The best warewashers will use waste water efficiently, recycle water into the next wash and use the smallest amount of energy – all saving operators money. Anne Bruce looks at the latest models on the market
With sustainability and economy top priorities in foodservice, operators require warewashing equipment that minimises water, fuel and chemical use, saving money and the environment. The hospitality sector also relies heavily on its warewashing machines to deliver reliable and consistent levels of cleanliness, given that any blips can slow down service.
Luckily suppliers are ahead of the game with dishwashing wizardry in all sizes, from the smallest undercounter models to industrial rack conveyor machines.
An operation’s warewashing needs will vary hugely depending on whether it’s a small bar, a large restaurant or anything in between, but Sam Bailey, sales and marketing director of Miele’s Professional division, has some tips.
First, buy a dishwasher that is appropriate for your size of business, as it’s vital that the warewasher turnaround time matches your table turnover. If you’re a busy establishment, consider a tank dishwasher, which can wash glasses and crockery at a quicker pace without compromising on quality. Miele offers a range of undercounter and hooded tank dishwashers, including the PG 8172 Performance model, which has a wash cycle of 50 seconds and can wash 72 full baskets an hour.
Tank dishwashers use water, electricity and detergent sparingly, and as with the Miele machines, provide an eco cycle where water use is reduced to its minimum, Bailey says.
Businesses that require tableware to be used straight after washing should consider an AutoOpen feature to dry the contents of the dishwasher quicker, making it much easier for staff to manage an influx of customers.
Tim Bender, sales director of Hobart Warewashing UK, says that advances in technology mean that the modern warewasher is almost as fast as it can be. Factors such as capacity, footprint and smarter integration with the human operator are now the areas where there are room for improvement.
Connectivity is also topical, and smartphone and tablet apps – such as Hobart’s WashSmart app – can monitor the machine remotely. The app monitors the levels of detergent and water to determine overall operating costs, gives hygiene reports, can order consumables and receive error reports for any machine breakdowns.
Bender predicts that there’ll be a lot more electronic control in warewashing, along with other developments such as coating ware with a non-stick finish to make the washing process faster – it could come out clean in 10 seconds – as well as mobile warewashers that can be moved to one side when not in use.
The role of the kitchen porter will also evolve. “We’re trying to eliminate parts of the process to help operators save on labour costs,” he says. “Hobart’s Automatic Soil Removal System means dirty plates can be stacked directly in the rack and then transferred straight into the machine without pre-washing, for example.”
Supplier Nelson advises that the older-style dishwasher or glasswasher can be responsible for more than one third of a kitchen’s energy usage and as much as 60% of water drawn. It is worth calculating the potential savings you could get from a new, energy efficient machine, as the payback period could be relatively short.
According to Nelson, customers are becoming increasingly aware of changes in warewasher design and are seeking them out. Nelson is launching a new, more energy- and water-efficient range this spring, although the current Advantage range will continue to be available, it says.
John Shepherd, UK & Ireland country manager for Wexiödisk, says that the question of sustainable use of resources has led the company to develop the ICS+ (Intelligent Control System) for larger rack conveyor units. Control sensors allow for precise timing and spacing of the baskets to reduce water consumption, meaning that no empty spaces are being washed. It has also developed warewashers that use one litre of water per cycle and pre-rinse machines that use the warewasher waste water.
Warewasher manufacturer Krupps says its products are designed to make the minimum environmental impact. Its Elitech range ensure the rinsing water quantity is always the same, and a Wi-Fi connection is used to check the machine consumption and working hours, helping to maximise the warewasher use and run the best cycle, avoiding waste.
However, Adam Lenton, marketing manager at Classeq, warns that it’s easy to become seduced by advanced features and options that are rarely used correctly and can over-complicate the operation of machines. Classeq warewashers feature straightforward button controls and universal signs, making it easy for staff members to operate, he says.
“In a survey we undertook last year, one of the primary factors that affected purchasing of warewashers was reliability. Eight out of 10 front of house managers said they look for reliability when buying a warewasher – despite there being a plethora of energy saving models with high-tech programmes on the market. The operators and managers questioned wouldn’t put the latest tech features above performance and reliability when choosing their warewashing equipment.”
The next big trend will be connectivity, with the goal being the ability to repair machines remotely without having to send an engineer to the site, he adds.
The first catering equipment company to attain the Carbon Footprint label from the Carbon Trust, which shows a commitment to measuring and reducing the resource footprint of a product, is Winterhalter UK. Paul Crowley, marketing development manager, says that the company can give accredited running costs, including energy figures, for the lifetime of its machines.
Crowley says: “We know that 90% of carbon emissions of a warewasher, and therefore energy usage, occurs during the in-use phase. So look for warewashers that save consumption of natural resources.”
Winterhalter Energy and Energy Plus machines recycle the energy from the machine’s steam and waste water, which would normally escape when the door is opened or waste water drained, to heat the incoming cold water.
Connected Wash from Winterhalter allows its warewashers (individually or a whole estate) to be remotely monitored via an app. The technology will warn when there is no water or chemicals, or if a wash arm is blocked. It can show when doors are opened too early, when machines are being switched on unnecessarily before the first wash, or if the machine’s self-cleaning programme is not being used.
David Rees is group marketing manager of HTG Trading, which owns Hubbard Systems, distributor of the Comenda range. Comenda’s latest models reduce the energy required to heat the incoming water by up to 40%. The dishwashers blow cooled, dehumidified air back into the room, creating the best conditions in the wash-up area.
Heat recovery units allow the dishwasher to be fed by cold water. The system extracts heat and steam already in the dishwasher, using it to pre-heat the incoming cold water up to 45-50°C.
Comenda’s Automatic Proportional Rinse System for conveyor warewash systems gauges the amount of water required for the volume of ware in the machine and the rack transport speed selected, thus reducing water, energy and chemical consumption by up to 33%.
The company’s new DHM scraping module eliminates the need for a manual prewash hose and sink system. It is installed ahead of the prewash module to remove heavy soiling from dishes and plates, using a combination of arms fitted with several multidirectional jets.
Water quality also plays its part in cutting warewashing costs, and water softening equipment will improve efficiency and wash results, as there will be no need for staff to polish water marks off crockery, cutlery and glassware, says Kevin Johnson, managing director at Monarch Water.
Hard water is estimated to be responsible for approximately 70% of equipment failure, and water treatment can minimise machine downtime due to limescale build-up. “Payback on the capital investment of a water treatment system is relatively quick,” Johnson says.
Supplier Crystaltech has developed a reverse osmosis system that pushes purified water through the wash cycle at lower temperatures, reducing the need for cleaning chemicals by 70%. It also removes the need to hand-polish glassware, saving staff time and avoiding transferring germs with cleaning cloths.
“I think that for every millimetre of scale, the appliance uses about 17% more power. Replacing an element can cost a few hundred pounds, so the expense really mounts up,” says Derek Maher, managing director of Crystaltech.
Glenn Roberts, chair of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), says that many catering operations may only have one warewasher, which means the terms of warranty are more important than with other types of equipment. If the only warewasher on site goes down, it’s a crisis.
Warranty terms and conditions should include the service that will be offered if there is a manufacturing fault and cover how long the call-out response may take – so always study the small print.
HTG Trading (Hubbard Systems)