techniques are absolutely complementary and fundamental. Any comparison assessment about which one of the two systems is the best, makes no sense. The two systems are competing positively to offer a vital flexibility which, together with the knowledge of the operator, makes it possible to offer an appropriate and complete service for the multiple and changing needs of the dry cleaning service. Today, dry cleaning is enriched by various options regarding alternative solvents that can offer a much more favorable and sustainable “green footprint” than in the past (hydrocarbons, modified alcohols, and their related mixtures).

There are basically available two dry cleaning techniques: one by soaking and the other by nebulization, both efficient and to be selected on the basis of the necessary production requirements and available energy resources. In the world of wet cleaning there are two techniques that we named as DF and F, two different ways of handling and using the solvent: DF is the most complete configuration with distillation and filtration – this is how the new PIUMA line of Ilsa is equipped, the super spinning created for using alternative solvents with complete cycles of 40 minutes. The F version is without distillation, and it is based exclusively on filtration systems with filtering cartridges and/or rotary filters with powders.

The dry cleaning by nebulization, without soaking or spin cycle, is represented by our patented iPURA system, born in 2005 and widespread in the world with about 2000 units in operation. iPURA, created for the management of hydrocarbon solvents, is now available from the Solvent Select version for the use of different alternative solvents, up to the latest current version MAC 9.0 designed and tested for the hygienic washing with 90% alcohol. A consciously selected dry-cleaning system and an appropriately dimensioned water/wet cleaning system, together with an adequate training in the management of both, are the guarantee of success from an operational point of view”, concludes Boccola.

For Alessandro Rolli, the CEO of Kannegiesser Italy, a company that manufactures mega-machines for the industrial washing sector, “an essential element is to focus on reducing the washing times, which are not processing times. The lowering of the production costs goes through the optimization of the result by reducing as much as possible the non-processing times, in favor of those of the active phase and especially, temperature, mechanical action, linen movement, chemical action, etc.”.

From a technical point of view, these new washing technologies are passing through the times optimization, and towards a more accurate control of the baths levels and of the water inserted inside the machine. There are also an entire series of technical aspects, such as robotic welding, which allows millimetric precision in the welding of the drum itself. The goal to aim for, is clear: bigger production with the same space occupied, the ability to process different types of linen and to facilitate the active washing times, that allows to recover up to 20% of the cycle time. We are the only ones in Italy to install ultrasonic flowmeters for the machine water inlet, absolutely the most accurate technology, able to control to the centiliter how much water is entering.

We have a technology based on which, when there is no more water coming in, the pumps send a signal warning the machine to move on to the next step. We also have oversized drain valves for being faster during the passive phases. I must emphasize the design of the drum, as it contributes in different phases from the washing to the sanitization process of the product. The structure of the drum is also important to determine how the linen falls inside when it is stressed, how the mechanical beaters are made, but also the efficiency in the rinsing phase, as well as the water filtering that can be reused in the next phases.

Mirco Mongillo, Sales Manager of Firbimatic, sustains that: “our company has always developed new ideas and the current drycleaning machines have as prerogative the lowest environmental impact and a lower operating cost with very satisfactory results. Now we also add the certification of hygenisation /sanitization of garments, (UNI EN 14065:2016 RABC) characterizing even more the dry-cleaning system “tool” in the textile maintenance cycle. This is an added value that professionalizes all operators in the sector and cannot be replicable in any way in the domestic and rental sector.

In particular, the currently existing Firbimatic dry cleaning machines perform their cleaning cycle in closed circuit without releasing emissions into the atmosphere, recovering, and storing (for proper discharge) the residues of dirt removed from the garments, in a safe and secure way. The operating cost of a drycleaning cycle is particularly low, much lower than a washing cycle using water, and sometimes even less than half of a normal wet cleaning cycle. Moreover, we consider that both detergent and water consumption are reduced. We are proud of the targets achieved with the new machines functioning with alternative solvents, and also about our tradition for the safety, innovation and the will to protect all that is important, like quality of life,” adds Mongillo.

Girbau, a global leader company in complete solutions for professional laundry, is a pioneer in the industry thanks to its ongoing commitment to wet cleaning: the sustainable alternative for the dry cleaning specifically designed to protect, care, and improve the quality of washing.

Massimo Scatto, Sales Director of Girbau Italia, points out that “wet cleaning is a complete treatment that can be used for almost all fabrics and that takes care of the most delicate garments without the need of using chemical solvents, giving excellent results in terms of linen and garments cleaning. For being able to do this, Girbau’s high-speed industrial washing machines – HS SERIES range, together with the advanced feature high energy efficiency dryers – ED SERIES, are characterized by their high energy efficiency, significantly reducing water and energy consumption compared to the past, contributing to energy and cost savings.

They have an ergonomic design, not requiring so much maintenance and they integrate the Inteli Control system that allows to adapt the parameters of the washing and drying cycles, to the wet cleaning processes. Girbau dedicates great efforts to facilitate the implementation of this method in all the countries where it is present, through multiple agreements with companies that produce biodegradable detergents, such as BUFA and SEITZ.

Girbau offers to its customers a complete solution consisting of “special kits” that include a washing machine and a dryer, like as those pre-installed and programmed at the factory together with the specific detergents. Customers can rely on all the recommendations thanks to the training related to the use of the equipment provided by Girbau, and the detergents indicated by the above-mentioned manufacturers.”

For Renzacci SpA, a company that produces both dry cleaning machines and washing machines, we meet Marco Niccolini, General Sales and Mkt Director, who is pointing out that, “our position is clear and it is as it follows: once with the rise up of natural solvents as an alternative to perchloroethylene, water washing and dry cleaning are not two worlds apart, we could say that each one of them represents the other half of the sky.

There are two washing techniques interacting in an extremely effective way and both represent an essential tool for the modern cleaners who want to provide a 360° service. Those who speak about antithetical techniques that are working in alternative and not in synergy and therefore replacing each other, proves to be wrong, as they are basing their statements in a world where the use of perchlor has been consistently reduced. The two techniques can be summarized. As concerning dry cleaning, are now in vogue the natural cleaning techniques, that allow garments to be treated with biodegradable and hypoallergenic solvents.

These techniques have been further developed and improved, and, as Renzacci, we have also started disinfecting against viruses and bacteria, particularly with our Sentinelle generation machines. This is a further step forward in combining in a virtuous way, the concepts of cleanliness, well-being, and health. As for regarding the water washing techniques, we have as Renzacci, the Oceano line that represents in synthesis what we have undertaken for some time – a professional water washing technique that improves and surpasses wet cleaning thanks to the combined action of professional machines and professional detergents. If we consider that, according to the latest studies, in Europe nonprofessional washing made with domestic or semi-domestic machines represents 40%, it goes without saying that there is still a lot to do and to work on”, concludes Niccolini.

We move on to Matteo Gerosa, National Sales Manager at Jensen Italia, a company having the core business in industrial washing, who is explaining how Jensen is increasingly contouring the washing process upon the characteristics of its customers and always less in a standardized way. “This dynamic means that if we are passing from a 50 kg standard tunnel washer, to a standard one of 70 kg that is particularly used for both catering and hospital sectors; with the use of new detergents, in general terms, it is resulting a progressive reduction of the washing temperature. Regarding the washing techniques, i would like to point out the importance of tendentially longer machines where rinsing takes place against the counter-current and the quality of rinsing is objectively better than in the case of the shorter machines, where rinsing process is static.

Particularly common within the washing process is also the heat exchanger (that takes the hot wasted water and goes to irradiate and heat the inlet water). This approach has an application for the flatwork ironers and also for the dryer exhausted air, allowing a consistent energy recovery. Among the innovations that Jensen has introduced, we must mention UP Clean, a system that is applied to the double chambers during the rinsing and neutralization step and that uses an UP light for neutralizing the bacteria, preventing the proliferation of cultures in the counter-chambers, obtaining like this a washing result, free of bacterial charges. This is a technology that we apply to new machines but that can also be applied to the existing ones”, concludes Gerosa.

We meet Eugenio Boni, Sales Director of Italclean S.r.l., a manufacturing company in the field of professional cleaning, who underlines that “as far as new technologies are concerned, we have had innovations regarding hydrocarbon machines, as new solvents have been produced and we have adapted to ensure maximum machine efficiency. Moreover, the company has introduced some other improvements and new solutions for the machines. As for the machines using perchlor, they are machines that have reached a certain maturity.

Two years ago, we introduced a new machine control system using a touch screen computer that is much more simple to use and more intuitive than the previous one. We are able to monitor all phases and processes of the machine: air temperature, solvent temperature, and distillation temperature. All this gives us the possibility to have much more sensors so that the control of the machine in all its phases is more accurate.

For the washing machines we have developed the new “Stacker” range – the washing machine is combined with the dryer, arranged in column, in order to better organize the working spaces. One of the innovations that is offering us a great satisfaction, are the hygienic and sanitary barrier machines that have the entrance of the dirty linen separated from the exit of the cleaned and sanitized linen, in order to have a hygienic/sanitary control on the garments avoiding any kind of contamination. The particular characteristic is that they are water using and high speed washing machines.

Then we have bacterial disinfection machines that are treating garments, which are often rented, such as helmets, but also for clothing items rented to skiers. These are ozone machines that are very effective against bacteria and mold. This machine is called O3 and is equipped with an ozone generator inside the machine. It is a machine tested by the University of Bologna for the reduction of bacterial charge and is having a great success”, concludes Boni. •

By Marzio Nava
Detergo Magazine – Number 9, September 2021




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