National Clothesline
National Clothesline
More shirt pressing innovations
Once again, as has become a bit of a tradition, Tailwind Systems offers a free multimedia presentation of the Clean Show, featuring the latest and greatest in the world of shirt pressing equipment.
desrosiers.jpg
The Clean Show is always full of innovations and the 2013 edition in New Orleans was certainly no exception. Go to www.tailwindsystems.com.
Last month, I covered Veit, Sankosha and Pony. This month, we wrap up our equipment coverage with Unipress, YAC, Forenta, Fimas and FujiStar/Weishi. In October, I will showcase the newest products aimed squarely at those of you doing shirts.
presse.jpg
Two years ago, Unipress introduced not only their LS2, but also a “hooded” version of that same machine. They seem to be running with this version this year by making it even more energy efficient. The intent is to make the unit less costly to operate and the operators more comfortable.
They have insulated key components (photo 2) of the machine to keep the heat out of the plant and away from the pressers along with the hood, of course, to exhaust the steam and hot air.
Also, instead of drawing relatively cool air from the atmosphere, the LS2 now draws warm, pre-heated air from inside the machine to make it more economical to operate (photo 1).
I wrote about improper air systems in September 2010, and told you how improper installations can cost you all kinds of money and aggravation. Unipress has trumped this by now installing a rather large air storage tank as standard equipment. This gives the LS2 a much larger amount of reserve air to work with. When the steam chests close and the air bags inflate, the machine doesn’t drain your air system.
The LS2 has a passive back stretcher as its key feature introduced two years ago. This year, they have made some important mechanical modifications that make replacing this pad and cover much easier. In fact, you can upgrade your existing LS model with the new hardware kit at no charge. No more losing those $%#@ spacers!
YAC introduced the AP600. This all-new model features an angle adjustment for the sleeves, new contour heads and a unique device that keeps the body buck side bags from drooping when inflated. This keeps the armpit area of the shirts looking good (photo 3).
Weishi (from China) and FujiStar (from Japan) have merged, sort of. FujiStar is now made in China and the importers are thrilled that modifications that they have wanted Japan to make for years are now easily and promptly made by Weishi.
Among these improvements: self-diagnostic software, a wider steam chest over the 20" bucks and those steam chests now have a ‘honeycomb” interior design that makes it more energy efficient.
The body press now uses only 1.5 boiler horsepower! The quad collar/cuff machine now has a steam chest that lowers onto the buck rather than the buck being raised to meet the head. This results in less machine steel fatigue.
Not many manufacturers still makes sleeve presses, but FujiStar/Weishi still does. They have made theirs longer and wider to better press large shirts.
As if that weren’t enough from FujiStar/Weishi, they have introduced an all-in-one single buck shirt unit that is decidedly different from Unipress’ all-in-one machine. The model ADT-B138G has a complete set of features including an up/down sleeve adjustment, and a back pull-down and a yoke press, not to mention a rather radical design. Check out photo 5.
Forenta did not introduce a new model but they have made numerous tweaks and modifications to their existing shirt units that make maintenance and parts replacement easier and less expensive. That’s never a bad thing! Also, Forenta tweaked the design of the side air bags to improve the finish on tailored shirts.
Finally, Fimas. They have stepped up to the plate with radical innovations on their new model 296 version 2. The new U.S. representative, Donny Moore of Baton Rouge, LA, presented a complete tour of this machine. The most obvious feature is the mammoth steam chests. I haven’t seen a chest like this since the early 1960s (I know what you're thinking. Pardon the pun).
Decades ago steam chests were huge so that they wouldn’t lose their heat upon contact with cool, wet fabric. The downside, of course, was high utility consumption/cost. If I remember correctly, a vintage 1960s Unipress BASF-a consumed 6.5 bhp.
Now, Fimas has re-introduced a steam chest that holds its heat without being too costly to operate. The steam chests are cast aluminum, molded around stainless steel tubing inside. The stainless steel is impervious to corrosion while the aluminum readily absorbs the heat. The bulk of metal keeps the head from losing its heat easily.
Fimas has also added a touch-screen control panel and up/down sleeve adjustment. See Photos 4 and 6.
All told, Clean 2013 showcased all sorts of shirt unit innovations. I have attended the Clean Show since 1989 (snow in Dallas and 18 degrees, hard to forget) and it is truly amazing how many advances have taken place since then.
I wish that I had been writing this column back then, or at least documenting and photographing the equipment advances. I think that it would be quite interesting to compare what was new and improved 25 years ago with what is available to us today!
“If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got!”

NavBar
Don Desrosiers has been in the drycleaning and shirt laundering
Hanger