REPORTAGE — Dry-cleaning, why not? The story of a happy return


Quick timing, highly performing results obtained, closed circuit functions. According to the companies we interviewed, there are three good reasons that explain the return of dry-cleaning where wet cleaning still shows some limits. Let us glimpse at the “Green” aspects that are dominant today, and at the  constant research for alternatives to PERC


Yes to technology and the manual use. These factors test the dry-cleaning quality, which is a subject of investigation of this month’s Detergo reportage.
Pony, a manufacturer of ironing machines based in Milan, with its President Paolo Fumagalli,  commented on the topic: “Among the elements that distinguish high quality cleaning we should never forget about the decisive, so called “hand touch” of textile: that is the softness and relaxation that reveal the wearability of a garment through the touch”. “Considering this fact, Pony Spa has focused on finishing systems and techniques that vary according to the “quality” of washed garments delivered by dry-cleaners. Surely, the time of ironing is reduced if no problems arise from seams, dimensions, wool hairs, light soil and creases”. Given the role of ideal “referees”, those who deal with ironing, it is still to be understood how those clothes were treated during the cleaning stage. A stage, where the undeniable and wonderful expansion of wet cleaning is witnessing the balanced recovery of dry-cleaning. Its vitality and potential to re-discover is commented on by Marco Niccolini, the Sales Director at Renzacci, a producer of wet and dry cleaning machines based in Città di Castello (Perugia): “I like mentioning two laundries we work with. They are our clients. – starts Niccolini – One of them is based in the north of Italy. It is called Pulisecco 2000 in Pordenone and the other one is in the south, called Giuseppe Romeo from Locri. They are far from each other as far as kilometres go, yet they are very close and similar in terms of a radical choice they made. They both chose the concept of a modern bio-laundry. It is indispensable, if one wants to follow the fundamental principles of collective well-being and environmental protection: it refers to both machines and solvents. To promote such values, we are working in a direct and close contact with our clients. We have become not only their suppliers but also partners. In this way, we have witnessed great results obtained by artisan businesses whose average turnover has increased by 15% per year.”
Mirco Mongillo, the Sales Director at Firbimatic, a producer of dry-cleaning machines based in Sala Bolognese, intervenes on the subject of strictness. “I notice that the market today is quite confused, especially on the subject of solvents. Consequently, a company like ours, whose trademark stands for reliability, focuses on offering the safest possible and certified dry-cleaning solutions. Therefore, it is important to offer closed -circuit machines that do not pollute the atmosphere
as they have a zero impact on the environment”.
“Other consolidated figures – Mongillo continues – referto energy saving. We can say that, our 15 kg machine saves 2 kilowatt/hour per cycle. Moreover, we are working on further improvements of this aspect”.
There is no turning back from the road of reduced consumption. It is confirmed by Eugenio Boni, the Sales Director at Italclean, a producer of dry-cleaning machines based in San Giorgio di Piano, Bologna area. “Once this principle was ascertained, – Boni explains – smart and focused dry-cleaning allows for further saving, e.g. hectolitres of water drained in wet cleaning. Moreover, dry cleaning brings advantages like working in a closed circuit and easier ironing. It is due to the fact that garments are dry. Undoubtedly, the question left open concerns PERC. It is very efficient but, for ages now, it has been a subject of lively discussions on dangers its use implies. The only certain data is that all the uncertainties have triggered a continuous research for alternative solvents. It resulted first, in Intense and then in SENSENE™. We should expect some news in this sector quite soon, maybe even already next year at EXPOdetergo International”.
The research is destined to live a long life in the world of dry-cleaning. Marco Boccola, the Sales Director at Ilsa, a producer of dry-cleaning machines based in San Vincenzo di Galliera, Bologna area, confirms. “While small shops are continuously and steadily declining, perhaps destined towards very selective future. – Boccola claims. Large structures and chains are focusing on dry-cleaning again as it has two un questionable advantages: fast timing and well performing garments, and only a few operations needed for garments to be ready to wear. Considering Ipura’s great success, we are aware of all that. The machine washes, brushes and stretches fabrics which reduces the operators’ work time and tasks”. “If PERC is under attack – Boccola concludes – the industry has already noticed it and started investing more and more resources in alternative solvents that will sooner or later occupy the entire scenario”.
“It is true that the clothing sector has abandoned “the classic textile” to which we were used for years. However, we should be careful while saying that PERC is dead already says Marco Vaccari who owns Surfchimica with his partner, Roberto Castelli. The business is based in Peschiera Borromeo and it manufactures and sells chemical laundry products. “For now, it is still dominant in most parts of Europe, also due to the protection it guarantees to operators. It however, is constantly subjected to the research for the right alternative, e.g. through hydrocarbons and alcohol. The offergets multiplied which stimulates companies like ours to enlarge the range of products that are compatible with various washing systems by supplying everyone with a right intensifier or stain remover”.
Let’s conclude in a circular way by reporting a comment deriving from the ironing sector, just like in the beginning of this reportage. Daniele Battistella, the owner of Battistella, a producer of ironing machines based in Rossano Veneto, Vicenza area.
“Washing and ironing – he says – make part of that same cleaning process. It is even more interesting if we consider a growing interest in the “green” factor aiming at the environmental protection. Our ironing tables, designed for energy saving, are best suited in places where dry-cleaning is carried out following the crucial rules that aim at everyone’s well-being: suppliers, laundry owners and final users”. •


Detergo Magazine – September 2017

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