How I Went From Eeeewww Gross! to That’s Really Cool!
or why you should really coat your dryer cylinder
When we were at the Clean Show in Atlanta we happened to be across the aisle from a company that had, quite possibly, the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on display…and that statement is coming from someone that is raising two boys. It was a commercial dryer panel removed from a facility that handles healthcare linens. It had not been coated and had layers of plastic bags and other assorted healthcare items melded to it. We had a long running game of “I spy” with the items that were stuck to the plastic.
The company that was so kind to provide us with the entertainment was The DECC Company. Fortunately for everyone that worked in the laundry where this panel used to live, DECC used their magical powers and coated all the panels from that dryer, as well as all of the rest of the commercial dryers in their facility, to help ensure this nightmare doesn’t happen again.
So what exactly is dryer panel coating?
According to DECC’s website it’s “an abrasion resistant release coating for dryer panels.” It essentially turns the dryer cylinder into a nonstick surface making it much easier to clean.
Wanting some more information, I called DECC and spoke with Mike Michalak. He explained that once dryer panels have been coated, plastic no longer sticks to the drying cylinder. However, the plastic does melt through the perforations in the cylinder and stick to itself, but that is why they coat both sides of the drying cylinder. Mike told me that during the “period of time the coating is on it drastically reduces plastic sticking” to the drum.
Now that we have a clearer understanding of the coating let’s look at why you need this.
Less plastic = good
The big benefit is that plastics will no longer stick to your drying cylinder – but why is this important? Once plastic sticks to the cylinder, other debris will now stick to the plastic. You’ll be left with a big mess just like the one we saw at the Clean Show.
Less plastic = less downtime
When panels are coated you can significantly reduce down time for cleaning and maintenance. As DECC tells us on their website, “the need for ice blasting and drilling holes is eliminated.” You still need to routinely clean the panels, but after the coating is applied, that time is greatly reduced. According to DECC, “For comparison, it would take a facility with 14 dryers almost four months of continuous cleaning to get all of their dryers free of plastic if they were to halt all production. If all the dryers were treated with coating from DECC, it would take only one week to clean every dryer panel in the facility.”
Less plastic = easy cleaning
Cleaning is no longer a long, difficult task and now takes a very simple tool – a plastic scraper. As Mike told me, “think about it like your best nonstick pan at home. You would use a plastic spoon. Your mom would slap you on the back of the head if you put a metal spoon in her best non-stick pan.”
Less plastic = greater efficiency
If your dryer is covered with plastic then the dryer’s efficiency is compromised. The perforations in dryer cylinders aren’t there just to make it look cool and neat but to allow air flow. If they’re blocked with plastic, air flow is greatly reduced and dry time has to be increased to compensate. The coating allows for less dry time which means less energy costs.
Speaking of costs…
But, you may say, this will increase the cost of my dryer. Yes, there will be a slight increase. However, your overall costs will be decreased through a decrease in both down time and labor costs, and less down time equals more production. Add the increased dryer efficiency of coated cylinders over non-coated and you could see a return on your investment fairly quickly.
WOW! I really like this stuff! Is it for everyone?
I did ask Mike if there were cases where they wouldn’t recommend coating. He told me that coated panels aren’t a good fit for applications that see a lot of metal in the dryer. He used the example of drying jeans. They have zippers, metal buttons and metal rivets that would hit against the coating and degrade it quicker. Mike said that one great fit is in the healthcare industry, but typically that is the industry that deals with the plastic problem the most anyways.
He also said that the coating works great on stainless and other types of steel but they don’t recommend using it on galvanized.
We all look for ways to work smarter, not harder, and coating dryer cylinders is one easy way to accomplish that.
A big thank you to The DECC Company for the amusement and information and to Mike who was nice enough to take time to speak with me.