Warewashers: filtering vital information

Maidaid’s glasswashers have two filtration levels comprising of a wash pump filter basket and a raised debris collection filter ring over the wash tank sump.Maidaid’s glasswashers have two filtration levels comprising of a wash pump filter basket and a raised debris collection filter ring over the wash tank sump.

Many modern warewashers feature integral filtration systems, but do dealers take into account the benefits of these components, and can they accurately relay their vital function to the end user?

At manufacturer Maidaid Halcyon, sales director Julian Lambert warned: “With so many warewashing machines now being fitted with drain pumps, if debris is not captured by correctly fitted filters will quickly cause the machine to not drain correctly due to clogging or seizing of the drain pump. If the debris is soft enough, it may be almost macerated by the action of the pump impellor and this will be distributed throughout the system and collect within the wash arms, quickly blocking the wash jets resulting in unacceptable wash results.

“It is vital that both dealers and end users know the importance of filtration systems. We advise them all to attend our sales training, as well as engineers attending engineer appreciation training to fully understand how the filtration system works. This can then be passed down to end users. To avoid blockages and poor results Maidaid advises cleaning all filters on a daily basis.”

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The firm considers the water supply as the first item to filter and therefore can supply machines with internal water softeners that in effect filter out the scale-causing elements. Plus its glasswashers have two filtration levels comprising of a wash pump filter basket and a raised debris collection filter ring over the wash tank sump.

Over at Hobart, part of its hood type AUP and AMX models is the Permanent-Clean filter system, which the manufacturer says means dirty plates can be stacked directly in the rack.

The more fine and coarse soil carried into the dishwasher, the dirtier the wash water gets. In the past this would mean the water needed emptying and refilling several times a day. This filter system is claimed to remove this need, transporting all residue away from the dishwasher and saving an estimated £600 per year in water, energy and detergent costs.

Hobart UK has been working in partnership with Pizza Hut to bespoke build a ‘bulletproof’ machine able to stand up to the rigours of all-day dining in one of the UK’s most popular chains. Therefore, the manufacturer has created a version of its AUPRS-10A hood-type machine which is used throughout Pizza Hut’s 273-strong portfolio of sites.

Elsewhere, DC Products’ director Bob Wood urged distributors to consider three areas when looking to improve warewashing performance and results by maintaining wash water quality. “Firstly, it is essential to ensure the quality of the incoming water supply. Secondly, look at filtration systems which are integral to the warewasher, and finally, ensure that best practice is followed by operators regarding regular cleaning, servicing and maintenance of the warewasher.”

He feels that the three main ways these are achieved are by using integral water softeners to soften water, reduce chemical usage, prolong the life of the machine and improve results; peristaltic auto-dosing pumps – to ensure accurate dosing and avoid over or under dosing of chemicals; and reverse osmosis, which is most suitable for glasswashers as it removes invisible minerals and contaminants dissolved in the water.

The newly-launched DC Optima double hood passthrough (OD1450A) has a unique dosing system which has been developed with three internal peristaltic pumps to ensure correct and accurate dosing.

All DC undercounter warewashers and passthrough dishwashers are fitted with automatic detergent and rinse aid dosing systems which operate on a time-release basis. DC rack conveyors (and passthrough dishwashers as an option) also have chemical auto-dosing pumps that are wall-mounted.

Furthermore, the DC Optima OG50 undercounter dishwasher has a reverse osmosis (RO) unit as an option, but Wood cautioned: “These results do come at a cost, so reverse osmosis is not for every catering operation.”

For Meiko UK, its filter offerings comprise ‘multiple layer filtration’ which uses several different layers within a filter to ensure the cleanest possible wash water. The tried and tested Eco-filter system is used on the latest UPster undercounter and hood machines too.

“Most modern dishwashers have decent filter systems,” said Meiko UK MD Paul Anderson, “but distributors know that the key to maintaining the cleanest possible wash water and preventing blockages to pumps is making the filter easy for kitchen staff to access for cleaning.

“As the saying goes, ‘the cleaner the filter, the cleaner the wash water’ and allowing easy access means staff will clean the filters and strainers more often. There is no point having a fantastic filter if it is hard for kitchen staff to remove it for cleaning or easy for them to put back in the wrong position.

“Meiko concentrated first on locating filters so that users had unhindered access to them for regular cleaning, plus we added the blue colour coding which makes it easier for staff to identify what needs cleaning on a regular basis.”

Anderson added: “To help answer requests from distributors for help with staff training on their warewashing equipment, Meiko UK has launched an online tutorial which includes filter cleaning, intended for staff who will be using Meiko glasswashers on a regular basis, available free to all distributors and their customers.”

Over at Winterhalter UK, marketing development manager Paul Crowley makes the bold claim that its filtration system is the best on the market. “Whilst we always recommend pre-rinsing, food particles will still find their way into the wash water. The Winterhalter filtration system means the wash water stays cleaner for longer, which ensures consistently good wash results,” he detailed.

The four-stage filtration comprises a strainer filter to remove coarse dirt; a filter cylinder, which is a combined coarse and fine dirt filter; a pump inlet filter to protect the wash and drain pumps from blockages and conduct dirt particles directly to the waste water, and, finally a media mat that filters the very smallest particles, like coffee grounds. In addition, Winterhalter machines have a clouding sensor which is designed to automatically regenerate the water if it becomes too dirty.

Crowley added: “The pump inlet filter can help protect the pumps in the machine from damage, which can result in costly replacement parts and a service engineer visit.”

He advised dealers: “The better the filtration system, the better the wash results and the better the running costs. Poor filtration will mean that end users will eventually end up with soup-like wash water – not good for results and cleanliness, not good for the machine components and certainly not good for the end user.”

Filtration is also important for Swedish brand Wexiödisk. All of its machines are fitted with an internal stainless steel mesh filter which removes the debris accumulated in the wash water. UK and Ireland country manager John Shepherd revealed: “We use the highest quality stainless steel as opposed to plastic for our filtration components as the heat and chemicals in the machine can cause plastic to become brittle and break. Stainless steel is far more robust and will have a superior life span to any plastic alternatives.

“To take the filtration system a step further, our latest undercounter dishwasher, the WD-4S, features an active filter that catches the debris and then flushes it straight down the drain, removing the need for the operator to manually clean out the filter.”

Furthermore, the manufacturer has developed a pre-rinse machine that uses the warm, chemical rich waste water to pre-rinse the crockery prior to it entering the machine without having to use fresh water.

Shepherd urged: “Though highlighting the importance of efficient filtration systems is important, dealers should also look to educate the end user regarding the warewashing process as a whole. They will then be able to clearly identify where additional energy, water, chemicals and time can be saved.”

Elsewhere, Smeg believes that its four stage filtration system in its Ecoline entry level range of glass and dishwashers is ‘unrivalled’ in the affordable machine sector. According to commercial channel director Phil Coulstock: “Even in the most unlikely event of the drain pump becoming blocked with large debris the pump can be stripped clean from inside the machine’s wash tank by removing an inspection hatch and removing the debris.

“The four stage filtration also ensures the wash water in the machine is kept as clean as possible. Combined with partial water exchange during each cycle, this means the Smeg Ecoline range offers fantastic wash results in even the most demanding of sites.”

Commenting that distributors know better than anyone that a service call is not what anyone wants, regardless of whether it is chargeable or not, Coulstock added: “Although the machine’s price can so often be the driving factor in choice for both the end user and distributors minds, features like good filtration should not be compromised or cut back on and should still be considered when quoting out machines.

“The consequence invariably found is an under-specified machine lacking important features being overworked in sites. Smeg always offers free staff training on all its machines.” Furthermore the manufacturer will be unveiling some updates to its Topline range later this year.

For Ali Group brand Comenda, which is now being supplied by Hubbard Systems ahead of Dawson’s imminent closure, its range uses a multi-stage filtration system to ensures that wash water remains clean. Prior to the Ali Group restructuring decision, Dawson MD Nick Falco commented: “Having filtration systems built into warewashers offers multiple benefits. Between the wash and rinse process, a dedicated drain process removes food soil. This helps to maintain hygiene and also reduces chemical consumption. The manual cleaning process for operatives is also kept to a minimum.”

His advice to dealers was: “When dealers are selling a product to an end user, demonstration of the correct appliance always assists.” He also detailed that Comenda is intending to refine some of its warewasher models’ filtration capabilities, plus an imminent development is on its way which will further enhance
the washing process within Comenda front loading and pass through models.

Whilst integral filtration systems are becoming more commonplace in warewashing, most treatment systems still reside outside of the machine connected to the feed water. Aqua Cure offers two Pentair Everpure filtration systems designed for use with warewashers. The Kleenware HTS-11 System and the SR-X Feeder system are both methods of dispensing controlled amounts of Hydroblend Scale Inhibitor which inhibits mineral deposits and provides protection against pH induced corrosion. In order to cater for plumbing arrangements in different types of warewasher and glasswasher, the Kleenware features a high temperature sump (up to 77°C) for hot water feed installation while the SR-X is optimised for cold water feeds.

Aqua Cure’s marketing manager Richard Stephenson advised: “Dealers should ask end users to consider testing their water to accurately determine the level of hardness of their local mains water. Many different forms of treatment are available from purpose built warewashing treatment systems like the Kleenware and SR-X to conventional water softeners. All can be suitable solutions depending on the type and hardness of the end user’s water. The key steps should be: test water properties, determine usage of water, ask advice on appropriate treatment method from an expert.

“Dealers should also be aware that, though water treatment can reduce the amount of maintenance required by foodservice equipment, the water treatment systems themselves do require occasional maintenance in order to ensure optimum performance.”

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