With Australia’s growing concern over water shortages and the calls for being more sustainable in hospitality, industrial laundry services need to find new ways to save water. Commercial laundries in particular use lot of water – a single machine can use as much as 2 gallons of water per wash. Hence, investing in new technology can reduce the amount of water consumed, cut down costs and make commercial laundry washing a more sustainable practice. With that in mind, we are going to discuss one bit of technology that could improve water conservation in commercial laundries: Tunnel washer technology.
With Australia’s growing concern over water shortages and the calls for being more sustainable in hospitality, commercial laundry services need to find new ways to save water. Hence, investing in new technology can reduce the amount of water consumed, cut down costs and make commercial laundry washing a more sustainable practice. With that in mind, we are going to discuss one bit of technology that could improve water conservation in commercial laundries: Tunnel washer technology.
How does tunnel washer technology work?
First invented in the 1960s, tunnel washer technology has evolved significantly over the years to transform its washing process to deliver excellent results, while reducing the amount of water used. We have discussed tunnel washer technology in the past, but have not explained how it works, or how it saves water in industrial laundry services.
The defining feature of the tunnel washer is the long metal tube called the tunnel, where water and linen are added. Running down the centre of the metal tube is the Archimedes Screw, a long spiral screw that divides the spaces in the tunnel into different pockets or sections, though the number of sections can vary depending on the manufacturer. The screw is porous and rotatable, providing the means for linen to move through the pocket. Different models of the tunnel washer come with several extra features to help manage workloads more efficiently.
Tunnel washers work by adding linen on one end and then adding water/chemicals throughout he process. During the washing process, the linen will pass through each section created by the Archimedes screw. The screw will rotate and adjust to ‘agitate’ the linen. After a few minutes, the screw will make one complete rotation and the linen will be moved to the next section. With this process, the linen comes into contact with increasingly clean water and fresh chemicals, so that the material becomes cleaner as it moves from one end of the tunnel to the other.
How will it conserve water?
Commercial laundry services can benefit tremendously from the use of tunnel washer technology because it is able to handle large loads while using less water, reducing ragout, removing soil and reducing the amount of unusable linen after a wash. Hence, commercial laundries can handle large load volumes, improve service quality and reduce the amount of water they are using with tunnel washers.
Most tunnel washers are built with additional features that help with the conservation of water. Tunnel washer machines come with UV technology that can disinfect and oxidate press water, so commercial laundries can reuse water in subsequent washes. Considering that industrial laundry services consume a lot of water, a technology that reuses water can improve conservation efforts. Other tunnel wash machines have the option to use other heat sources to preheat incoming water and reuse heated water within the washing process.
Despite the immense value of tunnel washers, there are not without shortcomings. Tunnel washers are one of the most expensive types of washers in the market. They also take up lot of space, compared to other types of washers.
Preparing for the future of industrial laundry services
The future is going to see a huge focus on conservation and making greater use of the remaining resources. Hotels, hospitals and other organisations engaged in commercial laundry services need to examine the technology they are using to ensure maximum resource efficiency to save water. Tunnel washers are a step in the right direction. However, this is just the start.
Commercial laundries have to expand how they think about efficiency to prepare for the future. They would have to make operations, management and workflows more efficient so that more work can be done in less time. The right industrial laundry services and tools can improve productivity and efficiency, not just in terms of natural resources like water, but also human capital.