Sustainability, cost and ease of use are all vital things to consider when it comes to choosing a warewasher. Angela Frewin discovers the latest machines and services to arrive on the market
With warewashing accounting for 15%-20% of hospitality operating costs, it pays to choose the right model for the job, be it compact undercounter or trolley washers or larger-scale pass-through rack or flight-type machines.
"Dishwashing is connected to 60% of what happens in a kitchen and has a major impact on operational efficiency," says Lynne Snoding, sector marketing manager, foodservice and contract catering at cleaning specialist Diversey. "Disruption to dishwashing and poor results cost money and can negatively impact on customers' experiences, perceptions and satisfaction ratings."
The first step, advises Snoding, is to match the model to the workload: "Machines that are too small can struggle through overuse, leading to inefficiency and unreliability, while those that are too large will be underutilised and not cost-effective."
Tim Bender, sales director at Hobart Equipment Division UK, adds: "A dishwasher that is used for lighter duties may not need to have all the features that a machine being used eight hours a day might have."
When seeking quotes, canny operators will quiz suppliers about installation and functionality including the logistics of their water, waste and electricity systems, advises John Nelson, managing director at Nelson Dish & Glasswashers.
Nelson recommends prioritising durability and performance over price. He also highlights the importance of features that reduce running costs and breakdowns and optimise performance – such as good heat insulation, low-capacity wash tanks, efficient filtration, built-in chemical dispensers, as well as water treatments and self-clean functions.
Eco-friendly warewashers and dishwashers
Many modern machines are designed to save money on water, energy and chemical use without compromising hygiene. Wexiodisk offers three machines that can be combined for greater efficiencies: Duplus, which uses just one litre of water per wash cycle; Pre-Rinse Machines (PRM), which can save up to 18,500 kWh of energy, 240,000 litres of water and 500kg of detergent per year; and Intelligent Control Systems (ICS), which can save up to 9,000 kWh of energy, 200,000 litres of water and 200 litres of chemicals per year.
Electrolux Professional says its new Green&Clean warewashers can save up to 22% in energy consumption per year, while the use of residual steam to pre-heat water slashes water and detergent use by 30% and 32%. The hood and dual rinse rack washers use just two litres and 1.2 litres of water respectively per cycle.
Similarly, the integral condenser in Nelson's high-spec Advantage AD55 pass-through reduces electricity consumption by up to 30% by using steam generated in a wash cycle to heat incoming water. It uses just 2.9 litres of rinse water per cycle, which is reused in the subsequent wash.
Right first time
"A critical requirement for many operators is to reduce rewash rates, a key efficiency metric, with industry averages running at around 10%," observes Snoding. Repeat cleaning can, she adds, contribute to the breakages that account for 2%-3% of dishwashing costs.
Technology can help optimise performance and achieve ‘right first time' washes. Diversey's IntelliDish – a real-time cloud-based diagnostic, reporting and management tool – helps larger and multisite caterers improve results and reduce costs while maintaining food hygiene and safety compliance. It monitors key data such as wash temperatures, product usage and concentrations, identifying persistent ‘pain points'.
HACCP systems built into all Wexiodisk's washers monitor critical hygiene points such as water flow and temperature and sound an alarm or shut down if parameters are breached.
Meiko's new free Connect APP allows users to access and record data such as temperatures, wash cycle duration, consumption and maintenance management from its Bluetooth-equipped M-iClean H, U, UPster K and M-iQ models via an Android smartphone or tablet.
The two key warewashing chemicals are detergent to clean and rinse-aid to remove the cleaner, so items dry quickly and without streaks. Diversey's Suma Combi simplifies the process and reduces the scope for staff error by combining detergent and rinse-aid in a single product.
Nelson warns against deviating from the chemicals specified at the time of a washer's calibration, which are calculated to suit individuals' circumstances. Common errors such as underestimating the potency of chemicals, changing the advised ratios, switching to cheaper brands or substituting chemicals can damage machines and obscure whether washers or chemicals are at fault when problems arise.
Sourcing chemicals from your washer supplier negates this dilemma, says Paul Crowley, marketing development manager at equipment supplier Winterhalter, which has launched a new range of warewashing cleaning products. They encompass all-purpose and high-performance detergents, glasswasher detergents to prevent corrosion and protect decorations, utensil detergents for active defoaming, and bistro detergents to tackle tea and coffee stains.
"We've seen an increase in the amount of tea and coffee served, which means that cups and saucers carry more stains and plates are often much dirtier," confirms Mike Wills, field sales manager for foodservice and facilities at hygiene specialist Holchem. He also notes a trend for washing at lower temperatures, which may require the use of a sanitiser to achieve adequate hygiene – still a high priority as the industry eases out of lockdown.
"A properly maintained dishwasher will inactivate Covid-19 and food poisoning bacteria. The correct balance of time, temperature and dishwashing chemicals inactivates the bugs," states Paul Anderson, managing director at Meiko, which last year gained coronavirus-killing accreditation for all its machines from independent German testing lab HygCen and has a window sticker to prove it – but only for customers who can prove their washers are adequately maintained.
Regular servicing keeps machines in tip-top condition and pre-empts costly downtime and breakdowns, says Steve Bowler, warewashing regional category manager UK & Ireland at Electrolux. Its Essentia care package combines servicing contracts, accessories and consumables in a consolidated resource while its Two Pairs of Eyes app offers contact-free support for basic servicing, repair and maintenance tasks over operators' mobile devices.
Anderson argues that using separate, specialised maintenance for warewashing brings higher levels of service: "Dishwashers are among the most complicated of kitchen equipment, requiring engineers to be qualified in multiple disciplines including electrical, mechanical, gas and plumbing." This specialisation means its engineers have the room to carry the top 250 Meiko spare parts and can achieve a 96% first-time fix rate.
Even the most highly specified machines can falter if staff are not trained to use and clean them properly – such as correct stacking so water jets can access the full load, using the right chemicals and softeners correctly, and cleaning washers at least once a day or after each wash. Meiko colour-codes components such as filters and wash arms that need daily cleaning.
Warewasher finance packages
While operators with struggling machines may be tempted to trade down or reconfigure in the current climate, Bender at Hobart believes they would "do better to buy better" as demand begins to pick up.
Suppliers have created innovative packages to help operators free up cash flow and spread the cost of equipment. Hobart's Complete Package allows operators to buy a selection of washers – including its innovative Profi two-level hood-style washer – for less than the published price. The 24-month, interest-free finance scheme includes delivery, installation and a two-year, all-inclusive service plan with no upfront costs.
Winterhalter's flexible Pay Per Wash package – where operators pay nothing while temporarily closed – proved a popular lockdown option that offered a free dish, glass or utensil washer and installation, with service and chemicals covered in the package costs.
Kitchen appliances face "unprecendented levels of usage" during the anticipated post-pandemic boom, concludes Bowler at Electrolux, so operators want to be ready to clean up with reliable, efficient washers.
Wexiodisk's tilted warewasher
Wexiodisk's four new hood-type Glasstilt washers angle the basket during the final rinse to allow water to run evenly down the outside of each glass for spotless results, reducing pathogen-spreading touchpoints by minimising the need to hand-polish items. The Glasstilt function can be switched off for washing crockery, cutlery or dishes.
Untreated limescale quickly inhibits warewashers' efficiency and ability to heat water and increases the risk of breakdown, notes Snoding at Diversey. It can clog wash/rinse arms, interfere with internal sensors that manage temperature and water flow and even scratch glass.
Salt brine softeners are the standard solution, but Anderson at Meiko reckons they account for 12% of breakdowns, as staff forget to top them up or mistakenly use detergent.
Meiko's GiO modules use filters and integral reverse osmosis technology to provide top-quality water while reducing the amount of detergent and rinse aid needed and do not, insists Anderson, use more water than softeners. "The plain truth is integral reverse osmosis is now so cost-effective it pays for itself over the lifetime of the dishwashing machine," he asserts.
Back problems and warewashers
"Back problems are the most common occupational ailment in the catering workplace," says Nelson, and the group's new Advantage AD51 Ergo washer (pictured) offers a kitchen remedy. The undercounter-style machine sits atop a base storage cupboard to provide a 415mm loading height, removing the need for staff to bend.
"The Ergo provides an affordable solution for people who don't need to invest in a pass-through but who want a comfortable means of loading and unloading a dishwasher," explains Nelson.
Meiko's patented new bottle wash rack and adaptor targets the growing number of caterers replacing disposable plastic bottles with reusable glass bottles, carafes and jugs. Bottle washers usually require bespoke solutions tailored to individual bottle sizes, but Meiko's system can handle multiple shapes up to 114mm wide and 370mm tall. The adapter replaces the bottom wash arm in M-iClean UM/UM+ undercounter machines and uses separate, sealed channels to spray the wash fluid, then the rinse aid, directly into the bottles for maximum hygiene.
Hobart Equipment Division UKwww.hobartuk.com
Nelson Glass & Dishwashingwww.nelsonwashonline.co.uk
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