The principal functions of an ironer and press are the same as the function of a domestic hand iron. The heat of the iron removes residual water, and the pressure removes creases. Items that are typically ironed are:
- Bed sheets.
- Pillow cases.
Textiles that are ironed are mostly flat, and are therefore called flatwork. There are two types of ironer for handling different types of linen: chest ironers and cylinder ironers.
Each type of ironer can be designed with either through-feed or return-feed. Through-feeding means that the linen is fed into the ironer on one side, and out on the other.
The return feed model saves space as the linen is fed both into and out of the ironer on the same side, which may be an important factor. However, this type results in a limited capacity as the same operators are required to do the feeding as well as the folding after processing.
Small chest ironers
The chest ironer reshapes the fibres in the textile. In order to do this, the moisture in the linen is heated and turned into steam. The steam “de-tensions” the fibres of the textile so that they are shaped properly.
The chest ironer is used in small installations, and is generally designed with return-feed. Note that when chest ironing textiles, the residual moisture of the linen must not exceed 15-20%. The types of linen to be chest ironed are typically:
- Table clothes.
How chest ironers work
The textiles are placed on the feeding table.
Press the pedal to start the padded roller.The heated, high-polished steel-chest is pressed against the roller.
The textiles are processed, and fed out to the collection table in front of the ironer.
Large chest ironers
There are large bed chest ironers as well, suitable for laundries with high capacity requirements. This type of ironer is available with more than one roller, and the diameter of the roller varies from 600-1200 mm.
By adding rollers, the capacity is increased. In order to achieve high efficiency, special feeders, folders and stackers are normally used together with the ironer to obtain a high production.
Most conventional ironers are of the bed chest type. The chest has a maximum contact surface of 180º when the roller padding is new. The large chest ironers are of the through-fed type.
How large chest ironers work
- The sheet is clamped to the feeding machine by one or more operators.
- The feeder then automatically stretches and positions the sheet on the feeding belt.
- The sheet is fed through the rollers at quite a high speed.
- The capacity ranges up to 20-40 metres/min, depending on the size of the rollers and the degree of automatisation in the feeding and folding process.
- When the sheet has passed through the cylinders, it is folded lengthwise and crosswise. Finally, it is stacked in an automatic stacker unit.
- The smaller units can be operated manually by three or four operators who feed and fold the sheets by hand. In this case, the capacity achieved is 15-20 metres/min.
The cylinder ironer is used to iron linen such as bed textiles and large tablecloths. The moisture content of the linen may be approx. 50% when it is fed to the cylinder ironer. The required residual moisture content can be obtained in either of the following ways:
- The linen can be fed to the cylinder ironer directly from the washer extractor. However, this procedure requires a high-spin washer extractor, which leaves a residual moisture content of maximum 50%.
- Unless a high-spin washer extractor is used, the linen has to be pre-dried in a separate hydro extractor and a tumble dryer until a residual moisture content of 50% is reached.
How cylinder ironers work
- The textiles are placed on the feeding belt.
- The belts feed the textiles into the heated high polished or stainless steel cylinder. Speed and temperature are set from the panel. The settings depend on type the of textiles to be processed and the residual moisture content in the linen.
- The finished textiles are fed out on the discharge belt behind the ironer or on a collection tray in the front.
While the linen is being ironed, it is recommended to regularly invert heating areas and ironing areas to achieve a good distribution of heat along the cylinder.
Fully automatic cylinder ironers
There are fully automatic cylinder ironers as well, with integrated feeder, folder and stacker for use by a single operator. The ironing process is the same as for large chest ironers, but with a lower cylinder speed.
The iron is operated by several operators. "The Electrolux Wascator Way". The fully automatic ironer with integrated feeder, folder and stacker for use by a single operator.