As the hospitality industry readies itself for another big reopening after lockdown, thoughts are turning to reorganising layouts to incorporate social distancing for a while yet. So if front of house requires more space, accordingly back of house areas are likely to be squeezed even further.
Warewashers can help with this shrinking kitchen phenomenon, with manufacturers developing ever more advanced technologies in an ever smaller footprint. So for catering equipment dealers finding themselves called upon to specify a compact warewashing space, what are the main options available?
Meiko believes that it has a variety of solutions that can reduce warewashing footprints. UK MD Paul Anderson outlined: “All Meiko premium warewashers save space because they can have reverse osmosis and heat recovery built in, saving on the floor space needed for softeners and allowing dishwashers to be installed in areas previously thought unsuitable, such as areas with low ceiling height i.e. corridors.”
For example, an M-iClean bar glasswasher can free up usable space by being situated next to a front bar counter, under mirrors and hanging glassware, as there are no chemical smells or steam emissions. According to Anderson: “Space-saving undercounter machine designs from Meiko include options incorporating sinks and hand sprays, saving install time, wall and floor space by using the dishwashers’ drainage and water services twice.
“Cupboards under a dishwasher help with ergonomics – less bending over – and save floorspace by providing storage for chemicals etc.”
And the manufacturer believes that its bigger machines make bigger savings, with no overhead ventilation required for double basket machines or its popular UPster K rack transport dishwashers, which usually eliminate the need for a direct exhaust connection.
Anderson added: “More space saving is achieved using Meiko’s motorised roller conveyors, 90 and 180-degree powered curves; combined they form Meiko’s One Person Sorting Station.
“Large machine installations often require conveyors for trays. Distributor designers have noted that Meiko’s 180-degree conveyor return is ‘slimmer’ than competitors, further saving space.”
He emphasised: “A compact warewashing installation needs the complete package – warewashing, tabling, curves and good mechanical and engineering design. It is not just a slim look or how much you can cram into a dishwasher.”
Over at Hobart, the most innovative of its variety of ‘kitchen shrink’ solutions is the Two-Level Washer. Tim Bender, sales director, Hobart Equipment Division UK, said: “This new machine was created for kitchens where space is at a serious premium – a growing issue pre-Covid, made only more relevant by pandemic restrictions. The machine builds up, not out, with two stacked wash chambers doubling the capacity and productivity of a conventional hood-type machine without doubling its footprint.”
At peak times, for instance, a utensil wash programme can take care of heavily soiled pots, pans and cutlery in the lower compartment, while up to three racks of dishes can be washed on a separate programme in the upper level. The specially-designed utensil wash programme also eliminates the requirement for manual pre-treatment of heavily soiled ware in a separate sink.
Bender underlined: “Though the machine’s capacity may be double that of a conventional hood-type, the water and detergent usage remains the same.”
The Two-Level Washer’s water consumption is monitored constantly via the Senso-Active resource management function. For low amounts of soil, water consumption is designed to remain low; when it detects increased levels of soil, it increases water levels, helping to reduce operating costs by a claimed 20% compared to a conventional machine. The Genius-X² fine filter system cleans soiled water in three steps, which is estimated to reduce detergent consumption by up to 35%.
Bender advised dealers: “Work with a manufacturer that can provide the best possible solution for the space that you have.
“In terms of warewashing, it’s incredibly important to properly investigate the needs of a site and match it to the level of equipment required. Dealers can and should advise their customers on the best course of action not just for current requirements and restrictions, but for those in the future too – designing with operational sustainability in mind.”
Elsewhere, DC Products feels it has one of the most comprehensive warewasher ranges in the UK market. Its entry level undercounter glasswasher measures 415mm W x 465mm D x 590mm H, while its entry level glasswasher is 475mm W x 540mm D x 690mm H, and can be supplied with integral softener, drain pump, WRAS approves break tank and peristaltic chemical pumps.
Director Bob Wood commented: “We can look after outlets that have the most limited space. While other manufacturers tend to supply either 400 or 500 basket washers we also offer a 450 basket undercounter glass or dishwasher option which is ideally suited to sites that have a relatively high throughput but simply don’t have the space for a 500 basket machine.”
Another option is the OD1425 passthrough machine which sits between a standard passthrough and a double hood passthrough. “This makes it perfect for high demand sites such as schools where physical space and time are limited,” said Wood. “Instead of 18 plates per basket it can wash 24 – a 33% increase over conventional hood or passthrough dishwashers.”
All DC Products’ undercounter and passthrough units can now be supplied with integral softeners, removing the need for cumbersome stand-alone units.
However, Wood underlined: “It’s not all about the smallest footprint of machine available, it’s also about productivity or through-put relative to size. This can be impacted by several factors, not just the machine design itself; the wash system that avoids bottlenecks, suitable power that allows for quick recovery between cycles, good quality and correctly-dosed detergents, softened water to allow detergents to get to work and avoid wash and rinse jets becoming clogged with limescale and elements covered in scale becoming slow and inefficient.
“Operators that employ best practice and pre-treat dirties and load machines correctly also make a big difference to the efficiency and throughput of the wash system.”
At Miele Professional, its PG 8164 tank warewasher uses advanced technology to enable a compact design. It is 46cm-wide to fit into a bar area as a glasswasher and features one-button operation via a touchscreen control panel which can be used while wearing gloves. The coloured display informs users about the machine’s current status and remaining cycle time. When necessary, users can access additional information and programme adjustments via the display. Important additional information such as error messages are visually displayed.
Clare Humphrey, category manager for the professional division of Miele Professional urged dealers: “Water usage in warewashers contributes significantly to the energy efficiency of a kitchen, meaning that it’s crucial for dealers to consider low consumption values when specifying compact warewashers.
“Adjustable programme parameters, such as temperature, holding time or water intake, are another important operational factor, allowing enhanced dishwashing results and hygiene performance, as they can be precisely adjusted to suit requirements. Integration into existing surroundings is another important factor to consider; sleek, modern designs offer the ability fit into the surroundings of most kitchen designs whilst also providing space saving benefits of a small footprint.”
Elsewhere, Pentland Wholesale’s portfolio includes the compact Blizzard Storm35 glasswasher which uses a 350mm square basket to fit the smallest of spaces; other models include a 400mm and 500mm basket machine. Plus the Blizzard Storm50BT and DP models are WRAS approved and have a built-in break tank in order to comply with UK water regulations.
The wholesaler believes that its Blizzard Storm 100BTDP hood type commercial dishwasher has one of the smallest compact footprints on the market today. Technical director Andy Threlfall explained: “The outer dimensions have been reduced by utilising the internal space to house the door springs, therefore saving the requirements for an additional box on the rear of the unit.”
The Hood100BTDP features a high-powered wash cycle using dual wash pumps to ensure items are washed properly on the first pass, along with the feature of a soft start to ensure optimum wash performance is achieved. The Storm100BTDP can be specified as a straight through pass or corner operation with an automatic start feature. A drain pump and integrated chemical pumps are supplied as standard on this model.
Threlfall said: “The compact design ensures that this machine is a suitable replacement for a wide variety of manufacturers’ dishwashers without having to extensively modify side tabling or fixed sink units. We also carry in stock a range of ‘easy fit’ side tables to suit the Blizzard compact design.”
All the Blizzard Storm models incorporate built-in detergent and rinse-aid chemical pumps and are available as a standard gravity drain model or drain pump model to suit most types of installation requirements.
According to Threlfall: “When specifying compact warewashers, distributor designers need to evaluate the number of items being washed per hour to ensure this can be matched to the specification of the warewasher being considered. It is important that you select a cabinet which will cope with the demands, and where possible, exceed them.”
For Wexiödisk, UK and Ireland country manager David Glover asserted: “We are confident that we have a model to suit the warewashing needs and space of every outlet. The WD-8 is just one example of a model that retains the same great quality and functionality that Wexiödisk machines are renowned, yet without taking up unnecessary and valuable kitchen space.”
The WD-8 hood machine features an internal footprint that is bigger than a standard hood machine. This means the model has a large capacity washing compartment with a width of 695mm and a height of 505mm which is specifically designed for washing larger items but will still help operators save crucial space in kitchens.
Alternatively, for outlets which only have space for an undercounter unit, the WD-4S has a compact design which can slot into front and back of house areas. Plus the door can be placed in a space-saving hygienic position, which also prevents the growth of bacteria when the machine is not in use.
Another option is the WD-7, as it is designed to be a two-in-one solution that allows operators to easily switch between normal dishwashing and potwashing functions. Its water pressure can be reset quickly and easily between normal to heavily soiled settings.
Glover pointed out: “Despite this soaring demand for space-saving equipment, many operators still associate small equipment with small capacity capabilities, particularly when it comes to warewashing. However, when choosing the best space-saving models from the Wexiödisk portfolio, this certainly isn’t the case. Historically, a warewasher would be a vast consumer of a kitchen’s footprint but thanks to recent design-led developments within the warewashing sector, operators are now able to purchase bespoke space-saving units that neither compromise on capacity or quality.”
At Winterhalter, its range includes the CTR compact conveyor dishwasher capable of speeds of up to 195 racks per hour. It is based around a clever modular system that allows up to three tanks as well as options like drying zones or prewash tanks to be retrofitted, so it can adapt to changing demand.
The main wash unit is 1,400mm long and 800mm wide, making it Winterhalter’s most compact conveyor system ever – suitable for sites with high volumes of dirty crockery but limited space. The CTR system can be customised to make maximum use of available space, whatever the shape of the wash area.
Winterhalter UK’s marketing development manager Paul Crowley encouraged dealers: “Specifying the correct machine in relation to the site’s capacity will ensure that only the optimal space is taken up by the warewasher, and saves problems further down the line.
“Get machines with integral options, such as water softeners. However, while an integral water softener is a good investment and saves space, be sure to pick the right one. Many people opt for reverse osmosis, but do you need it? It increases water consumption and may also increase the footprint.”
He further underlined: “A compact model could be a false economy if it can’t cope with peak demand. Consider the items that are being washed in combination with what the site’s peak numbers might be. If it’s a small compact machine, a basic factor to consider is to ensure all items to be washed will physically fit inside, both in terms of the entry and within the wash cabinet itself.
“Some larger compact machines, like the CTR, can have features retrofitted, which will be useful if the need or situation changes.”
Italian-headquartered Krupps considers its warewasher range includes many space-saving solutions. Within the portfolio are three glasswashers with 400x400mm baskets at different loading heights to accommodate different glass types.
Another space-saving solution is the EL55E undercounter model able to wash GN1/1 and 600x400mm trays, plus the EL951E and EL981E potwashers with 600x670mm baskets. The EL951E can wash pots, trays and bread baskets as well as 26 dishes in each cycle. Plus an EL981E model is 810mm wide and has a 850mm loading height; this means dishes, pots, bread basket and GN1/1, GN2/1, 600×400 and 600×800 trays can be accommodated within the same warewasher.
Export MD Riccardo Scuotto analysed: “Today the great challenge is to conceive compact washing systems that contain several built-in solutions, like break-tanks, automatic softeners and drain pumps. Krupps’ R&D department works hard on these requirements to enable excellent washing results while considering the overall size of the warewashers.
“Another important consideration is to make all internal components reachable by technicians: this is a very powerful feature that distributors love the most.”
He concluded: “Dealers first have to look at what a customer needs to wash and the dimensions, then with our wide range of washing solutions they can find the most suitable size for the kitchen. We also think it’s important to plan the kitchen and the equipment for the future too. In the next few months there will be fewer restrictions, therefore more customers to serve and crockery to be washed.”