Small to medium size laundries mostly rely on equipment referred to as washer-extractors. These look and operate somewhat similar to a residential front-loading clothes washer, except washer-extractors are 3 to 30 times larger. The name „washer-extractor? is derived from the high speed spin cycles used between wash and rinse cycles to extract the water and detergent from clothes using centrifugal force. The largest models are huge; allowing workers to easily stand up inside the wash drum for service and maintenance. The fabrics are washed in batches, similar to a residential washer. |
Washer-extractor efficiency is usually measured in gallons per pound of fabric, as opposed to residential machines that measure efficiency in gallons per cubic foot of capacity. The typical washer-extractors require 3 to 4 gallons (11.3 L to 15.1 L) of water per pound of fabric cleaned. The most efficient machines have built-in water recycling capabilities; storing the rinse water from the previous load to supply wash water in the subsequent load, using less than 2.5 gallons per pound (9.5 L) of fabric.
For washer-extractors without built in recycling features, there are auxiliary recycling systems available that can be attached to washer-extractors to filter and sanitize the rinse water to be reused or the wash water supply. These systems vary in quality, size and efficiency. Many OPL are installed in relatively small spaces, where the washers , dryers, chemical storage, and folding/stacking/sorting benches fill most of the available space. The space does not always accommodate additional recycling equipment and related water storage tanks. Recycling the water requires adjustment in chemicals and detergents used in the wash and rinse water to maintain the quality of the washing process . This requires the chemical supply contractor to be involved in planning any such retrofits.
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