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The future of laundry dispensing systems


John Goetz, Global Product Manager at Hydro Systems, reflects on just how far the laundry process has come and how automated systems are developing to deliver a range of new benefits.


The laundry process has changed beyond all recognition. It’s a long way from metal washboards and soap flakes to the current reliance on industrial washing machines and liquid detergents. However, new technology is only likely to accelerate this process of change. Because larger facilities like hotels and hospitals run their own On-Premise Laundry (OPL) programmes, the commercial laundry industry has exploded.


Industrial laundries are also very busy establishments. On a daily basis, an average-sized laundry plant processes anywhere from 8,600 to 29,000 kilograms of laundry. As the volume of laundry processed increases, facility managers have found themselves required to take on more responsibility. Using innovative technology and equipment – like dispensing systems – is the only way they can keep up with the demand.


Advances in sensors, computing power and connectivity are making dispensers smarter and delivering additional benefits to laundry facilities. Laundries of all sizes now have the tools to improve textile care, enhance safety and reduce their environmental footprint. It is important for managers to understand what advanced equipment is already available and to keep informed on upcoming capabilities.


The dispensing evolution


The first chemical dilution system was a simple unit that screwed onto the end of a tap. Unfortunately, it was easy to tamper with, was negatively affected by water pressure and allowed chemical back into the water supply. Advances in washing machine and dispensing technology began in the 1970s, improving motor control, enhancing productivity levels and allowing for greater dosing precision. By the 1990s, most machines incorporated microcomputers that helped control wash times, extract speeds and detergent dispensing.


Today, there’s a diverse range of compact and cost- effective systems for a variety of different sized OPLs. The best laundry dispensing systems feature technology to simplify the installation process, reduce maintenance and enhance cleaning results. Some examples include low voltage machine interfaces, pre-wired systems and Auto Formula Select. Recent developments have even allowed certain systems to provide accurate chemical and water


44 | AUTOMATED SYSTEMS


measurements to ensure optimal cleaning results, reduce rewash rates and improve facility productivity.


New technology


The Internet of Things (IoT), a network of connected devices delivering data in real-time, has already begun paving a new path for many industries. The number of devices connected to the IoT is expected to grow from the 15.4 billion devices reported in 2015 to 75.4 billion in 2025. Chemical dispensing systems in laundry facilities continue to be part of this trend.


The IoT enables facility managers to have remote monitoring and control capabilities, making it possible to keep tabs on chemical dispensing, even when they aren’t on site. Smart dispensers ensure there is always adequate water supply and that chemical doses are delivered


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