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Laundry and cleaning equipment.

The pile of hotel linen is growing in line with the expanding hospitality industry, leading the region's professionals to clean up their acts by investing in efficient technology to reduce environmental impact and costs

Meet the experts

Tom Marshall, key account manager - lodging and commercial laundry, Diversey Inc. Now part of the Sealed Air Corporation, Diversey knows that fresh linen, sparkling, hygienic bathrooms and shining glasses make the difference in hotel guest satisfaction and aims to provide tailor-made cleaning solutions and valuable services.

Henrik Mahaini, chief operating officer, Viking Gulf. Viking Gulf is a family-owned company that was established in the UAE in 1987. Through reliable and efficient service, quality products and cost-effective solutions, it has established a wide customer network within the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Ali Melhem, assistant general manager, Golden Sands Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services. Part of the A. A. Al Moosa Group, Golden Sands Laundry was established in 1986 as one of the leading large-scale commercial laundries in the UAE and worked to pioneer the introduction of the latest cleaning and pressing technology while actively pursuing an environmentally friendly initiative across all aspects of its operations - solutions, energy use and water conservation.

Bernard Jomard, managing director, Danube international. Danube International is one of the leading companies in the heavy-duty laundry industry and an innovator and manufacturer of flatwork dryer-ironers, finishers, hygienic barrier washer extractors, clean rooms washer-extractors and on-premise laundry equipment.

Pamini Hemaprabha, executive housekeeper, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. Hemaprabha has been an executive housekeeper at the five-star Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai since 2012, having worked in hospitality for 10 years.

Rajesh Menon, laundry manager Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Menon has 16 years of experience in the business and was a finalist for the Hotelier Middle East Laundry Manager of the Year 2012 Award.

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Q: WHAT RECENT TRENDS HAVE YOU NOTICED IN THE CLEANING AND LAUNDRY NEEDS OF MIDDLE EASTERN HOTELS?

Tom Marshall: Over the past few years Middle Eastern laundries have been steadily increasing in operational efficiency, partly through improved mechanical and chemical technology. This means that the laundry industry here has become faster, more efficient and more competitive while our customers are more discerning than ever with higher standards and higher expectations.

Bernard Jomard: It seems that they are more and more professional than before, and that now when the architects and consultants are designing and sizing a new project, they are taking the on-premises laundry into consideration, before they were concerned about the kitchen equipment, but not the laundry.

Rajesh Menon: Environmental consciousness is gaining a lot of importance, therefore an increasing number of washers are now designed to have lower water to kilogram ratio and faster spin speeds to reduce water consumption.

Operator-friendly equipment with tilt facilities, automation and up-to-the-second micro-processor displays are helping the managers to have more control and detailed reports of their daily operations. Chemical suppliers are also trying their bit to supply biodegradable and phosphate-free chemicals which can also give good results at low temperatures.

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Q: CAN NEW TECHNOLOGY EVER REDUCE STAFF REQUIREMENTS?

Henrik Mahaini: Training is always important regardless of the size of the machine and the people using it. We always strongly emphasise training whenever we commission a new type of equipment machine and tailor make the course dependent on the client's requirement.

Pamini Hemaprabha: Staffing has decreased as new machines are capable of being more productive. Having said this during high occupancies we prefer using casual staff instead of hiring permanent manning for a whole year.

Tom Marshall: Yes, as well as simplifying washing operations, we are now starting to introduce linen packing automation with our range of vertical and horizontal shrink wrapping machines and films.

For example, one of our shrink packaging machines installed on a linen line can reduce the necessity for staff handling by 90%. We have just installed automated packing systems at two commercial laundries in Dubai.

Ali Melhelm: Staff training is essential in our core business irrespective of the type of machines, however with the latest technology and automation of processes, the larger machines have reduced the handling processes which eventually reduced the on-job training tasks.

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Q: HOW IMPORTANT HAve GREEN AND ENVIRONMENTAL considerations BECOME?

Bernard Jomard: The key points in laundry are water and energy consumption. The less water used equals less energy needed to heat the water, less detergent and less energy to dry the linen after washing.

Danube is able to wash one kilogram of linen with eight or nine litres of water, so we can save between 25% and 40% of water, detergent and energy.

Ali Melhem: Environmental awareness has substantially increased among the hospitality sectors, being environmentally friendly and reducing 'footprint' is fundamentally key to sell our products and work with our partners.

Water and chemicals are critical elements to clean any piece of cloth and both are a heavy cost in the laundry business. With the focus on an environmental approach, hotels quite rightly enquire what type of chemicals do we use and how environmentally friendly are they?

It is obvious in the business environment that hotels and commercial laundries are working in the same direction on this fundamental culture change.

Henrik Mahaini: For some hotels, green and environmental considerations are becoming increasingly important. The hotels are aware of their responsibility towards the environment and use green as part of their image to attract guests.

The hotel industry is very competitive and it is important for the hotels to brand themselves in ways that makes them unique and one of those ways is by marketing themselves as 'going green'.

Rajesh Menon: Since 2011 we have implemented the use of the high-efficiency low-temperature chemicals. These are phosphate-free and biodegradable in nature. We also introduced low pH per acetic based bleaches, reducing the wash cycles with one rinse, saving approximately 240,000 litres of water a month.

The temperatures are also lowered to 60 degrees instead of 75 thus saving LPG consumption. Battery-operated vehicles are used in place of petrol or diesel vehicles. Further, we have a 'no plastic unless requested' approach for our guest laundry delivery.

Pamini Hemaprabha: We encourage recycling of all our items likes hangers, eradicating plastic usage. With the cooperation of our engineering department we have proper water saving and recycling plants which helps us save lot of water consumption.

We will soon look into eradicating the laundry bill and incorporate it in our iPad system which will be implemented soon in guest rooms. It is always important to ensure proper stock of linen in laundry operations to ensure proper usage of chemicals.

At the hotel we have washing scales in place which are strictly monitored. We make sure that whatever the occupancy we never underload the machine, which helps us to save energy and chemicals.

Tom Marshall: 'Being green' is at the forefront of everything we do. Sealed Air and Diversey have been sustainability leaders long before it was fashionable but now, more than ever, it's a critical requirement; consumers want reassurance that they are doing their bit for the environment and suppliers have an obligation to meet their expectation.

The world recognises that people's actions today have implications for the future of our planet's wellbeing but 'being green' also has a positive effect on a business' bottom line; it's a win win situation.

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Q:CAN NEW PRODUCTS HELP TO REDUCE ENERGY AND CheMICAL CONSUMPTION?

Henrik Mahaini: We have many products that help hotels reduce the water and chemical consumption. For instance, all our Hako scrubber driers have the on-board dosing systems, which ensure that the correct amounts of chemicals are supplied directly to the brushes hereby reducing chemical waste and consumption considerably.

Also, our Fluid Handle and microfibre systems from Decitex are so effective that we are able to clean floors and surfaces with almost no chemicals. We have recently launched our Green Care chemicals from TANA Professional from Germany.

The chemicals are all based on biodegradable raw materials and the manufacturer uses mostly sustainable energy in the manufacturing process such as geothermal heating and solar panels.

So the green focus is not only on the product but also imbedded into the manufacturing process. Tom Marshall: The unique formulation of our chemicals means that we can dose less product into a wash cycle and also operate effectively at reduced temperatures.

Our latest innovation for example contains an optimised formulation which enables us to achieve excellent results at lower temperatures. We are currently demonstrating this system to several major hotel groups and commercial laundries in the Middle East and can show savings of more than 25% on water and 50-90% on heating energy compared to regular processes.

Furthermore, our merger with Sealed Air means that we can now offer a complete packaging solution to complement our laundry service. We are working with customers across the Middle East to reduce their costs and waste plastic by as much as 80% by introducing revolutionary low-micron packaging films into their operation.

Rajesh Menon: We have constantly processed more linen per kilowatt hour, LPG and cubic metres of water over the years. This is a better way of measuring the efficiency of resource utilisation.

With the implementation of the HELP system we use a combination product of booster and emulsification rather than two separate ones as used previously. Low pH per acetic acid based bleaches help reduce the dosing of neutraliser. Our chlorine consumptions have come down drastically thus adding to the environmental aspect.

We also give all our chemical cans back to the supplier who then gives them to a third party for recycling. Bernard Jomard: On premises laundries offer most of the time a better quality of service, less risk of cross-contamination, more flexibility and usually, it is less costly.

Efficiency is now based on water and energy consumption; eight or nine manufacturers worldwide are able to provide good sustainable laundry equipment.

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Q: HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY/MACHINERY CHANGED OVER RECENT YEARS AND HOW IS THAT AFFECTING YOUR BUSINESS?

Rajesh Menon: Most machines used are now micro processor-equipped. Gone are the days when machines worked by manual controls. Automation and sensory (RFID) type equipment are much more effective, user-friendly and robust compared to their predecessors.

Tunnel washers have revolutionised washing by reducing the water consumption to an average of five litres per kilo. Tom Marshall: Our commitment to innovation is what keeps us a market leader.

Over the past few years we have developed new mechanical, software and chemical systems which give our customers greater accuracy, more detailed management information and better results than ever.

Leading innovation in this way allows us to partner with our customers and form long-lasting relationships by offering a truly consultative service at all stages of the laundering process.

Ali Melhem: With the rise of global awareness towards environmental friendly and inflation on energy and utility bills, equipment manufacturers strive to introduce machines that consume the lowest energy and utilities consumption and achieve the maximum chemicals preference, which have a positive effect on our business and at the same time, enable more cost effectiveness and green practices

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Hot Products

Diversey Inc:

Diversey's latest innovation is the CLAX HELP (High Efficiency Laundry Programme); a new technology that offers excellent low temperature washing results at reduced costs.

Viking Gulf:

Viking Gulf has recently launched the TANA Professional Green Care range of chemicals and a new microfibre system from Decitex.

Golden Sands Laundry:

Golden Sands Laundry recently invested in the latest technology in finishing equipment, which is fully-automated to allow the delivery of high-quality end products with minimum labour and energy costs.

Danube International:

Danube International has released a new line of high-spin washer extractors called WED II. These use intelligent drying systems for energy savings because the cycle stops automatically when linen has reached the required level of residual humidity, while the drum spinning speed automatically adjusts to humidity level to optimise drying time, which can be adapted.

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Publication:Hotelier Middle East
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Apr 21, 2013
Words:2041
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