Marquee Cleaning Machine: How Does It Work?


  Posted by: Chief Editor, Selmore - Marquee Hire, on September 4, 2017 6:03 pm Leave your thoughts
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Marquee Cleaning Machine: How Do They Work?

The use of marquee cleaning machines is now a standard practice for many hire firms seeking a quick and professional turnaround

Whilst there are a variety of methods for cleaning PVC marquee covers, a marquee cleaning machine

is popularly touted among many in the industry as delivering by far the most effective finish.

These highly technical pieces of equipment are purposefully engineered to handle the large & otherwise cumbersome canopy materials with relative ease.

With various machine manufacturers and a handful of variations on the theme in operative function, a marquee cleaning machine generally works according to the following points:

  • Pre-clean
  • Sheets brushed and washed 
  • Drying and proofing

Such machines often can be operated by just one labourer.

This equipment also greatly reduces cleaning time compared with manual cleaning methods - thus saving significant operational expense for marquee hire companies.

Professional services offering a marquee cleaning machine

There are a number of marquee cleaning companies throughout the world using such machinery. Some primarily are marquee hire companies, who thought it wise to buy the kit.

Marquee cleaning firms take away stress of keeping stock pristine. They receive incoming used marquee materials and turn them around asap, arranging return of cleaned stock to hire firms premises.

We hope the following article serves to assist you in understanding how this whole thing would work...

The machinery

Marquee cleaning machines are slightly different, one to another, but essentially the principal theme is common.

  • Ample size to accommodate to dimensions of the marquee canopy...
    • ...the width of the machine must at least the width of the item to clean (in some cases, sheets can be folded multiple layers thick and cleaned without compromise) Most machines are able to receive either a 5m or 6m wide cover (approx. upto 20 foot)
  • A roller...
    • ...automatically gathers sheets and rolls them up in order to be carried into and out of the brushing apparatus
  • Two tanks...
    • ...one for detergent and another for rinsing. Thousands of litres of water mixed with liquid cleaning chemicals are required for operation
  • Brushes...
    • ...the mechanised brushes and buffs are combined with sprays for the scrubbing of PVC marquee sheets
  • Air dryers...
    • industrial air dryers which drive huge amounts of focused hot air on the sheets, blasting all water clean out of the fabric restoring the canopy back to dry
  • Folding table...
    • ...at the end, having completed the marquee cleaning process, the sheet is gradually layered down, folded on a table from which the cleaning operatives will carry the sheets to be prepared for return

Static vs. mobile marquee cleaning machine - service wash

Logistically, professional marquee cleaning services can be utilised either by dropping off your dirty sheets at the facility for cleaning (...if you haven't got the space to accommodate their mobile unit) or, alternatively if you have the room to host an articulated truck (carefully driven, of course!), most will bring the machine to you.

If you take the mobile route, the machine can be hired on a weekly basis on your site, for a flat fee.

All you'll need, is the affordable labour on hand to fulfil a shift-based, rolling work system for cleaning your stock. Also, to operate the machine on-site ensure you have a 3-phase 32A electric socket, drain and a tap.

If you prefer getting your materials to the cleaner, it is simply a matter of hiring a courier.

The courier collects your soiled covers and drops them off with the cleaner, before returning them in due course.

The cost for a drop-off & collect service is around £70.00 per pallet (up to 200KG in weight and 2m in height folded). Shop around.

Limitations with machine cleaning PVC marquee covers

Surface dirt is where it begins and ends when it comes to machine cleaning PVC marquee covers. Any ingrained mould or mildew, which has set itself between the interwoven layers of the textile, is very difficult if not impossible to uproot.

Prevention is the better stance to take here. Proofing your outermost PVC layer with lacquer or chemical primer will add an impermeable barrier between the environmental threats and your precious covers.

Specialist machine cleaning of marquee covers is strictly for PVC covers. Not for canvas.

Canvas covers will need either hand washing or pressure washing, which specialist PVC cleaners will stay clear of.

It requires a completely different operational set-up, labour costs with separate risks involved.

How does drying work with a marquee cleaning machine?

These machines are really one-stop shop.  They pre-wash, wash, rinse and yes...some of them even they dry!

Certain machines dry using strategically positioned 'air knives' which blow a precision stream of hot air (as indicated by the choice of name) from one end of the sheet to another, forcing out moisture and leaving a crisp PVC sheet behind.

If the type of machine used by the experts is without these built-in dryers, you can alternatively expect a very diligent hand dry finish. Where you have cloth joins, keders and edges in your marquee sheets  - a mild hair dryer is often the method of choice to detail finish the minor parts.

What about the processes and technicalities involved?

There is alot of finer detail involved which, as a conscientious marquee hire company, you will want to know before releasing  your highly-prized operational assets into the hands of a 3rd party 'professional'.

The following was put together in FAQ fashion for the purpose of giving you more info about how this works:

  • What temperature will the PVC be washed at?
    • ...typically around 30-degrees C
  • What if there are focused stains on the covers?
    • ...your cleaning operators will spot-treat such standout areas of soiling
  • What if the sheets are heavily soiled although, not necessarily ingrained though?
    • ...pre-soaking sometimes is done in order to loosen surface dirt before main cycle
  • After brushing, what if my PVC primer is compromised and covers are prone to mould etc.?
    • ...waterproofing will be added to the chemical mix used to clean the sheets
  • What are the maximum temperatures which my PVC covers will be exposed to? Can't they air dry?
    • ...they can air dry, although some cleaning companies will prefer to use built-in blow or roll driers
      • ...when waterproofing has been added PVC will be subjected to 40 degree C heat to activate the waterproofing agent

A few facts and figures about marquee cleaning machines - if you are interested!

The holding capacity of a marquee cleaning machine water tank is huge. Over 2,500 litres of water fills the detergent tank (coupled with detergent solution) which is used and re-used whenever the cycles are run which makes this process quite green (eco-friendly) indeed.

The rinsing tank holds a lesser amount, but equally significant store of 1,500 litres.

There is a carbon filter system which the machine uses to remove debris from the wash to leave your sheets spotless at the finish.

As water and detergent mix is sprayed upon the PVC, there are revolving bristles which effectively, yet gently agitate the surface dirt from adhering onto the covers.

PVC covers will be clipped to a horizontal bar and rolled up. Sensors will automatically start and stop rolling process.

The sheets pass between rollers at 450 rpm and are sprayed with soapy water. Machines are built to avoid leaving the sheets soaking in dirty water.

Wax spray is usually applied as waterproofing.

Where air knives are in use to blowout moisture from your textiles, over 3,740 sq/ft per min of air is driven into the fabric to remove residual water.

Where air knives are not used in the mechanics, 60 degree C heated rollers sometimes are used to present a near pressed, flat finish.

How are marque cleaning machines maintained for peak performance?

Annual services are encouraged and where needed, engineers from the machine manufacturers are available at the end of a phone to direct remotely in self-administered upkeep.

Main issues for machinery maintenance are:

  • Regular greasing of bearings 
  • Water filter changes
  • Oil checks
  • Parts inspection
  • Timing and alignment of brushes

...amongst other things.

Here is a list (...in no particular order!) of the types of companies which offer this marquee cleaning service in the UK...(if we've left you out, if wasn't intentional, please let us know!)

If you are interested to take a closer look at the machinery yourself, and perhaps run some long-term cost comparisons...we've listed some machinery manufacturers below:

Interested to see for yourself how a marquee cleaning machine works?

Havencrown Marquee Cleaning Machines have provided the following in-depth video detailing the stages of cleaning which their machine runs.

If you like the look of what it could do for your PVC covers and want to get in touch with them direct, or find out if they have a cleaning contractor in your region - contact Havencrown.

Have we missed anything? Help us achieve a spotless finish and let us know in commenting below.


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