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Latest hand dryer design resets standards for energy costs and hygiene

23 January 2012

Reducing running costs while increasing energy efficiency and lessening environmental impact are today a high priority for facilities and premises managers. The hand drying methods used in washroom facilities are an area where such cost and efficiency savings can be met.

Wanting to cut the energy consumption of dryers, designers at Mitsubishi Electric came up with the revolutionary idea of changing from using hot air to evaporate moisture to a high speed jet stream to blow it off. And now they have improved the concept even further.

Hand dryers used to all use hot air to evaporate the water. But this had many problems, including high energy consumption, noise and poor hygiene. The hot air could incubate any bacteria on an individual’s hands and blow them around the room.

In 1992, Mitsubishi Electric came up with a radically new approach and developed the first Jet Towel, which the company launched into its home Japanese market in 1993. Since then, many manufacturers have copied the design, but Mitsubishi has always lead the field by introducing innovation after innovation and is now launching Generation 8.

Jet Towel uses a high speed jet of air to remove moisture from just-washed hands. This is forced downwards into a drip tray, to provide maximum microbial security. Additionally, its surfaces are impregnated with an anti-microbial material.

“Significantly, Jet Towel takes only about ten seconds to completely dry hands,” explains Fawn Litchfield, Mitsubishi’s Jet Towel Executive. “Hot air dryers take so long that most people walk off with still-damp, germy hands. “The energy consumption is a fraction of that of an older style dryer. This is partly due to the reduced drying time and partly to the high tech motor – and the new units have an even more efficient motor.”

A technical analysis shows that this, coupled with the new design, gives a 15% energy reduction, and consequently savings in running costs, compared to earlier Jet Towels. “You might think that drying your hands doesn’t use much energy, but you need to multiply that by three to ten times most people wash their hands daily – and then multiple it again by the number of people using a busy washroom.”

The cost of running Jet Towels also stacks up very favourably compared to paper or linen towels. Additionally, high speed hand dryers attract tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme.

Jet Towel has always been highly regarded for its quiet operation making it popular in locations such as school dormitories, theatres, spas, hotels and libraries.

“Noise levels are down by one decibel to 58dB. This doesn’t sound like much, but decibels are logarithmic so it is very significant,” says Fawn. “Amazingly, despite this, the air flow speed is up from 80m/s to 98m/s, improving drying time.”

In use Jet Towel is non- contact (improving hygiene); hands are simply
inserted into the drying chamber and the air jets automatically switch on. The drying chamber is also 40% larger than on earlier models, making usage easier, as do additional activation sensors.

The new design is sleeker and smaller with fewer joint lines, helping speed up cleaning of the unit.

“The new Jet Towel is 165mm (6.8inches) shorter, so it can be mounted lower, making
it more child-friendly. We have also added a new colour, black to complement the existing white and silver options.”

“Our designers have pulled off the impossible – improving Jet Towel,” summarises Fawn, “In any comparison of hand dryers, it was always the stand-out product. And now it is even better.”

To see how much you can save against your current hand drying method, visit our website and download our energy/cost study calculator.

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