The infrastructure of our Lab integrates several instalments of laundry equipment and is a fully functional industrial laundry facility with 500kg/shift capacity, which serves as a model of energy intensive processes. The sophisticated infrastructure and data acquisition system allows the measuring of wide a spectrum of physical entities and examining factors influencing energy intensity, and relationships between these factors as well as effectiveness of various saving measures in real life facilities.
These are the core technological components available in the laboratory:
- Five washer extractors with combined heating (electricity and steam), total capacity 92 kg of dry linen. Washing machines are equipped with automated detergent dosing system.
- Three compact dryers with total capacity of 64 kg of dry linen. Each of the installed dryers has a different heating system (steam, natural gas, electricity) allowing for comparison.
- Two cylinder heated ironers (mangles) with identical size, electrical and gas heating and smaller ironing press with steam heating.
This machinery reflects equipment in recent laundry facilities with 500 kg per shift capacity. The technological equipment was further extended with necessary accessories such as a manual ironer, sewing machine, transport trolleys, etc.
Universal experimental infrastructure
The flexible connection of all the above mentioned machines requires the instalment of suitable infrastructure. A steel structure is located in the laboratory and connects inlets for fluid flows, waste, exhaust, and elements for analysis of operational characteristics. 18 independent sites are located around this structure where various energy intensive appliances may be tested (e.g. reactors, dishwashers, sterilizers, etc.).
Technical specification of connections:
- Steam – 7 connections @ 3–13 bar g (max. DN 40), 7 connections @ 0,3–3 bar g (max. DN 65) – steam supplied by steam boiler (1000 kg/h of dry saturated steam @ 13 bar g) + steam accumulator
- Steam condensate – 2 connections for low-pressure level (max. DN 25), 2 connections for mid- and hi-pressure level (max. DN 25)
- Power – 18 connections @ 230/400 V (max. 3×125 A) – total capacity of 150 kW
- Natural gas – 18 connections @ 2 kPa (max. DN 25), 1 connection @ 3 kPa (DN 50) – total capacity of 50 m3/h
- Water – 18 connections @ 3,8 bar g typ. (max. DN 40) – total capacity of 5.5 m3/h
- Decalc water – 18 connections @ 3,6 bar g typ. (max. DN 40) – capacity of decalc unit of 7.5 m3/h
- Recirculated water – 18 connections @ 5 bar g typ. (max. DN 40) – 0.5 m3 water collecting tank + 1 m3 water storage tank
- Compressed air – 18 connections @ 10 bar g typ. (max. DN 20)
- (Humid) Air exhaust – 3–4 connections (max. DN 300)
- Flue gases – 3–4 connections (max. DN 300)
- Sewer – 3 main connections DN 100
Measurement and data acquisition system
The professional laundry process involves the implementation of energy efficient technologies; however, the lack of operational data is a common feature. Our Lab has a measurement system with a far wider range of measurable quantities than common laundry facilities. In addition to the consumption monitoring, there are the following meters installed in our laboratory:
- Prandtl tubes, thermometers, and sensors for relative humidity at the exhaust from dryers and ironers (i.e. measuring of loss due to heat in flue gas of the machines)
- Orifice plate flow meter at the steam system inlet – measuring steam consumption
- Thermo-couples located in ironer cylinders – measuring temperature along the cylinder
- Strain gauges installed in selected machines – measuring stress state in machine design
- Conductivity sensors in washing machine drums – measuring water bath conductivity
A gas microturbine is also part of our Lab machinery and is used as a generator of dry air (up to 90 kW) and electrical energy (up to 28 kW). The microturbine will serve for the testing of cogeneration in laundry services. Flue gas coming from turbines may act as a drying medium in dryers.