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Cutlery Polishing machines come in 2 types of formats: 1. Manual feeding and 2. Self-feeding.
Manual feeding cutlery polishers
All cutlery polishers have a rating based on pieces per hour. These generally start at 1,500 pieces per hour and can go all the way to 35,000 pieces per hours, but usually the more common larger machines cap off at around 10,000-12,000 pieces per hour.
Do not confuse pieces per hour with how much cutlery your business owns or uses. The pieces per hour is exactly that, the feed rate at which you can feed the machine cutlery per hour.
For example a 1,500 piece per hour machine, sounds like a high throughput but let us do the mathematics:
1,500 / 60 minutes = 25 pieces per minute
25 / 6 = 4.1 pieces every 10 seconds
4 pieces every 10 seconds is the maximum fill rate for a 1,500 piece per hour machine. This is still significantly higher than the 400 pieces per hour that an average waiter takes to hand polish cutlery.
If your business had 1,500 pieces of cutlery to polish, would you really want 1 waiter to spend 1 hour feeding 4 pieces every 10 seconds into the machine?
Similarly, a cutlery polisher that can polish 10,000 pieces per hour has a flow rate of 28 pieces every 10 seconds.
I recommend following the HIT Equipment 5 step method for choosing a cutlery polisher:
1. Work out how much cutlery your business is averaging per day.
It is essential that you familiar with how much cutlery your business is using as an average per day. Let us look at an example below:
If a business serves 200 for lunch and dinner mid week but from Friday to Sunday they serve around 600 meals total for lunch and dinner, the formula would be as follows:
(200 meals x 4 days) + (600 meals x 3 days) = 2,600 meals average per week
2,600 meals / 7 days = 371, as an average, meals per day
With those 371 covers per day around half the covers have an entree with their meal the other half do not. Your average piece of cutlery per cover is approximately 3.
371 meals x 3 pieces = 1,114 pieces of cutlery as an average per day.
1,114 / 400 pieces per hour = 2.78 hours (approx 3 hours)
With staff polishing cutlery at 400 pieces per hour, the business is allocating almost 3 hours per day to this task. At this stage you already have a benchmark for choosing a cutlery polisher but let us go further.
2. Work out how much manual polishing is costing your business
3 hours per day hand polishing is costing the business around $60+ per day in staff costs. This parameter is another benchmark for choosing a cutlery polisher.
3 hours x (rate of pay per hour $20?) = $60 per day
3a. Choose a machine suitable to the hours your business spends manually polishing.
The cutlery polisher breakdown by hours should follow this kind of benchmark:
* Businesses spending 1 hour or less polishing cutlery by hand – 1,500 piece per hour machine
* Businesses spending up to 2 hours per day polishing cutlery by hand – 3,000 piece per hour machine
* Businesses spending up to 3 hours per day polishing cutlery by hand – 5-7,000 piece per hour machine
* Businesses spending 3+ hours per day polishing cutlery by hand – 8,000+ piece per hour machine
3b. Choose a machine based on your operational costs
As a general rule always choose the largest cutlery polisher that will save you money. The larger the machine, the more throughput, the less chance of overfeeding causing jamming, happier staff and a more profitable business.
With that in mind work out your Return On Investment (ROI) based on your purchase. If you finance the equipment, work out your daily cost for the machine, deduct what you would be paying your staff to polish by hand and you will get a guide as to which machine to purchase.
If you purchase a machine outright, work out how you will amortise the machine. If this is a 3 year time scale, work out your daily cost and compare that to what you are paying now.
In the example above a suitable machine would cost around $13,500 with a throughput of around 5000 pieces per hour. Amortise this over 3 years and the daily machine cost is around $12.33 per day. The example business is spending $60 per day. An even larger machine could be afforded, the next higher volume machine of around 8000 pieces per hour would only cost approximately $2 more per day.
Now that you have worked out what capacity machine you require, your choices now are between specific features and build quality found across the brands.
4. Choosing the right features
Cutlery polishers come with either a basic on/off button or a range of optional features. I will list some them below:
Ready Alert – The granulate in the cutlery polisher must reach an operational temperature. The ready alert is an indicator that informs the operator that the machine is ready to use. Most of the new models have a temperature sensor in the machine however, some older models just use a timer, which should suffice as long as you check that the granulate is warming up.
Heating Indicator – This informs the operator that the element is functional and heating the granulate.
UV Light alert – This informs the user that the UVC light is functioning or not functioning. Non function UVC light should be resolved as soon as possible as the UVC light inhibits bacteria, viruses and mould from growing in the granulate
Change Granulate Alert – This alert informs the user that the granulate has exceeded its safe usage time. The granulate should be changed prior to this alert appearing, as recommended by the manufacturer.
Run Down Timer – This switch allows the machine to run a specified time and then cease operating automatically. This is a great option to have and allows the granulate to dry prior to usage the next day.
Digital Diagnostic Display – This is a fully digital display that informs you of all the features mentioned above. This will also provide you with diagnostic information if the machine fails, notifying you of the location of the error.
5. Choosing the right brand
Some of the more popular brands on the market are:
Thomas Doerr – Designed and built in Germany, Thomas Doerr started manufacturing cutlery polishers in the late 90s and were the first to manufacture an upright 3000 piece per hour machine to compete with the Rosler models. Today they have implemented unique features such as auto stop, run down timers, temperature ready sensors, UV light failure, diagnostics and granule change alerts. They also supply more basic entry level machines, so you can have German quality at a competitive price. Thomas Doerr are also the inventors of the Fill and Go self feeding system that we will cover later.
Rosler – Designed and built in Germany, Rosler is known as the old guard of cutlery polisher manufactures, these machines have been copied by every other manufacturer The original CD range of cutlery polishers are no longer being produced which is unfortunate as they were the Mac Trucks of the cutlery polisher world. The CD range has been known to last over 10 years while having only a few service calls in that time. The failings of the CD range was that they were too reliable and too expensive to manufacture. The competitors in the market could make a cheaper build machine at half the cost and with consumers deciding mainly on price, this slowed down their distribution. Rosler have re-launched their polishers with a new C&S range, however they still are on the costly end of the spectrum. The new C&S range has the quality and build finish you would expect from Rosler and also some of the newer electrical features that were lacking in the older CD range.
Nicem – Designed and built in Italy, Nicem have an impressive history in manufacturing of cutlery polishers. Their machines come standard with all of the advanced electrical features found on other brands. They also are the first company to create a composite material central bowl with unique fish scale style internal design. This internal design feature increases throughput of the cutlery and is unique to the Nicem Baby ASC 15 model.
Frucosol – Frucosol is a spanish based company that started with solid orange juicing machines and then moved on to expand its range to cutlery polisherz amongst other items. Very popular in the market based on its price and non complex design, it exports to many countries around the world.