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Mitsubishi's Jet Towel hand dryer resets the standards for energy efficiency

10 February 2012

The revolution in hand drying has cranked up a gear, with the launch of a new model of Mitsubishi Electric’s Jet Towel, the original high speed, low energy dryer. The 8th generation Jet Towel - the first hand dryer to use high-speed air jets to hygienically dry hands rather than classic, bacteria-harvesting, hot air dryers - is easier and quicker to use; offering extremely high energy efficiency, improved hygiene and an extremely compact footprint.

While high-speed air jet dryers are relatively new introduction to the Western market, the technology has been popular in Asia for 20 years. Throughout this time the Mitsubishi Jet Towel has been at the forefront of technological developments.

Fawn Litchfield, Mitsubishi’s UK Sales and Marketing Executive for Jet Towel, explains: “Unlike a conventional hand dryer, Jet Towel does not use hot air to evaporate moisture from just-washed hands. Instead, it uses a high speed jet of air to blow it off. Hot air dryers can act as incubator-distributors for bacteria while Jet Towel drives the moisture and any germs down into a drain, so is fundamentally hygienic. Additionally it is made with an anti-microbial material on all its major areas.

“Perhaps most significant is that Jet Towel takes from only 9 seconds to completely dry hands, whereas hot air dryers take so long that most people walk off with still damp, germy hands.”

The most obvious change with the new model is that it is notably more compact; 165mm (6.8inches) shorter than the previous Jet Towel. This makes it easier to mount on the wall, and is likely to open up more positioning options in many washrooms. In some cases it can be mounted lower, making it easier to use and more child-friendly.

The Jet Towel is completely non- contact during operation, which improves hygiene; hands are simply inserted into the drying chamber and the air jets automatically switch on. With the Generation 8, extra sensors have been added as children tend to insert their hands from the sides rather than the top.

The drying chamber is also 40% larger than on earlier models; making usage easier for everybody. Jet Towel has always been highly regarded for its quiet operation – making it popular in sensitive locations such as school dormitories, theatres and libraries. Miss Litchfield continues: “Noise levels are down by one decibel to 58dB. This doesn’t sound like much, but is in fact quite significant as decibels are a logarithmic scale rather than linear. Amazingly, despite this the air flow is almost 25% faster, up from 80m/s to 98m/s, which improves drying time.

“You might think that drying your hands doesn’t use much energy, but you need to multiply that by the 3-10 times most people wash their hands daily – and then multiply it again by the number of people using a busy washroom. The bottom line is that, in facilities management, hand drying is expensive unless you use a Jet Towel.”

Earlier models of Jet Towel were always noted for their frugal energy consumption - about one-tenth that of a hot air dryer - and the new unit once again redefines the standard using from only 550 watts. A technical analysis shows that 20% less air by volume is used which, when coupled with a 40% reduction in resistance at the jets, adds up to a 15% saving in energy and reduced running costs.

The cost of running Jet Towels also stacks up very favourably compared to paper towel dispensers or laundering linen towels. Used paper towels are increasingly expensive and of course go to land fill, so are not environmentally sympathetic. In contrast, since March 2011 high speed hand dryers attract tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme.

The Mitsubishi design team has also addressed the hidden costs of maintenance. The new design is sleeker and smaller with fewer joint lines, helping speed up cleaning of the unit.

Miss Litchfield concludes: “Our designers have pulled off the impossible – improving Jet Towel. In any comparison of hand dryers, it is always the stand-out product; now it is even better.”

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