Laundry manufacturers roll out tech to help hoteliers save

Available on all Alliance Laundry System’s networkable UniMac machines, TotalVue lets laundry managers monitor all their machines and their machines' statuses. Photo credit: Alliance Laundry Systems

A hotel laundry will never pay for itself outright. However, developments at laundry manufacturing companies have given hotels ways to improve their operations and cut down on inherent costs like labor, utilities and linen replacement.

Connected Management Systems

One way companies like Alliance Laundry Systems and Laundrylux are helping hotels manage their laundry programs is by using Wi-Fi-enabled systems to give operators more oversight.

Available on all Alliance’s networkable UniMac machines, TotalVue is one of these systems. “Essentially, what it does is it lets laundry managers or hotels monitor all of their machines and their machines’ statuses, their cycles, what cycles are being run, when they’re being run and it also has plenty of reporting on all the things that you would need to know if you’re wanting to look at your laundry operation from a data perspective,” said Jamie Sewell, director of technology engagement at Alliance.

The TotalVue system also provides hoteliers with a few tools to manage their staff more efficiently. While it does offer operators data to see how much they’re spending for certain shifts, Sewell highlighted how managers can also use error reports as training opportunities. “So, if a machine has been kind of underloaded, so if they’re not putting enough linen in a machine, that could be a time that a manager might want to use that information in more of like a training-type way,” Sewell said.

Though Sewell hinted at the possibility that in the future the system may be able to send alerts directly to whoever oversees laundry, she said, for now, TotalVue just offers a real-time overview on the user’s device as well as the option for daily summary emails. “I think in a lot of cases, this is more of they just want to make sure that things are running properly and efficiently,” said Sewell. “I think, to a lot of folks, no news is good news.”

Laundrylux has been field testing a similar program for about a year. The program, according to John Oliveira, VP of sales, on-premises laundry at Laundrylux, “will allow hotel owners to assess the number of cycles that their facility is running, how full these loads are, are there peak times when there’s more cycles being used, so that they can also better staff for peak times and during low times have staff members perhaps do other things within the hotel.”

As an example, Oliveira raised a possible case where a hotel is doing four loads of laundry, all only filled 60 percent. “Why not do three loads completely full?” asked Oliveira. “Without that sort of a tool, in the past, the hotel owner just doesn’t know. So, think about the additional energy, electricity, water, sewer, et cetera—and personnel, which is the most expensive cost. That personnel potentially could be cleaning a room or doing something else within the facility.”

Save on Water

Both Pellerin Milnor Corp. and Laundrylux have introduced features to help reduce water usage in the past few years.

At Pellerin Milnor, this takes the shape of a software feature called RinSave. Standard on all the company’s washer extractors, it uses a “precise G-force” to eliminate a rinse step, according to Ricky Munch, on-premises laundry sales manager at Pellerin Milnor. In doing so, he said the system not only saves water, but also reduces labor costs due to shorter wash time and lowers electricity costs because the G-force process also shortens drying time.

Laundrylux, meanwhile, has introduced technology that will automatically weigh the laundry placed in the washer and then dispense the right amount of water for that poundage. This same feature, said Dan Goldman, national on-premises laundry sales director at Laundrylux, will then also pump in the right amount of soap, ensuring the hotel does not lose money that way either.

Automating the Laundry Process

For larger hotels that may go through thousands of pounds of linen a day—Munch estimated this could be hotels with a couple hundred rooms or more—Pellerin Milnor’s CBW washer automates the laundry process. Using this machine, operators simply put the linen in the system, where it will be washed, extracted, automatically shuttled to a dryer and then discharged into a cart or onto a conveyer belt that takes it to its end destination.

“So when I say automated, it’s because when it goes into the washer, an operator may not touch it again until it comes out the dryer,” said Munch.

Reducing Laundry Footprint

Ed Ziegler, eastern regional sales manager at Girbau North America, said one way Girbau is working to help hotels save is by reducing the size of its machines and thereby decreasing the amount of space a property needs to dedicate to its laundry facility.

“If the laundry can be designed to be more compact and more efficient, that allows then maybe for additional square footage for additional revenue, be another room or be a restaurant,” said Ziegler.

Fully Filling the Machine

Unveiled last summer at The Clean Show and slated to launch this summer, Laundrylux’s Generation 6,000 Electrolux washers will include a built-in scale to help personnel properly load the machine. “As you’re filling it, the controller will provide a percent full,” explained Oliveira. “So you’ll start to put items [in and] you’ll see 20, 30, 40, 50, 70, 80, 90 and once it goes above 100 it won’t start. Then you’ll have to pull things out and watch the percent go back down so that you can start the program."