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MANUFACTURERS OF cleaning equipment know what clients want: innovative implements to tidy tents, freshen flooring and clean chairs, all with a minimum of elbow grease.


It's a dilemma: How do you clean something as large as a tent? While most tents can be scrubbed by hand, it's an arduous process. Fenton, Mo.-based Teeco has minimized the labor required with its line of washing machines for cleaning party tents. “The washing machines that we build for tents are designed specifically for that purpose,” notes CEO Steve Arendt. “{They} are not typical commercial linen machines refitted to address the issue of cleaning tents.” The line ranges from the Model 1200 — designed for tents smaller than 40 feet wide, or 1,200 square feet — to the Model 3000, which “is large enough to accommodate any piece of tent ma-terial on the market today,” Arendt says. He names design factors such as adjustable cycle times, a one-piece, smooth drum, slower RPMs and a large door opening — which allows tents to be loaded via forklift — as selling points. The company also manufactures a line of cleaning chemicals for use in the machines, which are tough enough to clean tent webbing, straps and ropes.


While Teeco's equipment looks like a familiar washing machine, Adelaide, Australia-based Advanced Tent Technology's Kit C-A-T tent-cleaning machine resembles a giant mangle. The dual-purpose machine can wash and dry tents, marquee covers, tarps and banners of varied sizes. Its name comes from the fact that it is available in kit form — clients can purchase the base module, which has an 11-foot-wide cleaning area, then increase the machine's cleaning width up to 36 feet by adding one or two more modules as needed.

The fabric to be cleaned is attached to an apron and wound onto a mandrel — powered by hydraulic lifts — then lowered through two sets of scrubbing brushes while it is sprayed with water. The mandrel is reversed and the fabric is given a second wash as it passes back through the brushes; a soft rubber squeegee removes the bulk of the moisture before the tent is buffed and polished by drying brushes. The Kit C-A-T, which cleans at a rate of 1,100 feet an hour and recycles the water it uses, requires two people to operate it — primarily to fold the tent after the cleaning process, notes office manager Linda Watts.


While chairs themselves are small, cleaning them can be a big job. Chapin, S.C.-based L&M Manufacturing Co.'s CleanChair Washers “clean folding chairs better than hand-washing in a fraction of the time,” says company president Arthur J. Luongo. The CleanChair I can wash 600 chairs per hour; the Mini CleanChair washer can handle 300 chairs per hour; and the El Nino model cleans 75 chairs per hour. The company has recently introduced chain drive to all units to make them more reliable and easier to maintain, Luongo notes. L&M provides its rental and catering company clients with instructional videos that explain how to operate the machines.

Advanced Tent has also introduced the Clean Floor Machine, which cleans debris from most styles of plastic roll-out flooring and turf protection systems. After the flooring is fed into the rollers, pressure water jets and two sets of scrubbing brushes scour deep into the tiles, cleaning a minimum of 32 square feet per minute. The machine, which can be operated by a single person, requires a work area of 50 feet by 10 feet. It recycles its solutions and uses little to no chemicals, Watts notes, which means the flooring won't burn the grass the next time it is used.


Advanced Tent Technology, +61 8 8243 1000; L&M Manufacturing Co., 803/781-4964; Teeco, 877/712-9172

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