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Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel leads quiet revolution in hand drying

29 October 2014

High-performance hand dryers are often outrageously noisy, but it need not be like that. In fact, a loud dryer may prove to be an inefficient one. Fawn Litchfield of Mitsubishi Electric explains.

The noise made by some high-speed hand dryers is very loud – some would say particularly irritating. In contrast to this, the Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel hand dryer holds the prestigious Quiet Mark Award, presented by the Noise Abatement Society of the UK.

The Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel is the quietest dryer in its class, with an operating sound level of 58dB, while many of its competitors exceed 80dB. Because the decibel scale is logarithmic, this difference is even greater than it seems. Further, the Jet Towel does not produce the high and low frequency sounds that can be particularly irritating to people.

Acoustic experts say that because most washrooms have hard-surfaced walls, floors and ceilings, echoing and reverberation make noisy hand dryers seem even louder than they are. In some instances, loud dryers can even have the same impact on the human ear as that of a road drill at close range. While this is annoying to everyone, it can be particularly troublesome to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, dementia sufferers and young children, as well as affecting visually impaired people and hearing-aid users.

In contrast, developers at Mitsubishi Electric have worked hard to minimise the Jet Towel’s sound signature, reducing the overall noise level and, in particular, designing out the extreme frequency sounds that can be so penetrating.

A beneficial side-effect of this effort is to enhance Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel’s energy efficiency – one way to reduce noise is to use insulation to muffle it; a better way is not to create the noise in the first place! Mitsubishi Electric went down the latter route and because it takes energy to create extraneous noise, there was an instant energy saving.

In fact, because the drying chamber and air nozzles are so well–designed, the Jet Towel is not only quiet, it is also able to use a very low powered motor (settings from 550W to 1240W compared to 2400W in a typical dryer) whilst drying hands far faster (from only 9 seconds compared to 30–40 seconds). These facts add together to give an energy saving of about 90%.

Because of its minimal acoustics, Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel has become the hand dryer of choice in many sound-sensitive locations. It is installed in stately homes, business and conference centres, council chambers, universities, libraries, hospitals, hotels and the residential houses of several leading private schools.

Another advantage of the Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel is that it has an integral drain, into which moisture removed from the user’s hands is directly blown. Incredibly, other hand dryers just let the water drip to the floor, or evaporate it to the atmosphere so that it recondenses onto door handles and other cold surfaces, potentially spreading bacteria – person to person – and creating unsightly puddles with an attendant slip risk.

Examples
An East Anglian hotel has installed Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel hand dryers as part of a recent redecoration and refurbishment project. This included a makeover for the public restrooms, which many hoteliers refer to as their most important rooms. As the refit neared completion, it became apparent that the sound of the hand dryers in the Ladies carried out into the lobby.

This was a bit intrusive; the volume and intermittent nature of the noise all seemed to add up to something slightly disturbing, which led to a quest to find the quietest hand dryer. The Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel, which produces effectively no motor noise, only a gentle air-rush sound, won the day.

Further, a hidden switch on the Jet Towel dryers lets them run with heated or unheated air. The hotel runs them cool in the summer and warm in the winter – the sort of attention to detail that makes guests feel really comfortable.

Several primary schools have adopted Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towels, mainly because they are quiet, but also because they dry hands fast enough for busy children and they minimise bacterial transfer. Typically, a primary school will see energy savings of £500–£1,500 per year with Jet Towel hand dryers compared to hot air dryers.

A mental health charity in London installed Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towels in its drop-in centre because their quiet operation did not disturb the calm atmosphere it tries to create for its clients. However, it also reports favourably on energy bill reductions, improved hygiene and a reduced carbon footprint.

A council conference centre in Aylesbury, UK selected Mitsubishi Electric Jet Towel for its quiet operation, and was delighted to realise that its short drying time reduced queuing during conference breaks when many delegates would head to the bathroom simultaneously.


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