Here, experts from a group of leading glasswasher and warewasher suppliers answer some of the most common questions operators have about their machines and how to specify the perfect unit.
1. My business has started using taller and sleeker glassware and I know from experience in the past that this has caused problems due to wash height. Is there a simple way of getting around this or do I need to change my machine?
It might sound simplistic but the opening height of your machine will determine the type of glassware you can get in there. “If new glassware is too tall to fit inside the glasswasher then really there are only two options available — to change the machine to a unit that will accommodate the tall glasses or to change the style of glasses that are being used,” says John Shepherd, UK & Ireland country manager at Wexiödisk. If changing spec is the preferred option, check that it has the correct clearance height to ensure glasses can be loaded without potential damage.
Note that some manufacturers, such as Maidaid, quote “useable” height, whereas other brands quote door opening height, which sales director Julian Lambert says doesn’t allow for the height of racks in which the glasses will be stacked for washing. “With taller glasses it is also worth considering extended height compartment racks that will protect the glass during the complete wash cycle,” he says. Taller clearance heights on glasswashers have become more common in recent years in line with the growing use of larger glassware in both bar and restaurant environments. “One other tip would be to look at suitable divisional angled baskets to help accommodate the taller glasses and prevent breakages,” advises Phil Coulstock, commercial channel director at Smeg Foodservice.
The technical challenges posed by the popularity of using different and unusual shaped glasses for cocktails and long drinks is certainly something that Classeq has seen, too. “We’ve looked to accommodate this trend by incorporating as much height as possible into our glass racks. We refer to this as the warewasher’s ‘Clear Entry Height’,” explains marketing manager Adam Lenton. “The Clear Entry Height is dependent on the size of the machine — the smaller the warewasher, the lower the height — so it’s important to check the product specs before you buy.”
2. I’ve been told that double-skinned doors are the best mechanism for restricting the dispersion of heat. Do all commercial glasswashers come with double-skinned doors these days or is this a specific feature I should be looking out for?
Not all machines on the market have double-skinned doors. In particular, at the lower end of the budget scale you’ll find machines with single-skinned doors. So what’s the difference? Well, for a start, double-skinned doors are incredibly effective insulators. Think of it like your house, says Paul Crowley, marketing development manager at Winterhalter. “The double skin provides better insulation, less heat escapes and therefore the machine uses less power. It is a feature that you should look for because it will reduce running costs and the whole life cost of a machine,” he says. As well as limiting the thermal loss from the machine, double-skinned doors provide a cooler surface for operators. “A single-skinned door could become rather hot to touch due to the high temperatures used during the rinse cycle,” says Maidaid’s Julian Lambert.
Another often overlooked benefit of double-skinned doors is the noise-reducing factor. This is especially true for machines deployed front-of-house, says Tim Bender, sales director at Hobart Warewashing. “It’s a definite benefit and one which we urge operators to look out for when specifying new machines.” Bob Wood, director of DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems, concurs: “Glasswashers that do have double-skinned doors provide advanced thermal acoustic pollution reduction and often come with an insulated stainless steel cabinet and insulated boiler too.”
3. What do I need to look for in a machine to make sure that my glasses come out completely smear-free and no longer need hand-polishing?
The reason glasses need polishing is that tiny amounts of impurities, such as limescale, are still in the water. When the glasses air-dry, these tiny impurities become visible on the glasses and need to be polished away. However, if you can remove these impurities from the water, the glasses come out clean.”For glasses to come out of a glasswasher and not require polishing, the machine will need to be fed with water from a reverse osmosis (RO) unit or de-mineralisation filter. These can be built-in to the appliance or bought separately as an external unit,” says Steve Bowler, category manager for warewashing at Electrolux Professional.
The challenge tends to be greater for establishments located in mineral-rich areas with unusually hard water, but it’s not impossible to overcome. “A reverse osmosis unit will treat and remove the minerals in the water before feeding into the wash tank,” insists Wexiodisk’s John Shepherd. He favours separate RO units over integral systems, claiming the latter can lack a reservoir large enough to hold sufficient treated water before feeding into the wash tank. He also suggests it is easier to service an external RO unit.
Good washing results will also be achieved from using suitable detergent and rinse aid chemicals in the correct dosages, while maintenance checks are important to make sure that filters and wash/rinse jets aren’t blocked. High rinse temperatures can have a detrimental impact on the glass and cause etching so make sure that you have an adjustable rinse thermostat or that the machine is set to between 65°C-70°C when commissioned,” says DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems’ Bob Wood. “High caustic content in detergents will also have an adverse effect. Glasswashing detergent will have a lower caustic content than dishwashing detergent so make sure you use the right detergent for the right job,” he counsels.
Maidaid’s Julian Lambert has some other useful tips: “Make sure you remove any lipstick marks manually. Discard any drink residues into the sink. Do not interrupt or shorten the wash cycle, this is vital as you can’t expect the best results if you are not allowing the glasswasher to complete its functions fully. Renovating your glasses bi-monthly will help to ensure you get the best results. When introducing new glasses it is important to renovate the glasses before use as they can be contaminated by product process residues. Your chemical supplier will be able to advise you further.”
4. In terms of hygienic sanitisation, what’s more important: the type and volume of detergent I use or the temperature of the water?
Detergent does kill all the bacteria you could possibly want but in the UK water temperature tends to be the preferred means of sanitisation. Experts note that glasses can be sanitised purely by rinsing them at a controlled 82°C-84°C, however most agree that both the quantity of detergent used and the temperature of the water are important factors in terms of obtaining the most hygiene results. “There needs to be the right balance of chemicals and temperature to achieve the best sanitisation,” advises Classeq’s Adam Lenton.
“Both are equally as important — if the rinse temperature is decreased, the chemicals need to be stronger to counter this. There are four fundamental factors to ensure sanitisation: optimum water temperature; correct length and time of the wash cycle; correct dosage of chemicals; and good mechanics, i.e. is the water being dispersed effectively through the wash arms and machine as a whole?” Smeg’s Phil Coulstock urges customers to pay close attention to the detergent and temperature mix once their machine is installed. If the chemical is too weak and dosed insufficiently if will give poor results, while a temperature that’s too low won’t wash correctly and a temperature that’s too high can bake the chemical onto the glassware. “This is why we always recommend optimising results once the machine is installed, so that both the temperatures and chemical settings are adjusted to suit the usage by the end-user and not just left on the factory default settings,” he says.
5. I have heard that not having a commercial water softener installed invalidates manufacturer warranties if the machine breaks down due to limescale damage. Is this true?
“This isn’t quite the case,” answers Tim Bender, sales director at Hobart Warewashing. “If you have any problem with the machine due to limescale then it isn’t covered by the warranty. That doesn’t mean your warranty is invalidated, it simply means that limescale damage is not covered.” Given that faults caused by limescale will be deemed ineligible, Electrolux’s Steve Bowler recommends taking the necessary steps to protect the appliance where there is a high PPM reading. “This might involve installing a water softener where one isn’t already built-in, keeping salt levels topped up and scheduling regular maintenance to keep the appliance working effectively and efficiently,” he says.
Meiko’s UK MD, Bill Downie, insists that if an operator fails to show ‘due diligence’ and the machine scales up, the only sensible thing to do is replace the warewasher, when ready, with the new generation of machines featuring reverse osmosis. “This then eliminates water softeners and all the warranty problems that come with them. It should be noted though that the energy, water and chemical savings generated by integral reverse osmosis machines mean older machines can be replaced sooner rather than later.”
6. I need a glasswasher that will protect delicate wares and expensive glasses, but can also be used for fast cleaning of standard, less important glassware throughout the day. Does this just come down to having a machine with variable water pressure?
Some experts insists it is a common misconception that variable water pressure is the key to achieving a high quality wash for both delicate and less premium glassware, arguing that normally it is the temperature of the water that creates an issue, rather than the water pressure itself. Winterhalter’s Paul Crowley says: “Variable wash power is one way, and probably the most common way, to deal with an array of different types of glasses. In this case, the ultimate machine would be one where reverse osmosis can be switched on and off.”
He says Winterhalter’s UC Excellence-iPlus features an integral reverse osmosis system that guarantees brilliant wash results every time but which can be switched off to conserve running costs when washing less critical items. Those looking to protect delicate and expensive glasses may also wish to use a divided and or extended glass rack. “Tallerware will sometimes chip or crack during washing because the glasses are rubbing together,” says Meiko’s Bill Downie. “Operators often do not know that there is a choice of dishracks to provide the best wash results and to protect glassware.”