The dishwasher cycle has finished and the dishes are clean. All that remains is to open the door and get a load of hot steam right in your face. Virtually everyone has had this unpleasant kitchen experience at home. But the dishwasher here is used only once or twice a week. In canteens, restaurants, cruise ships and hospitals, enormous amounts of dishes are washed every day. The used dishes usually have to be made absolutely clean and free of bacteria within a few minutes, before being sent back out to visitors, passengers or patients. The staff operating the dishwashers have to put up with the unwanted steam bath many times a day. Furthermore, the damp, hot air has a negative influence on the climate inside the kitchen.
The company MEIKO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG are experts in commercial dishwashing technology and have developed a solution to the problem with the AirConcept for their M-iClean series. “The energy that takes the form of waste heat in the dishwashing process is regained at the end of the cycle and then fed back into the process”, explains Bruno Gaus, Head of Development at MEIKO. A fan installed in the interior of the machine conveys the hot air through the heat exchanger so that it can be used again in the heating process. It acts like a “turbo” that intelligently conveys the air. The flat impeller throws the air stream against the ceiling of the rinse chamber. From there, the air moves downwards along the side walls, where the steam condenses against the cooler surface. This natural convection, in other words the process of the cool air sinking downwards, would take far too long without the fan. After all, a drying cycle can only last just over a couple of minutes.
Energy efficiency is extremely important in our dishwashers.
Bruno Gaus, MEIKO
MEIKO brought in ebm-papst to help with the technical configuration of the fan. “Energy efficiency is extremely important in our dishwashers,” emphasises Gaus. “For that reason, the individual components also need to be especially efficient. The EC motor from Landshut fulfils this requirement.” At the same time, the motor is also needed to be as compact as possible. For ebm-papst, this project represented a very special challenge. “Due to the reduced space in the dishwashers, we needed a more compact, energy-saving fan that would also permanently withstand the powerful cleaning detergents used”, explains Ralf Braun, who as ebm-papst’s Area Manager for Offenburg works closely together with the company in south-west Germany.
Over the course of the 18-month joint development, the team decided on the BG36 standard motor, but with customised 24 V electronics. On top of that, the motor was fitted with particularly robust seals and materials ready for use in the dishwashers and drives a specially designed impeller. The motor is designed for high speeds of up to 5,000 rpm, whilst also being extremely quiet and smooth-running.
We deliver a compact, energy-saving fan that can also withstand aggressive detergents.
Ralf Braun, ebm-papst
Just as efficient as the motor was the cooperation itself. “MEIKO came to us with some very particular requirements and quickly developed an ingenious design which bore in mind the options that we had highlighted”, beams Stefan Obermaier from ebm-papst Landshut, who managed the project. Bruno Gaus, who has been developing dishwashers for the company from the Black Forest for 20 years, is also very happy with the result: “Development is all about a certain give and take. The cooperation worked extremely well.” The new M-iClean range has been on the market since October 2013. With an illuminated status display on the door handle and a glass display with much more information for the user, the appliance is certainly a head turner. Now users can admire this feature without getting all steamed up.