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A real-time connection to laundry systems

27 August 2019

Hydro Systems takes a look at the latest real-time technologies that are enabling laundry operators and chemical suppliers to run their businesses more efficiently

In the commercial laundry sector operating to tight margins is second nature and drives the necessity to operate at maximum efficiency, while processing ever larger volumes of laundry. 

Selecting the right chemical dispensing system is just the beginning of optimising production cycles. For laundry managers, maintaining a competitive edge requires an understanding of technological advances in the sector, how dispensing systems are evolving, and the way this impacts on laundry operations. 

Aiming for continuous improvement 

Many laundries are still reliant upon historical reports or hand-written logs to detail productivity, chemical usage, and volume of loads, costs and alarms. By the time a problem is identified, hours, shifts or even days of loss-making may have gone unrecorded. Being able to automatically assess these KPIs quickly and seamlessly enhances a laundry’s total cost-effectiveness. 

Being onsite 24/7 is not possible. A real-time system receiving operational data as it occurs is key to improving efficiency, reducing costs and quickly identifying problems to drive continuous improvement. Immediate access to data enables proactive adjustments to be made. It improves visibility of how performance expectations are being met; all the while reducing errors, minimising downtime and protecting a laundry’s bottom-line.

Smarter dispensing systems are the result of advances in sensors, computing power and connectivity. Additional benefits for laundries of all sizes include tools to improve textile care, enhance safety and reduce their environmental footprint. 

Identifying problems in real-time

The Internet of Things (IoT), a network of connected devices, has offered new solutions for laundry operations. A cloud-based platform can send and receive data in real-time and give chemical providers and end-users increased visibility into their operations.

The IoT enables laundry 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 precisely, all of the time. They provide safety checks to protect equipment, employees and an entire laundry facility. If a leak arises, managers will receive an alert and can take immediate action to reduce the risk of damage or needless downtime. 

Data from sensors provides unique insight into the laundry process and delivers benefits which allow facilities to identify errors, reduce their reoccurrence and improve productivity. These include proactive alarm reporting - which flags up abnormal conditions causing profit loss - and the elimination of out-of-date paper logs. Metered usage reports on chemical product and formula can simplify and improve the accuracy of billing. In addition, rapid access to a snapshot of the chemical cost by formula enables targeting of unprofitable formulas or accounts.

Laundries can eliminate hours of data analysis. Services, such as the review of monthly data by manufacturers, can deliver insights and recommendations which enable facilities to reduce rewash and optimise cleaning results. Taken together, these tools enable laundries to digitally transform their operations. The enhanced visibility allows them to cut costs, reduce rewash and deliver consistent, reliable results.  

New developments improve efficiencies

New capabilities to further improve efficiencies are being developed. Ongoing data streaming removes guesswork about which formula is running, the success of each chemical, or whether hygiene compliance is being met. Alarm thresholds can be set to receive notifications if one or more are triggered, reducing downtime and rewash rates, while addressing larger issues that affect profitability.

Scalable solutions that operate across multiple cleaning environments and which provide a reliable and secure platform and enhanced knowledge to help laundry business operations are proving valuable tools for both tactical, day-to-day monitoring and monthly management summaries. 

These will help laundry operators and chemical suppliers run their businesses more efficiently, cutting back on wasted product, emergency maintenance calls and expensive repairs. It also enables facilities to reduce costs, optimise production and increase customer satisfaction, while supporting long-term sustainability targets.