Looking for a flight-type warewasher? Check out the FER Worldwide Buyers Guide, and you’ll find about a dozen suppliers in the U.S. market. But of that group, a half-dozen really represent the bulk of the volume, and they’re the ones we’ve listed right here.
As the main story indicates, all these suppliers offer a wide array of models and permutations to choose from. Three tanks or four? Steam heat or electric? Gas? Full widths or narrow versions? Full sections or half sections? How much space do you have? The options are bewildering.
Here, we offer a quick sketch of each brand’s differentiations and/or most advanced features. And in some cases—clever details that simplify cleaning or maintenance, for example—we just don’t have room to delve into all of them. After you get the quick orientation here, you’ll want to dig deeper.
Note: Descriptions are based on supplier statements and not to be taken as editorial endorsements.
CHAMPION INDUSTRIES/ALI GROUP
Champion’s flight-type warewashers made big news earlier this year with not one but two Kitchen Innovation Awards from the National Restaurant Association. The E2 series 29” wide units offer four rinse arms rather than the usual two, and tie water consumption to belt speed, giving you control of throughput, cleaning power and water use. Choose from three modes—Eco Clean serves as an energy-saver mode and cuts water usage to 84 gph with output of about 13,000 dishes per hour. Express Clean boosts water to 134 gph for 19,000 dishes. Extended Clean gives you extra cleaning for heavily soiled volume. An optional heat-recovery and temp-monitoring system harnesses waste heat to preheat incoming 60°F water up to 110°F. A narrower 24” line is also available.
Hobart’s Opti-Rinse system made waves—water-conserving waves—when it picked up a 2005 Kitchen Innovations Award. Opti-Rinse created a more effective spray and cut water consumption nearly in half. The FT900, rated at 14,300 pieces per hour at 72 to 132 gph, puts that to good use along with an optional energy-recovery system that routes waste heat to preheat incoming water, thus cutting energy consumption. Hobart figures Opti-Rinse can save 59% in rinse water and energy, which typically adds up to $15,000 to twice that, and then 16% energy savings on top of that from the optional energy-recovery system. Adjustable conveyor speed and a Power Wash mode allow great flexibility.
Insinger makes several different 2-, 3- and 4-tank flight-type washers, and at the upper end of capacities are the Master RC, a 3-tank model, and the Master RC4, a 4-tanker. The 3-tank Master RC, rated at 14,300 dishes per hour and 124 gph, offers recirculating prewash, wash and rinse and a fresh-water final rinse. Conveyor speed is 11’ per minute. Energy and water saving? An electric eye operates the final rinse solenoid and shuts it down when ware passes.
Rated at a stingy 140 gph and a hefty maximum capacity of 17,101 dishes per hour, Jackson’s JFT 2-tanker (3-tank available) offers a two-stage rinse, with final-rinse water recirculated to a power-rinse cycle, and then to wash and pre-wash to get the most from every drop. Double-walled insulation helps keep energy inside where you want it. A 2-speed conveyor lets you adjust for the load, and special pegs let you load dishes and trays without resorting to racks.
Europeans were into the whole water- and energy-conservation thing before Americans were, and Germany-based Meiko was among the very first into the fray. In 2007, Meiko’s waste-heat recovery system earned an award from judges at the Kitchen Innovations Award competition. How effective is it? Meiko figures it saves 30% in energy compared to Meiko models without the system, and as much as 50% compared to other competitors without an analogous system. The model 281 shown here is the biggie, a 3-tank rated at just 132 gals./hr. for a maximum of 17,704 dishes per hour. Double-wall construction helps keep the energy where you want it. A 2-speed conveyor gives you flexibility.
Stero’s STPCW-ER, a good example of one of the trends among higher-quality, high-volume flight machines, features a 2-stage rinse (two pumps, four spray pipes) that improves finished-dish quality while conserving water and the energy needed to heat it. In fact, Stero figures savings of up to 70% depending on your baseline. The 3-tank version rates 13,689 dishes per hour at 98 gals./hr. maximum final rinse; the 4-tanker comes in at almost 21,000, with just a 4% increase in water usage. Other points of interest: the largest scrap, wash and rinse manifolds; an easy-access external scrap catch; and color-coded and numbered wiring for simplified service and identification.
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