For Aaladin Cleaning Systems, the future has already started. Eric Peterson reports on the company’s cutting-edge cleaning technologies and efforts for the environment.
The brochure for Aaladin Cleaning Systems’ 13-14 Series portable pressure washers carries the tagline, “You Can Do Magic.” Similarly, the brochure for the 3000, 5000 and 6000 series stationary pressure washers bears the phrase, “Performance That Makes the Difference.”
Anyone using a broad range of industrial products and components knows that eventually, everything gets dirty, sometimes impossibly so. Getting it clean is crucial for maximum function, and for those folks, Aaladin’s slogans ring true. The Elk Point, S.D., company has a product line of more than 100 units and machines — including portable power washers, stationary pressure washers and cleaning systems — designed to clean everything from tiny circuit boards to engine parts to entire food-processing facilities.
One thing that makes Aaladin’s products stand out is that the parts-washer cleaning units use hot or cold water rather than steam, and only the most difficult problems require solvents, according to Sales Manager Randy Wheelock.
Up and Running
Besides cleaning units, Aaladin also builds waste oil burners and waste oil heaters. “We had our biggest year last year, more than doubling sales” in this category, according to Wheelock. “It was probably a combination of the economy and the cost of oil products.”
Aaladin started up nearly two decades ago in Elk Point, in the extreme southeastern tip of South Dakota, on the Iowa border. Original partners Pat Wingen (still Aaladin’s president), Bill Busker and Eldean Kjose got the operation going in a former farm equipment dealership. From there, Aaladin has grown into a 100-employee business housed in a state-of-the-art, 70,000 square-foot manufacturing facility.
Much of what Aaladin produces is sold in North America. It has a growing clientele around the world, especially in Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa. But true to the company’s roots in the American heartland, almost one-third of its sales are to agriculture-related businesses.
Modern high-pressure cleaning systems evolved from the older steam-cleaning process. But as industrial processes and uses have become more demanding, so have the needs and requirements for keeping industrial components in top shape.
“With steam cleaning,” Wheelock explains, “you have to be very close, cleaning a small area at a time. With high-pressure hot water, you don’t have to be as close to the object, and you can change nozzles to adjust the spray cleaning more quickly and effectively.”
The Pressure’s On
The modern technologies used in the company’s product line rely heavily on hot or cold water at pressures from 1,000 to 4,000 pounds per square inch. Where required, the hot water (up to 210 degrees Fahrenheit) or cold water can be combined with environmentally friendly detergents.
“Cold-water units are more of a commodity-type product,” says Wheelock. “When combined with chemicals, they have a wide variety of uses. Hot-water units are really used for deeper cleaning requirements, including the removal of oil and grease. When you combine solvents or soaps, hot-water cleaning is as good as it gets. You can clean virtually any surface.”
Aaladin’s product line includes the series 1700, 3000, 5000 and 6000 stationary pressure washers. Their features include remote operation, variable pressure wands, electronic ignition, timer shutdown and state-of-the-art controls. An Aaladin exclusive in this series is a long-life, fuel-efficient heating chamber with coils made of high-test ASTM A53 steel pipe wound around a spiral helix, with special hot-gas baffling.
The line extends to the 13-14 series portable pressure washers, featuring industrial-strength electric motors, ASTM A53 80 steel pipe heating coils, high-efficiency Beckett Burners and corrosion-proof polyethylene float tanks with chemical metering. Aaladin also decided last year to use pumps produced by the General Pump Company as the “pump of choice” on its washers. “It was what our customers wanted,” Wheelock explains.
Clean in Many Ways
Aaladin’s products also includes a line of aqueous parts washers — the 2000 series automatic parts washers — which use hot water combined with biodegradable detergents rather than solvents. As Wheelock points out, “Solvents are now known to be health hazards, and environmental issues have made solvent washers increasingly expensive to use.”
The features of the cabinet washers include seal-less doors (“When you open the door, 99 percent of the water drains back into the machine,” Wheelock says), larger load heights with built-in head racks, dry floor evaporators with power vents and belt-driven turntable drives.
Finally, the 8000 series hot-water washers are equipped with heavy-duty, removable high-pressure heating elements which “heat water instantly,” Wheelock says. “Our system protection devices monitor water flow, pressure and temperature.”
Aaladin’s products are tested and registered by recognized labs, including the ETL mark, accepted by jurisdictions throughout North America. That mark is also recognized by the three major model building-code agencies — BOCA, ICBO and SBCCI — under National Evaluation Reports QA 219 and TL-513.
Here to Serve
“Safety and service” continues to be the focus of Aaladin’s mission statement, covering the design and manufacture all its products. Responsibility for that mission is firmly in the hands of the company’s engineering and research and development staff, which uses state-of-the-art CAD systems. That philosophy has been in place from Day One at Aaladin.
One component is that “all of our products have been designed for easy serviceability,” according to Wheelock. Makes a lot of sense, and so does the fact that “all of our distributors must have Aaladin-trained service personnel.”
The last few years have been good ones. Aaladin has increased its distributor group by approximately 25 percent, and sales are up 15 percent. A new line of wastewater evaporation products has been introduced. Also, a line of hose reels, produced by Aaladin-owned Steel Eagle Company, will be introduced under the Aaladin brand within the next year. Another innovation is the bucket insulation system, which uses a solid molded basket for the first section of the heating chamber (Wheelock says, “No one else has that feature”). And Aaladin is “concentrating on after-market kits, wheel kits — we’re working on more kits all the time.” As for the future, “we are working on the layout of our shop floor, streamlining our manufacturing to meet the growing demand,” according to Wheelock.
Ultimately, “our challenge is to come up with the next generation of pressure-washing equipment,” he concludes. “Some people in this business think that product development has gone about as far as it can, but we know that’s not true. Our goal is to be the company that comes up with what is truly the next generation of products in this field.”