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Alternative Solvents: Which is Best for You? (Part 1)

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(Image licensed by Ingram Publishing)

Clean Show attendees fill seminar room to hear solvent comparisons

NEW ORLEANS — As new cleaning technologies develop, so do the questions, comments and rumors. Thus, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI) invited several solvent manufacturers to answer some of these questions and dispel common misconceptions.

The result was a well-attended Clean Show educational session earlier this year that compared and contrasted six solvents in use in the dry cleaning industry today.

Panelists for the Alternative Solvents: Which is Best for You? session were:

  • Jack Belluscio, president of Caled, representing GenX

  • Tim Maxwell, president of GreenEarth Cleaning, representing GreenEarth

  • Robert Blacker, director of technical services for RR Street & Co., representing hydrocarbon

  • Sherry Emmrich, technical manager for Dow Chemical Co., representing Dowper perchloroethylene

  • Greg Rinehardt, national sales manager for Adco, representing Rynex

  • Dr. Manfred Seiter, technical director for Kreussler’s Textile Chemistry division, representing SolvonK4

Each company was given several minutes to comment on their solvent and its benefits, then the floor was opened to questions. Some dealt with decomposition, the potential costs of converting from one solvent to another, and if the solvents being discussed were considered “organic.”

Each of the companies had submitted answers to a prepared list of questions, which touched on cycle lengths, average costs, average solvent mileage, the number of machines using their solvent, disposal recommendations, and rumors or misconceptions about their solvent, among others. Their responses follow:

Q: What is the average total cycle length for a standard dark load?

GenX – Caled: 45-55 minutes.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: 60 minutes.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: Single Bath program – 50 to 60 minutes depending on configuration of machine; Double Bath program – 55 to 65 minutes depending on configuration of machine.

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: There will be some variation, based on the machine capabilities and features, but the average total cycle length for a typical load, using perchloroethylene solvent, is about 45 minutes.

Rynex – Adco: 74 minutes.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: Two Bath: 70 minutes, One Bath: 62 minutes.

Q: How much of that is the wash time?

GenX – Caled: 4-8 minutes.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: 17 minutes.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: 18-20 minutes.

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: The wash time during a typical cycle may be on average 15-20 minutes, depending on the soil or size of the load.

Rynex – Adco: 7.5 minutes.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: Two Bath – 3-minute prewash/6-7-minute main wash; One Bath – 7 minutes main wash.

Q: How much of that is the drying time?

GenX – Caled: 25-30 minutes.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: 35 minutes.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: 28 minutes – average.

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: The extraction/drying time during the cycle is about 30-35 minutes.

Rynex – Adco: 60 minutes.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: 48 minutes drying and cool down.

Q: Is a specific drycleaning machine required to use the solvent?

GenX – Caled: Any Class IIIA machine.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: Most Class IIIA machines have been approved for use.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: Class IIIA machine.

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: Perc drycleaning machines do not require special components for optimum performance. A fourth-generation or newer machine provides the technology to remove vapors prior to opening the machine, which enhances worker safety. New models of perc machines may offer enhanced features to improve programming flexibility, maintenance, and/or energy savings.

Rynex – Adco: Yes, K Series machine.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: Class IIIA machine with vacuum distillation, preferably one that is designed and optimized for SystemK4 to include efficient drying and stronger cooling capacities.

Q: Are there fees/licenses required to use the solvent?

GenX – Caled: No fees. All consumer advertising tools are free.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: Yes, there is a standard Affiliation Fee of $2,500 to license the intellectual property (patents, systems, technical information, marks, brands and marketing materials) associated with the GreenEarth Cleaning System.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: No.

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: Dow is not aware of special licenses or franchise fees required by perc manufacturers or perc machine manufacturers in order to use this solvent for dry cleaning.

Rynex – Adco: No.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: No.

Q: Are any proprietary products or supplies required?

GenX – Caled: No, but Caled products use half the amount.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: GreenEarth has approved a number of products manufactured by a variety of vendor partners representing the top brands in the textile cleaning industry. All are readily available through typical drycleaning distribution channels.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: (No response.)

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: No, there is not a need for specific or proprietary supplies. DOWPER™ Dry Cleaning Solvent already contains a stabilizer to help maintain the solvent. Dry cleaners are free to use a variety of pre-spotters and detergents of their choice to enhance the removal of difficult soils.

Rynex – Adco: Booster and sizing.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: Yes, only Kreussler products designed for SolvonK4 are allowed: ClipK4 (detergent), PrenettK4 (pre-spotter), Peramon (still additive).

Q: What is the average cost of the solvent per gallon?

GenX – Caled: $29.41 per gallon in 55 pack.

GreenEarth – GreenEarth Cleaning: $21-24 per gallon.

Hydrocarbon – R.R. Street & Co.: $13.95 per gallon (55-gallon drum).

Perc – Dow Chemical Co.: Virgin drycleaning grade perc typically costs around $25 per gallon. Additional taxes may be applied and vary by region.

Rynex – Adco: $36.

SolvonK4 – Kreussler Inc.: Suggested list price is $30.70 per gallon.

Check back Wednesday for Part 2!

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