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Smooth As Silk: Dryer Advances (Part 1)

Wet cleaning’s partner is a dryer that’s up to handling delicates

TROY, Mich. — While highly programmable wetcleaning washer-extractors have been on the market for years, their partner dryers have lacked the programmability needed to dry delicate fabrics — wools, silks (like the green silk fabric shown in the photo), linens — without resulting damage.

Historically, garments were either wet-cleaned and air-dried overnight, which took a lot of time and space, or dry cleaned. Thankfully, emerging dryer technology is changing all that ... revolutionizing the wetcleaning process and how textile care operators do business.

DRYER PROGRAMMED

Dryer programmability is finally catching up to the programmability level of a wetcleaning washer.

For the first time, there are dryers on the market offering several programmable phases/steps in the drying process, as well as sophisticated control over multiple variables within those phases, including oven temperature, drum temperature, drum rotation action and G-force, timed reversing, and moisture-sensing control technology.

Many of these drying variables have not been programmable. Yet, complete control over drying is critical to the success and speed of the wetcleaning process.

EFFICIENT

By controlling variables by phase/step, even the most delicate items can be dried to the proper moisture level that’s ideal for finishing.

This means textile care operations can wet clean garments more quickly and efficiently, provide improved customer turnaround times, become more environmentally friendly, and lower operational costs. Because the new dryers eliminate air drying, it takes wet cleaning to a whole new level of productivity.

Let’s take wool suits as an example. A load of wool suits takes just 15 minutes to wet clean, 15 minutes to dry and less than 10 minutes to finish. The new dryers make it possible to turnaround a suit — from drop-off to pickup — in an hour.

CAPABILITIES

So, what are the key capabilities to look for?

Seek out dryers with programmability of multiple variables within each step/phase of the drying process. Programmable phases, beyond the typical dry and cool-down, allow for the control necessary to protect garments when they are at their most vulnerable — at the beginning of the dry cycle when they are saturated with water and at the end of the cycle when they are near dry. A minimum of five phases is essential:

1. Critical Programmable Features

To deliver great results, look for a dryer with the following programmable features within each phase.

2. Drum Rotation Speed (RPMs) and Interval

By controlling drum speed and interval, you can remove moisture quickly, without tumbling. This is important. When garments are wet, the drum should ideally spin with enough RPMs to cause garments to cling to the drum, rather than fall and tumble from top to bottom.

This prevents damage and shrinkage. Drum speed should be adjustable based on phase, item type, moisture content and fabric.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.