Whether it is changes in glass sizes or customer appetite for machines that cost them less to run, glasswasher suppliers have their work cut out to stay ahead of the curve. Catering Insight looks at 15 key trends shaping the market.
THE CHANGE GAME
The glasswasher market has changed significantly over the last couple of years with an increasing demand for machines that operate at greater energy and resource-saving levels, but still achieve superior wash results at lower temperatures and with less water and detergent.
There is also a need for clearer results as more pubs lean towards food delivery, observes Julian Lambert, sales director at Maidaid. “How you package your drinks is vital and so far more attention is paid to serving drinks in smear-free, completely clear glasses,” he says. “End-users are demanding machines that cut out the need for labour-intensive hand-polishing of glasses and opt for ones where glasses can be taken straight from the dishwasher and presented on the table.”
BUZZ TERM OF THE MOMENT
Glasswashers may sit discreetly behind the bar areas of restaurants and cafes, but they are not immune to the headline trends shaping catering equipment development. “As with most commercial equipment, eco-friendly is the buzz term of the moment,” says David Smithson, CEO of Classeq. “Whether it’s water saving, heat recycling or eco-settings, sustainable glasswashers are definitely big news.”
Glasswashing manufacturers, including the likes of Classeq and Parry, now offer machines that come with double-skinned doors. “It not only restricts the dispersion of heat but also means the units are less noisy if situated under a counter or table,” says Gary Rose, managing director at Parry, which markets the ColGed range.
Eco-efficiency invariably remains a key selling point for glasswasher manufacturers, with the main brands keen to articulate how much energy their machines save in comparison to older models and those of their rivals.
Classeq boss, David Smithson, wishes customers would look at sustainability in a more holistic light.
“We have put ‘green’ right at the heart of our company ethos by manufacturing here in the UK. In producing and assembling its parts and machines in Staffordshire, Classeq leads the way in helping its customers reduce their overall carbon footprint, and have a positive impact on the wider environment,” he says.
SPEED OF OPERATION
Customers aren’t only concerned with saving space behind the bar, they are also looking at models that will speed up their operation. Paul Crowley, marketing manager at Winterhalter, says the best machines should be able to wash hygienically and effectively at low temperatures, so that the glasses can be used straight from the appliances.
“These days there is also a diverse range of glass types that customers expect machines to be able to wash. These range from high-end branded glasses and delicate wine glasses to the heavy-duty, dimpled pint glasses that have recently been coming back into fashion,” he notes.
Continuing growth areas such as micro brewery beers, cocktail beers and craft distilleries have kept the pressure on major players to remain innovative and creative with their products and marketing.
“There has been an upsurge in the number of oversized branded glasses such as Magners, Heineken and Cobra. With these have come new challenges for glasswashers and, in particular, the smaller 350x350mm and 400x400mm basket glasswashers,” says Bob Wood, director at DC Products.
“We have also continued to see growth in glasswashers with integral softeners, which dramatically improve results and reduce management time. And, as ever, energy consumption and water usage are high on the agenda.”
Other manufacturers cite the growth of taller glasses as a major trend, too. “We have found a new requirement from operators needing to accommodate the ‘modern glass’ which is taller than the ‘standard glass’.
“We now have a range of 40 baskets that can take a glass up to 280mm in height,” reveals Adam Krause, operations manager at manufacturer Sammic.
Gary Rose at Parry says this latest development shouldn’t be overlooked when specifying glasswashing equipment. “Trends at present with public houses and wine bars is to have tall and sleek glassware. This causes problems with the wash height in some units and this has be taken into consideration when new or replacement units are being purchased,” he advises.
It is widely agreed that the variety and quality of glassware used by pubs, restaurants and other venues is improving with time. As a result, machines need to be increasingly flexible and adaptable. Winterhalter has developed VarioPower technology, which protects delicate dishes and glasses from damage without comprising wash results.
“By varying the water pressure, detergent and rinse aid, VarioPower regulates wash cycles to suit particular glassware,” says marketing manager Paul Crowley. “For example, delicate glasses are washed at a lower water pressure, in turn reducing energy and water consumption, while pressure is increased for heavier soiling and more robust glasses. This avoids the need to rewash dirtier items.”
Warewashing manufacturers are working hard to enhance the insulation qualities of their machines for energy preservation purposes. Adam Krause at Sammic says the addition of double-skinned units are ensuring better thermal and acoustic insulation, while technology is giving it the ability to thermal lock rinse cycles, whereas most machines need time to heat up between cycles.
“If a warewasher is installed to a cold water supply (water coming into the unit is typically measured to be around 15°C-18°C), a machine can drop 10°C-15°C each cycle,” he says. “If a customer runs five, two-minute cycles in succession, the unit could lose around 40°C-50°C incurring higher energy costs and less effective washing, not to mention running washers cold will affect results and increase foam build-up, which can cause issues.”
The growing sophistication of glasswashing technology requires distributors to keep abreast of the new features springing up on manufacturers’ machines. Winterhalter highlights a special detection system on its DeMatik machines as a feature worth knowing about.
“During peak periods of service, staff can sometimes make mistakes that cost time, and if, for example, an incorrect agent is added, the desired wash results may not be achieved, and worse, permanent damage can occur. The DeMatik features an electronic detection system, which only allows the correct agent to be added,” says Paul Crowley.
Sammic’s Adam Krause says that it can now offer a wide choice of cycles, including the ability to rinse at a guaranteed, sanitised temperature of 85°C and an optional final cold rinse. “This ensures that glasses for cold beverage service are at the right temperature when they come out of the washer,” he remarks.
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With the introduction of more advanced technologies, Meiko believes it is vital for sales and technical staff to be able to explain what the latest features do and how the operator will benefit.
“It’s more important than ever to be sitting face to face and discussing client needs and supplier solutions, because lifecycle operational costs and end-of-use costs, such as the safe disposal of redundant machines, are becoming more important than just initial capital cost,” says Jeremy Hall, group sales director at the manufacturer.
Hall says Meiko’s recent successes with glasswashers have been built on its clients buying a more expensive piece of capital, which costs less to run and operate over three- or five-year periods, for example.
Warewashing manufacturers are reporting an uptick in demand for more advanced machines. Meiko says this is true of its models featuring GiO reverse osmosis technology.
“This is down to being able to show the client a better result in the washing and drying process; savings from no longer needing to use water softeners and being able to eliminate the need to polish glasses,” insists Jeremy Hall. “This in turn saves time from reduced labour and costs from reduced labour and breakages,” he adds.
Smeg also notes a trend for machines that will go the distance. Commercial business manager, Phil Coulstock, remarks: “Sites have been more open to investing in better quality machines with higher levels of specification. We have seen a clear increase in sales as the year has progressed of our Greenline glasswashers with integrated drain heat recovery units.”
SUITING THE SITE
While most glasswashing equipment largely uses the same process to achieve the desired result, it is important to take into account the idiosyncrasies of individual sites and specify accordingly.
Smeg, for instance, says its Greenline machines with drain heat recovery units allow for much quicker recovery times at sites specifically where the machines have had to be electrically downrated or have had to be put on a cold water feed due to poor hot water pressure on site.
The cost of the DHR is £175, which Phil Coulstock insists offers rapid payback. “It saves the end-user significant energy costs year-on-year, as well as putting less stress on the vital components of the machine, helping it last longer,” he says.
Hobart Independent has posted growth this year and business manager, Stuart Bester, attributes it to offering a wide range of lower to mid-tier warewashing equipment, such as its Bar Aid and Ecomax ranges.
“Both feature German build quality, and offer value for money with the latter designed specifically for small and medium sites. We pride ourselves on providing everything the dealers need to successfully sell our machines, be it technical, sales or product-related support.” Hobart is hoping to see the growth levels spike in the coming months after announcing a 12-month interest-free offer on equipment.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Glasswasher manufacturers all agree that further technological developments are inevitable.
“Areas such as integral softeners are constantly developing and as always we’re striving to lower energy consumption without compromising results and speed at every turn,” says DC Products’ Bob Wood.
He adds that reverse osmosis is another area where gains have been made, but suggests there is still room to improve as it is relatively water intensive.
Commercial glasswashing technology has comes on leaps and bounds in the last decade with major developments in washing strengths, water consumption and basket improvements. Improved chemical and water softening agents have also contributed to reducing the chances of glasses staining.
“The next step forward for glasswashing would be to develop washing at lower temperatures while still cleaning and sanitising glasses,” predicts Parry’s Gary Rose. “Technology seems to be concentrating on reducing the environmental impact, operating costs, simplifying usage and increasing reliability.”
Sammic’s Adam Krause expects to see huge developments in energy-saving innovation. “We also expect further developments in how the machines will ‘communicate’ more with the operator, informing them of its status mid-cycle in order to assist in how best to maintain the machine,” he says.
2014 has brought a number of major product launches within the commercial glasswashing segment. Winterhalter introduced the DeMatik Pi240, an undercounter hybrid glasswasher with integral water treatment system. “This is a solution for customers who require exceptional wash results but not necessarily the absolute finish of reverse osmosis,” explains Paul Crowley.
“Typically, the DeMatik uses between 40% and 60% less water than a conventional RO system. And its compact size makes it ideal for bars looking to save space.”
Over at Maidaid, the latest Evolution series represents the company’s most technologically-innovative and energy efficient glasswasher to date.
“The range offers the end-user a variety of different wash solutions and special applications, such as an intensive wash cycle and another specifically designed for optimum results with steel, so ideal for cutlery,” says Julian Lambert.
“The machines have inbuilt self-diagnostics with an LCD display and user interface for enhanced feedback for installation and service engineers.”
DC Products, meanwhile, has launched its Standard Plus range of 35 and 40 basket machines to target and accommodate the branded glass market. “So far, the additional loading height has proved very popular and prevented distributors getting caught out by the recent trend for oversized glasses,” says Bob Wood.
Smeg’s range of 500x500mm basket glasswashers has had an update ahead of 2015. “We’re adding an optional cold rinse cycle for busy sites where quick turnaround of glassware is a priority and for sites wishing to use Smeg’s RO units to best effect,” says Phil Coulstock.
At Meiko, 2015 will see the physical introduction of M-iClean technology into the UK market place. Currently launched in Germany and through a number of other worldwide subsidiaries, the M-iClean technology will embrace the benefits of GiO but also incorporate other advanced technologies.
“This includes energy-saving heat recovery systems, innovative ‘at a glance’ machine status indication and one-touch control panel operation with easy-to-navigate options,“ says Jeremy Hall.