SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Washer-extractors come in four general types with specific sizes within each category. These are the open pocket, the top side loader, the tilting side loader and the end loader.
There are a number of features that are common to all four types. All are typically controlled by some type of microprocessor, with many now using touch screens to enhance the ease of programming. Also, all use either a suspension made up of coil springs and shocks or one that utilizes air bags, and most are inverter-driven.
Specifically, the washer-extractors examined here are not your average machines. These machines are built exceptionally rugged and serve industrial applications for which other types of washer-extractors may not be suitable. Most industrial washers, with proper preventative maintenance, will last for many years of service.
There are three washer-extractor solutions besides open-pocket solutions used throughout the commercial industry. The following provides a brief description of these machines.
TOP SIDE LOADER
The top side-loading washer-extractor (TSL), as the name implies, is loaded from the side of the cylinder versus the front. Unlike open-pocket washer-extractors, the side loader comes in a split-pocket configuration. Most offer either a two- or three-pocket solution. This split-pocket configuration allows for smaller batch sizes of like goods to be washed simultaneously.
These machines are well-suited for clients that process customer-owned goods (COGs), as they allow for distinct batch separation in each pocket of the washer-extractor. Top side loaders can be loaded by hand or can be loaded using sling bags; however, the cylinder is not spun during the loading process, taking the dangers associated with a spinning cylinder out of play. Some TSLs also allow for a gravity-assist unloading process. This is done by positioning the cylinder at a downward angle on each pocket, allowing the operator to easily unload the goods from each pocket into separate carts.
Top side loaders come in three different configurations. The standard configuration allows loading and unloading from the same side. The other configurations are a “Medicare” or “Cleanroom” configuration, allowing the operator to load from one side and unload from the opposite side of the washer-extractor. In these two options, the load and unload sides are separated by a barrier wall, keeping the “soiled” side isolated from the “clean” side of the machine.
TILTING SIDE LOADER
The third machine offered is the tilting side loader. This machine is an open-pocket side loader utilizing up to four pockets. Loading is done either by hand or by sling bag. It also allows for distinct batch separation.
The advantage of this machine is that when the load is complete, the operator tilts the entire cylinder forward, allowing all the pockets to be unloaded simultaneously into separate carts. This speeds up the load and unload process, as the operator does not have to jog the basket to each individual pocket during the loading and unloading phase. These machines are typically offered in 675- and 900-pound capacities, with each pocket holding 225 pounds.
The fourth machine is the end loader. Like the top side loader, the end loader is also a split-pocket machine. However, the end loader provides a distinct advantage over the open pocket and top side loader in the height of the machine per stated capacity.
The end loaders are low-profile washer-extractors, allowing them to be utilized in areas with extremely low ceiling height, such as on large cruise liners. They are also utilized in small areas with low ceiling heights like hotels and small on-premises laundries. Manufacturers typically offer multiple sizes ranging from 100- to 400-pound machines.
These machines are typically loaded by hand and not from sling bags, as the machine does not tilt nor provide an upward angled cylinder opening conducive to loading with a sling bag. They provide the same rugged construction as their counterparts and are built for many years of service.
This general overview offers a glimpse into the four types of conventional washer-extractors and a broad overview of their typical uses within the commercial laundry industry.
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