Warewashing manufacturers have been focusing on energy efficiency in recent times. Diane Lane looks at the latest developments in both technology and products
With sustainability high on the agenda, warewasher manufacturers have been focusing on energy efficiency.CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association, reports that the key issues in terms of establishing benchmark standards for dishwashing under the Energy-Related Products Directive (formerly the Eco Design Directive) are functionality, hygiene and energy efficiency; the dishwasher regulations are due to be published in 2015.
"In the UK we already have a Food Standards Agency [FSA] study under way in relation to cross-contamination issues, and it is going to be a complex task for the EU to accommodate all the issues relating to warewashing," says Nick Oryino, chair of CESA. "What must not be compromised is the need for the equipment to fulfil its primary role of effectively cleaning product in the appropriate timescales."
Sparkling clean glasses, crockery and cutlery are a crucial component of a food service experience, according to Les Marshall, sales and marketing director at Miele Professional. "Our research has shown that clean, un-smeared glasses are top of the public's agenda when wining and dining. Of the 2,000 consumers surveyed, nearly a third (32%) said that if they were to experience dirty glasses, crockery or cutlery, it's very unlikely that they would return to the same establishment, while nearly nine in 10 (88%) said that clean glassware, crockery and cutlery was very important to them."
Miele Professional has just launched a new range of freshwater dishwashers featuring unique GlassCare programmes that carefully clean glasses to a sparkling finish and eliminate the need for manual polishing, saving labour and reducing breakages.
Water quality Alongside two inlet valves for hot and cold water, Miele's ‘Brilliant' model (endorsed by Riedel glassware manufacturers for its quality of glasswashing) also has a third connection for fully or partially de-mineralised water.
"Water with a low mineral content is used during the rinse cycle in the new ‘Glassware Special' programme, which operates at a maximum temperature of 50°C to ensure glasses are washed gently," says Marshall. "De-mineralised water prevents water stains and means glasses do not need to be polished manually once the cleaning cycle has come to an end."
At Meiko UK, managing director Bill Downie says what matters when buying a dishwasher is wash performance and reliability, and that GiO, Meiko's reverse osmosis water treatment system, boosts reliability and wash quality.
"GiO removes up to 98% of impurities from incoming water and also eliminates the need for water softeners," he says. "It provides sparking clean ‘hand-polished' results, especially on cutlery and glassware, and reduces consumption of chemicals such as detergent and rinse aid."
The system has been built into Meiko's premium range of machines, including its undercounter and hood-type warewashers, universal washers and utensil washers, and is also available on the M-iQ rack and flight dishwashing systems.
Developments that improve the wash performance are one area of focus for DC Warewashing and Icemaking Systems, and sales director Bob Wood considers incoming water quality to be absolutely key.
"Although water's transparent nature gives the appearance of ‘purity', it's far from it," he says. "Minerals, chemicals and sediment can have an adverse effect on washing results, detergents and the machines themselves. As a minimum, water should be softened if it's above 100ppm. Integral softeners have helped automate the process, while saving space and reducing cost, but in some exceptionally hard areas, external softeners may be preferable."
Another development Wood highlights is thermo-locked rinse boilers, which ensure the desired rinse temperatures are met before going into the rinse phase of the wash cycle. "This enables the combined action of rinse aid chemical and heat to allow ‘sheeting off' to occur and quick drying to take place," he explains. "This is particularly important in removing residue that causes spotting or colouration."
Hygiene Rinse thermo-lock has other benefits too, as Adam Krause, operations manager at Sammic UK, explains: "Thermal lock is a relatively new feature, whereby the machine will only start the rinse cycle when the desired 85°C is reached and will rinse at no less than this temperature for the duration of the rinse cycle, guaranteeing a sanitised result, which is imperative in sectors such as healthcare."
Similarly, Wash Safe Control is a standard feature across the Electrolux Professional ‘green&clean' range, whereby the rinse quality in the dishwasher is guaranteed. "The control light turns green to confirm a constant rinsing temperature of 84°C, ensuring perfect hygienic conditions," says Stuart Flint, Electrolux Professional's training and business development manager.
Hygiene was a driver in a technological development to the Wexiödisk range, which has seen the introduction of a Web Service Tool fitted to models such as the WD-6 Duplus.
"The wireless connection tool enables operators to monitor the efficiency and wash temperature of their warewasher, downloading fully compliant HACCP reports when necessary," says Simon Frost, UK and Ireland country manager for Wexiödisk.
Thermal disinfection machines will protect kitchen environments from the threat of cross-contamination, according to Katie Horan, JLA Catering product manager. "The most effective models will meet FSA guidelines by displaying wash heat to confirm that key ‘time at temperature' advice is being followed," she says. "The FSA insists on an 80°C rinse for 15 seconds, and the best way to satisfy this is to have an LED or LCD display that shows the temperature as a cycle progresses. Our own thermal disinfection model has been developed to deliver the highest levels of performance."
Filtration Filtration also has a key role in improving wash results by removing debris and maintaining cleaner wash water.
"Reducing the level of soil in the wash water improves performance, eases clean-up and reduces detergent consumption," says Downie, adding that the key to Meiko's 30% improved washing results is the M-iQ ‘M' Filter. "A radical rethink of filter design resulted in a system whereby each tank features a filtration process that first collects food soil, then flushes it out of the tank in high-pressure cycles."
Citing three key aspirations in warewashing as better results, speed and lower cost, Paul Crowley, marketing manager for Winterhalter UK, points to the company's PT pass-through machine as a good example of modern warewashing technology. "Features developed to improve results include a patented ‘full-jet' filtration system which, in conjunction with our Mediamat filter, constantly cleans the washwater," he says.
At Nelson Glass and Dishwashers, filtration is one area of development aimed at compensating for the low water consumption of 2.5 litres per wash cycle on the company's Advantage machine. "Remnants of food debris are, of course, unacceptable, so it is important, especially on low-water machines, to make sure good results can be achieved," says managing director John Nelson. "The multi-level filtration system separates and traps the smallest particles of debris from the clean wash water which, together with the dirtiest wash water, is expelled prior to each rinse cycle."
Wash arm design Manufacturers have also paid close attention to wash arm design. Of Winterhalter's PT machine, Crowley says: "Elliptical wash arms with carefully positioned jets deliver 100% coverage, even into the wash cabinet corners, and achieve high-pressure washing of heavily soiled items."
Nelson says: "The Nelson Advantage has dual level, wash and rinse arms that release powerful, strategically aimed jets from both the top and bottom of the wash chamber, accessing every part of the load."
Wash arms at DC Warewashing and Icemaking Systems are designed with concave anti-block jets. "This helps prevent build-up of debris that ultimately result in blocked wash arms," says Wood. "Our rinse arms are designed to have a quick rotational uptake and give complete coverage to ensure all detergent remnants is rinsed from the ware items."
Automatic controls Besides technologies to optimise wash performance, advances have been made in automating the wash process to give high performance and consistency, regardless of operator ability.
"The better warewashers available now are so highly specified, they can address a multitude of problems that were previously dependent on operator input," says Nelson. "Spotted or smeared glasses could be from the dosing of detergents or because the rinse aid is incorrect or because the water contains calcium solids. These are remedied by automatic detergent dosing systems and water treatments."
The Nelson Advantage glasswasher range has an automatic dosing system and a water softener that only needs to be replenished with salt when a ‘low level' light is illuminated.
At Sammic, internal water softeners have an in-built display to tell the operator when to use or regenerate. An LED shows when the required temperature has been reached so the operator knows the machine is ready for use.
At Hobart, Tim Bender, UK sales director for warewashing, urges operators to use information updates. He says: "Sophisticated equipment such as Hobart's Premax FTP features touchscreen control, providing operators with information, including fault reporting, tank and wash temperatures, energy consumption data and running times."
Among the features developed at Wexiödisk, ‘Autostart' senses when a basket is in place before closing the hood and initiating the wash cycle automatically. "Once finished, the hood lifts, allowing drying to begin," says Frost. "This feature not only saves time, it also results in dry dishes with no smears and crockery and cutlery with fewer watermarks."
Meiko has greatly simplified its controls with a new system featuring Bluetooth, plus the option of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)/GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), and a user interface.
Granule-optimised pot washing has been the focus for Granuldisk for over 25 years and is
described by Keith Broadway, Granuldisk UK country sales manager, as a "smart, sustainable and economic solution that eliminates pre-washing".
"Granuldisk machines use tiny blue plastic pellets, water and a small amount of detergent to scrub pots and pans clean," he says.
A granule wash is a feature of the Wexiödisk WD-90 Duo, in addition to a standard wash.
"Used with granule cassettes, it eliminates the need for preliminary soaking and scrubbing of large containers," says Frost.
DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems
Nelson Glass & Dishwashers