A platform for the thriving laundry segment in India, Laundrex India — the three-day Show that concluded on January 23, offered unique interaction opportunities to the solution seekers from laundry owners in small towns to laundry chain operators of metro cities and the suppliers.
Finally the Laundry Industry has a platform of its own.” – The positive feedback from both the visitors and exhibitors confirmed the success of India’s first-ever exclusive expo on linen care, Laundrex India. “This is the first time that a show on such a grand scale is being organized in India. I for one, thoroughly enjoyed the show – its contents and my own participation,” said veteran laundry consultant Vijay Rodda.
India’s laundry segment worth over $32 billion, largely unorganised, witnessed the latest range of global laundry equipment besides solutions for stain removal, laundry systems, ironers and many more.
Famous brands in laundry industry were on full display during the show, such as STAHL from Germany; Electrolux Professional, Comestero, ALVI, Trevil srl & Ghidini Presses from Italy; Datamars from Switzerland; Hydro Systems, Unipress, Thermopatch and REMA from USA and Wasmaatic, Quick Clean & Star White from India.
Representing some of the largest players in laundry care, the show offered exclusive interaction opportunity, especially for the retail segment who got to source solutions from a range of vendors at the exhibition. Providers ranging from standalone laundry shop owners in distant small towns to bigwigs of the trade.
Sustainability has a long-term impact on our environment and the generations to come. As stakeholders of the laundry industry, it falls upon the industry players and service providers to take responsibility to give time to nature to recreate itself by limiting the use of natural resources. In a high level panel discussion during LaundrexNet knowledge sharing session held in January 2016, eminent speakers discussed sustainability in laundry. Excerpts:
The Panel Members: Uwe Stahl, Managing Director-Stahl, Germany; Timothy R. Nymberg, Vice President-APAC; Vijay Rodda, Laundry Consultant and Sumeet Verma, Managing Director-Buzil Rossari Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai.
Sustainability in general, depends on two factors – cost and its impact on the society and stakeholders. Cost has various aspects, including primary expenses such as chemicals, water, energy, fuel, salary and machinery. It also involves secondary expenses which include telephone, computer, paper work, packaging and logistics. While, these are some of the expenses that can be moderated and if done so, without compromising on the quality, sustainability increases. Both factors must commensurate with each other for a sustainable business model in any field.
Shri Subhash Desai
“With over one crore people associated, cleaning is an Industry,” said Chief Guest Shri Subhash Desai, Minister of Industries, Government of Maharashtra, while lighting the lamp. The dignitaries present during the inauguration included Toni D’Andrea, CEO of Afidamp Servizi, Michele Redi-President, IPC Ready System; Markus Asch-Deputy CEO, Alfred Karcher GmbH, Peter Hug, Managing Director, VDMA and representatives from all the exhibiting companies.
Speaking to Clean India Journal following the tour of the expos, the Minister said, “I can see a lot of new cleaning innovations and technologies showcased here which will not only makeover the image of cleaning at its core, but will also be instrumental in achieving the Clean India Mission.
“Mumbai is the economic capital of India and we have to make every effort at keeping our city clean and green. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Swachh Bharat is not only the responsibility of a few but of each and every one of us. Today, at Clean India Technology Week, we are witnessing innovations and new technologies that will help us in making rapid strides towards achieving a cleaner India.”
Jayaram Nair, Chairman-Virtual Info Systems Pvt. Ltd, organiser of Clean India Technology Week, said, “Showcasing the latest developments in Cleaning, Clean India Technology Week is nothing less than a celebration for the Industry.
“To bring sustainable change, it is essential to make cleaning commercially viable. Having organised Clean India Shows for over a decade now, Clean India Technology Week moves up to another level; connecting all the dots to ensure the viability and due recognition of Cleaning as an Industry.”
A substantial footfall from varied sectors including healthcare, pharma, airport, business houses, hotels and government department & bodies such as transport corporations and Municipal Corporations besides car wash companies, garage owners and distributors among many others visitors.
Dr. Prashant Narnaware (I.A.S.), Collector & District Magistrate, Osmanabad: The exhibition is very useful for both public and private sector. We saw various innovative technologies with live demonstration that can be used and scaled up for municipal purposes. We would like to connect with some of the providers of cleaning solutions and explore the opportunities for us as well. The will help us in meeting the Swacch Bharat mission.
Bipin Kumar Dixit, Proprietor, B K Builders & Suppliers, Bundelkhand: I am a supplier of cleaning tools and solution in Bundelkhand region. We do face a problem of higher pricing from local suppliers. I am here to seek the possibility of direct linkage from the manufacturers itself to avoid such hassles in future. I have seen some advance equipment and tools at different stalls, which we may procure and introduce to our clients.
Sujay E, Director, Biznustek Systems Pvt. Ltd, Banglore: The show is good and has been meeting all our expectations. I was looking for some manufacturers to prepare spare parts that could be adopted by us to serve out our automation clients.
Prakash Ghodas, Housekeeping Personnel, BARC: I have been working as a housekeeping personnel at BARC for the past 40 years. I came here to see some of the best available hygiene solutions for common and exclusive uses too, and must say the expo has a variety of products to meet our demand.
K Santosh Kumar, Regional Business Manager –West, Dabur India limited: Dabur is not an exclusive supplier of cleaning solution though some of our brands like Odonil and Fem fall in that category. I am here to look for associates to distribute these two products specifically. The expo has exhibitors from different categories and provides good exposure to all stakeholders.
Vainsun Ng, Managing Director, CT Corporation Ltd., China: I am here to understand cleaning market of India, the product range available and other prospects related to same domain. We are into facility management services in China and cater to various sectors. This expo definitely gives a glimpse of the huge cleaning market potential in India.
Ahmadaly Fazal, Managing Director, Daitona General Trading LLC: Many of our partners are exhibiting in this show. I came here to see Made India products specifically the innovation and technology incorporated in those products. I met 70-80% of my expectations here. This is a nice expo though certainly few things can be added to the existing format.
N Sushil Kumar, SGM, TechNova Imaging Systems (P) Ltd, Raigad: I have attended previous expo too and this one is much bigger than that with wider range of products and varieties. We are looking for liquid-based cleaning solutions for our industry premises and the demand is met by the exhibitors here.
Mithilesh kumar, Housekeeping In charge, Softech Pharma, Daman: I have been in cleaning expo first time. We are looking for some good cleaning solutions and equipment for our company to clean our premises. I have found some really good liquid based and mechanical cleaning systems, which we will introduce for internal cleaning purpose.
B Abhishek, Business Development Officer, Sai Shanmukha Agencies, Vijaywada: We are into the business of supplying cleaning solution since four years with clientele varying from various private players to government agencies. This expo is much bigger than the previous edition, and provides better exposure to the cleaning professionals. I have figured out some new models to introduce in our fleet.
Ashok G. Deshpande, Manager-Corporate Communications & Administration- Glaxo SmithKline: Being a regular visitor, it is heartening and gives me immense pleasure to see the Clean India Shows getting bigger with each Show and thus the cleaning industry. I congratulate the team India for encouraging the made in India products too.
Sudarashani, Assistant Manager – Corporate Services, DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai: The expo is very good from information and exposure point of view. I was keen to look for some advanced solutions for in-house cleaning purpose. I have figured out them at few of the stalls here and will work out to install a few of them. We had washroom fragrance issues in our office, and I discussed it with some of the exhibitors. They are keen on providing a suitable solution to the same.”
Students Group, Sriram Polytechnic College: We are doing a project on solid waste management technology as a part of our third year curriculum. We found some really interesting concepts that can be replicated in our project. The expo is helpful in terms of getting new ideas that can be a part of our projects.
Antony K P, Housekeeping In-charge, Maulana Hospital, Malapuram District, Kerala: This is first time we have visited in cleaning expo. We are looking for some high end cleaning solutions for our hospital premise. We met here various exhibitors who can fulfill our specific requirements.
Nitin Rokade, ShreemTech Solution, Kohlapur: We are industrial traders and suppliers from Kolhapur. I found many liquid based solutions and equipment that can be introduced in our supply material list. The exposure was good.
Kiran Vijay Dani, Business Development Manager (I&I), Mumbai: We are planning to foray into cleaning solutions market at regional level beginning from Maharashtra. I see here many of our competitors too. I attended the Indore Expo too, but this one is much bigger and better than that. We look forward to plan for a stall in next Expo.
Charuchandra Dewasthlae, Eximious Ventures P Ltd., Thane: We are a provider of building maintenance solutions to ensure zero discharge at building premises. I am specifically looking for solid waste management technology and advanced cleaning solutions. This is a good attempt at large to showcase the cleaning technology and solutions under one roof.
“It is for the first time that I am visiting such a grand cleaning show. We are focussed to make Bhopal among the top 20 smart cities of the country and implement Swachh & Swasth Bhopal. I truly feel this is the right place to achieve the same. We have identified various road sweepers and waste management solutions and have invited them to Bhopal for further talks.”
There were a lot of good products on display at the Show. I found car-care expo quite innovative and very informative section. If we could have some cost effective versions, then they would be definitely do well in the Indian market.
I have been at the earlier edition of the Show too. This time, besides cleaning equipment and tools, I am happy to see such a large space being devoted to other sections like Car Care, Laundry and even for Waste recycling too. I congratulate the organizers of Clean India Expo for their untiring efforts to bring these issues to the forefront and provide a platform for the Indian cleaning industry.
It is a focused and niche show and we got to witness some of the innovative, best and latest technologies. The Expo is very helpful in terms of finding relevant agencies/companies who could provide cleaning equipment & tools especially for hospitality sector. We found Eurosteam’s products very useful and compatible for cleaning residential areas. It is a great Show to witness some of the latest technologies in cleaning industry.
The Expo has managed to draw the attention of each and everyone associated with the sector. The showcasing of different kinds of industrial sweeper was particularly interesting. Indeed an excellent effort.
Clean Technology Week offered a great avenue to learn about the upcoming developments and for meeting relevant people. The show gave a good exposure to cleaning chemical suppliers like us to expand our area of operations.
I have been visiting Clean India Expo for the last two years, and have seen the show growing in stature, participation and even in the quality of visitors. It provides a seamless platform for all the major stakeholders of the cleaning industry – solution providers and end-users. Even the conferences/seminars have become an important and successful forum for exchange of information on the core issues.
The laundry care segment has some of the best and advanced systems and it was good to see innovative technologies showcased. We were also able to meet quite a few laundry system providers. In fact, the entire event was informative and more technology oriented which is a step in the right direction.
Cleaning Technology Expo is definitely an ideal platform to bring together the technology providers and different end users including the housekeeping and facility management companies. We are looking for original system/ product manufacturers who have the expertise, capabilities and experience in the specific field to cater to restaurant/catering services.
Setting up a commercial laundry is not just simply buying a washing machine. You need to buy a laundry equipment which is energy efficient, reduces manpower and is safe for operations. The technology is already evolved and available in the European and American markets. It is only a matter of adopting that technology and implementing them in India. At present, the market is little immature but is slated for exclusive growth in the near future. If you look at the market dynamics today, there is a lot of interest that is being generated from various quarters which were not even expected. Laundry Care Expo is just the beginning…
Commercial laundry is a multi-step process. The dirty clothes are collected- most of the companies do home collection- sorted, then washed and processed in huge batches. The toxicity of the detergent, excessive water usage and the refuse generated are reasons for hazard in commercial laundry. With the evolution of zero stain washing powders, cakes and quick-wash machines, the cost of energy that is spent is also getting figured in the looming crisis.
In view of the refuse it generates and the resources it consumes, commercial laundry leaves an indelible, ecological footprint. However, particularly in a country like India, laundry is an integral part of the daily routine. A few eco friendly detergent manufacturers and laundry companies tell Vijayalakshmi Sridhar how to include sustainability in the essential laundry process.
“Laundry is a vicious cycle that invariably results in a host of adverse consequences and the main miscreant in the process is the detergent,” says Preeti Sukumaran, Co-Founder, Krya, an eco friendly FMCG brand.
Sunita Jaju, CEO, Rustic Art, an environmentally sensitive brand explains the kinds of damage that are inflicted on the environment when the detergents are washed into the flow of the sewage. “Phosphate-containing detergents can create algae blooms in fresh water. These in turn use up the oxygen available for aquatic life. The surfactants in detergents with their artificial colors which are toxic to aquatic life, persist in the environment and break down into additional toxic byproducts. The reduced surface tension of water also makes it easier for aquatic life to absorb pesticides, phenols and other pollutants in the water. The optical brighteners that do not bio degrade can cause allergies and skin or eye irritation. Moreover, the dust present during production and transfer of the bulk powdered detergent (and powdered raw materials) and the volatile organic emissions are serious problems to the environment.”
“ The washing is done using natural detergents and minimal use of water. The used water, which is chemical free can be used for the garden. The cleaned garments are packed in bio-degradable poly delivery packs. We are planning to convert drying of clothes into 100% eco-friendly process by using solar energy for the same.”
With time and western influence, laundry is overdone in India. Being high in enzymes, stain removing and whitening agents, today’s detergents are over engineered for Indian use, for the colors and nature of fabric. Also, the quantity of detergent used in machines has gone up dramatically. “From 45 grams in 2003, now the amount is 90 grams per wash,” Preeti tells us.
But, there is a ray of hope amid the distress. Ten years ago, when the damage was talked about openly, the public response was close to nil. Eventually, the revolution in organic food products has certainly accelerated the awareness and led people to question the sustainability quotient in all other products used every day. Today the industry and the general public are waking up to the environmental and health hazards effected by laundry. Arjun Sharma, who runs Laundry Prime, an eco friendly commercial laundry in Noida is a proof of emerging India’s changing mindset. Arjun explains how he has established a sustainable process at his laundry his future plans. “We are mindful of the waste products our business creates, and the way it uses resources. So far we have achieved a sustainable cycle in collections, washing and packaging. Our collections are done in cotton bags, which are then put in bigger carry bags. The washing is done using natural detergents and minimal use of water. The used water, which is chemical free can be used for the garden. The cleaned garments are packed in bio-degradable poly delivery packs. We are planning to convert drying of clothes into 100% eco-friendly process by using solar energy for the same.”
“The sensitivity is coming through,”says Preeti. She shares consumer interaction by saying that Krya users, including the general public, designers and clothing brands are instinctive eco positive converts. “The Swachh Bharat campaign is indeed a trend-turner. The change is identifiable in commercial laundry detergent manufacturers too. The attempts to add natural and herb based ingredients in detergents has been a positive, hope giving change. Back in 2003, when the city faced an acute water crisis, Surf came up with a low foam product to suit the water efficiency, electricity efficiency and far less usage. ” Preeti highlights the water positive quality of Krya detergents that are made with traditionally-used, natural herbs and soap berries. “Krya detergents suit the gray water system and are widely used in Bangalore. There the washed water is used to water the garden. We have an entire breadth of product options to choose from and customers can try across the range.”
“Customer expectations are always high in the industry. They expect clean, professionally done laundry and timely delivery too. ”
Rustic Art Laundry range has Soap nut powder or liquid and powders made of natural chemicals like soda ash and minerals like Borax. It also has power laundry for general use, little laundry for delicate fabric, bio liquid laundry (Made of oils with saponification process for delicate fabrics), bio laundry bar made of oils with saponification process. “The whole range is free of fillers, foaming agents, synthetic fragrances, brighteners, enzymes, bleach,” says Sunita.
Though the high awareness prompts a changeover, it is not easy for commercial laundry brands to turn green. Suchithra Nair, interior designer and owner of Laundroroom, a recently launched self service laundry in Chennai lists the challenges thus. “Customer expectations are always high in the industry. They expect clean, professionally done laundry and timely delivery too.” Eventually Suchithra, also a green advocate, has plans to use natural detergents and solar panels for power supply and recycle used water.
Arjun suggests an alternative to commercial washing and the roadblocks in adapting to it. “Organic dry cleaning, that can be done using non-toxic and non-hazardous product is safe for air, water and soil. But, it is not feasible for the price-conscious Indian consumers. “The price difference between the natural and commercial products is a hugely discouraging factor,” points out Sunita.
Preeti highlights the need to work on the brass tacks and tighten regulatory instruments to support and promote sustainability. “There is no regulation or license needed in India to manufacture detergents or disclose the ingredients.”
Arjun believes in reaching more consumers by being a tech-efficient brand with ease of process and offering a fine end user experience. In addition, he does his bit to popularize eco friendly laundry too. “We do guide the consumers how they can contribute indirectly towards their environment and water storage if they take Laundry Prime services. In fact, we help them with ways to do home laundry conserving water and avoiding hazards by using eco-friendly products. The awareness is certainly building up. Even among brands, mindful product building is also rising steadily.”
Rustic Art reaches out to the public to create more awareness. It ranges from discussing ways to save water to explaining why synthetics are bad. Sunita updates us on their approach. “We counsel them patiently regarding why natural has to be the norm of the life to sustain a healthy population on a healthy planet. Natural food, clothes, housing, home care and personal care products should rule the market and the heart of the consumers to minimize and regain the lost glory of the planet.”
Generation Next has to necessarily adopt a chemicalfree lifestyle, opines Sunita. “Natural has to be the norm of the life to nurture and sustain a healthy population on a healthy planet. Natural food, clothes, housing, home care and personal care products should rule the market and the heart of the consumers to minimize and recapture the lost glory of our planet earth.”
“We are the future,”Preeti is sure. As fresh water sources are shrinking, a lot of ecosystems are damaged. Consumers will wake up to the use of natural products and the government will also tighten the rules. “Life changing verdicts will be issued and very soon, natural products usage will no longer be a choice but a norm,”she says with conviction.
Railways, the world’s largest network of transportation, carries over 23 million passengers daily across the country. Chugging through ‘tunnels’, it has been constantly evolving to roll out washed and clean linen to its long and short distant passengers. Suprita Anupam extracts detailed information of linen passing through the washers at Indian Railways and presents an exclusive feature on the facts and figures of Railway laundry.
Be it ‘Palace on Wheels’ one of the costliest and best trains providing world class facilities or the ‘Garib Rath’, an Express with AC coaches at affordable prices, Indian Railways – the lifeline of Indian commuters – chugs ‘Up and Down’ to meet the varying requirement of its passengers.
One of the varied and most essential requir ements of long distance passengers today is clean linen besides clean coaches and clean washrooms. The most-used running towel or bedroll in the AC coaches is a haven of bacteria, fungus and yeast. The microbes thrive in damp environment and on use may rub off dead skin cells too. Such towels can transmit pathogens causing skin and eye infections. Moreover, pale white bed sheets and towels give an unpleasant travel experience.
The laundry practices at IR saw a change after 2009, when it felt the urgency of having in-house mechanized laundries. By 2013, the Railways had only about 21 in house laundry set ups but many of them were manual. Merely 30% of linen supplied on IR had been brought under these existing laundries, rest were being outsourced with poor monitoring and quality control.
With complaints from across zones, IR then decided to bring 42 additional mechanized laundries, covering 90% of the linen under the scheme to ensure clean linen for its passengers. Alongside, it adopted specific best practices to provide uniform results.
PP Singh, ADME- Mumbai Central Division, explains the IR guidelines being followed to monitor the quality of linen per wash.
Behind the curtains, local issues have always been dominant, be it for water supply or for getting the right vendor or most importantly, for economic viability. Central Railway GM S.K. Sood explains, “Firstly, we need to ensure the right quality of clean linen as per the given set of standards. Secondly, we have to keep it under the budget of `25 per use which was fixed about 15 years ago and had not been revised over the period.”
With over 7,500 AC coaches, 90 million bedrolls used annually, Indian Railways is the largest consumer and market for the Indian laundry segment. Working towards bringing 90% of its current linen use under in-house laundry setup, IR has 38 working plants and about 26 more are under the installation/ planning stage.
The washing costs then were merely 12-15 per bedroll and the rest was the cost of linen. By 2005-06, the cost had increased to around `30. Resultantly, the quality of cleaning too was not satisfactory.
“This was the time to economies and resale the cleaning & hygiene of linen and time to have in-house laundries based on economy of scale. The economy of scale in laundry helped reduce our cost from `30 to `18-20.
However, now the cost is almost `25. This includes the cost of bedrolls too. Considering the approximate lifespan of a bedroll at 100 washes, the capital cost per bedroll is around `5 per use and washing at `20-21. We might have to increase charges post two to three years.”
“We have two types of laundries — front loading washer extractor and the Tunnel laundry system. This system is very economical compared to manual washing.”
Mechanized laundries have already been set up in the yards at Mumbai, Howrah, Sealdah, two in Kamakhya, Lucknow, Varanasi, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Tatanagar, Indore, Junagarh, Durg,Bilaspur, Samastipur, Danapur and Jabalpur, including three state-of-the-art laundries on Built Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) model through private investment at Chennai, Ahmadabad and Wadi Bunder (Mumbai). From 2013-14 till date, 13 additional mechanized laundries have been set up.
Western Railway, the biggest linen consumer among all the 16 zones, has five in-house laundries with a total capacity of washing 31,000 bedrolls daily. This includes a laundry each at Ahmedabad (16,000 bedrolls daily), Mumbai (6,000/day), Indore (4,000/day),Junagadh(3,000/day) and Surat (2,000/day).
The railways architecture is fascinating. So many variables! Some of the divisions have got no laundry facilities while some have multiple. Vashishta Johri, GM-Southern Railway, explains, “Gradually we are shifting to our own in-house laundries to various models – either we set up departmentally or under BOOT. Laundry requirements at a location depend on the number of major trains originating from there. This is because linen is loaded to trains at their originating points.”
“The South Central Railway (SCR) has got two mechanised laundries at Kacheguda and Secunderabad. Recently installed 12-tonne mechanised laundry has a capacity of washing 24,000 bedsheets, 12,000 face towels and 12,000 pillow covers per day. It is expected to meet the requirements of Secunderabad and Hyderabad divisions of the zone,” says S. Siddeshwara Rao, EME-Planning, SCR..
“Installation of mechanised laundry @ IR helped sustain the cost of bedroll cum wash for approximately 20-25 years.”
As per the railway guidelines, the contractor must ensure a minimum level of whiteness index at all times for all the constituents of the linen kit. The contractor must ensure that used linen as uploaded from the trains, must be washed and made available for train services within 48 hours. Railways too have to make proper assessment of daily requirements of washed linen kits.
The contractor must accordingly ensure enough buffer stock to cater to the requirements of at least two to three days so that the train services is not affected.
There are provisions for penalties, if the service is sub-standard. For example, if during the sampling checks, it is found that hygiene quality is not satisfactory, a penalty of `3 per article can be imposed on the contractor, apart from non-payment of washing charges. G.C. Agrawal, GM-Western Railway avers, “At WR, laundries are being operated by proficient agencies and the cleaning chemicals have been chosen after lab tests by RDSO in Lucknow, to ensure high levels of cleaning and hygiene. The laundries are sanitized daily and Railway inspection staff are deployed with instruments to measure the quality of each stage of the cleaning and the packing processes.”
Speaking about chemicals and detergents being used, he says, “All cleaning chemicals have been chosen by RDSO after extensive laboratory testing. These include the Diversey and Ecolab brands of cleaning chemicals. Liquid detergents with optical brighter STD, chlorine bleach, liquid neutralizer and alkaline builder are used for bedsheet and pillow cover. Liquid detergents with optical brighter STD liquid emulsifier concentrate STD, chlorine bleach, liquid neutralizer fabric softener concentrate and alkaline builder are used for cleaning the face towels.”
At Indore, “chemicals that are used for linen cleaning are: Clax-2005 (Eco. Star D. Stainer), Clax Universal, Clax Hypo (Sodium hypochloride), Eco Star Oxibright, Clax-CID, Clax Soft and Clax Build (Eco Star Builder),” explains Ajay Thakur, CPIO-Ratlam Division.
What is BOOT model?
Laundries under BOOT model are installed under a public-private partnership (PPP) project. According to IR circular, a minimum workload of 75% of the average daily requirement (calculated on a monthly basis) is the assured off take from the laundry and payments to the contractor for this volume is guaranteed (subject to penalties and other conditions for non-satisfactory performance). The infrastructure and facilities to be provided by the contractor for setting up of the mechanized laundry must have a cushion/ margin to cater to an increase of up to 25% of the estimated workload, during the contract without incurring any additional cost.
For smaller capacity laundries, washer cum extractor, tumbler drier and flatbed ironer/ calendaring machines are approved models and for large capacity, tunnel type washers have been approved.
Having witnessed the success of Chennai based laundry installed under BOOT model with better quality at lower prices, the SR are in the process of installing more laundries at Madurai, Coimbatore, Mangalore, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram. Other zones too have come up with plans to install more laundries.
“Currently, four laundries are operating under BOOT; 15 installations are in process and would be operational by 2016,” says Anil Kumar Saxena, Additional Director General- PR, Indian Railways.
“Stains & dyes at times could create washing issues. However, the mechanized laundry is aptly handling these stains, as clothes are further segregated and sent to the detergent area of the tunnel washer again. Chemical provider Diversey too has made some new customised chemicals, especially for heavily stained clothes, only for Indian Railways,” says Sood.
As far as the technology is concerned, “I would not say that there is a big change awaiting, as the present technology seems sound to tackle all the issues. Having said that, over a period of time, washer extractors might shift to the tunnel technology owing to increasing water scarcity. This is indeed a big issue, as we have already stopped the washing of coaches and do wet mopping instead.”
Technology/chemicals’ formulation cannot alone flout the essentiality of water in various applications including linen cleaning at IR. “Struggling with water scarcity, we are not even able to clean all the trains as required. To deal with this issue, I have recently commissioned a plant which is generating about five lakh litres of water daily from the city drains and railway colony drains at Sholapur. The water is then recycled to use for cleaning purposes,” says Sood.
New ideas with better implementation! That is all, a startup needs. No matter how ridiculous or crazy it may sound, the startup might work as a shielddrain grenade when it comes to exploring the particular segment it belongs to. Divya Aggrawal, an Engineer and an IIM Alumina, worked in semiconductor zone for a decade before an idea of “Laundrywala” evoked her mind and changed her life.
“The idea of laundrywala is not to compete with other existing service providers, but to bring the service to the common man with ease of access,” says Divya. In short, her company has its legs firmly planted on the ground.
“Working for a big company, I had not been doing much to satisfy my career ambitions. This is when I discussed the idea of laundry on wheel with my cousin Chetan, one of the co-founders. The fruit of entrepreneur-spirit and passion to do it on my own led to LaundryWala about nine months back. From nurturing the concept to bringing LaundryWala to its current firm footing, we have come a long way — from technology experts to ambitious leaders.
To me, the venturous and learning experience associated with journey of LaundryWala superseded every risk involved and I have succeeded in making LaundryWala a brand across the households in Noida.
“According to a KPMG report, Laundry and Dry Cleaning services market is projected to be `200,000cr. The market is highly unorganized. We have narrowed down our focus on a very niche `9,000cr market in top five cities of India for the first two years. In the first leg of our strategy, we aim to establish a strong hold over NCR by the end of 2015 and in the second leg, expand to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad by the end of 2016. To achieve this, we are pivoting our model to be a hybrid structure – a combination of marketplace and owned model where our units will serve as strategic investments and marketplace will help us expand at a rapid pace.
“We have always looked at our journey in two phases. First is figuring out the right operating model and then raising funds to scale it up. So far, we have been in the first phase where we bootstrapped our way along with a small seed-stage investment. The focus was to uncover the customer pain points and establish a service model that solves them. As we enter the investment phase, the emerging challenges we face relate to demonstrating the scalability of the model and build a differentiated business. We have seen some success in early days with a few investors sharing our vision.
“Technology plays a critical role for any business to succeed with process automation being the key ingredient to achieve it. To ensure timely delivery, we need system to react in real time to whatever comes its way. At LaundryWala, we have following systems to ensure the timely delivery:
Our target markets are the working professionals typically in the agebracket of late 20s and the 30s living in good rented houses in Metros. They earn well, care about personal hygiene and appearance, but don’t have time for laundry.
Our main target segment is B2C & B2B2C and we do not intend to provide services to Industrial and commercial segments. Services include daily needs such as washing, Ironing & Dry cleaning. There are other value added services such as starching, charak, saree polishing and bags cleaning.
Equipment & Detergents
We use Fabcare equipment and Diversey’s detergents. We also have a RO treatment plant in place to treat water.
On-demand laundry services market is in nascent stage globally. While start-ups strive to figure out the right operating model, one thing is clear – India with high proportion of young professionals presents a huge opportunity. We are very excited about this space.
Enzymatic detergents are in, chemical ingredients are out. Enzymes have a positive environmental impact because they can replace larger amounts of petrochemicalderived formulations, and their unique catalytic action makes enzymes particularly useful ingredients at low-temperature,” avers G.S. Krishnan, Regional President- India, Novozymes South Asia Pvt Ltd, during an interaction with Suprita Anupam.
Development & Applicability Enzyme applications in detergents began in the early 1930s with the use of pancreatic enzymes in presoak solutions. It was German scientist Otto Röhm who first patented the use of pancreatic enzymes in 1913. Thus, the foundation was laid already in 1913 for the commercial use of enzymes in detergents. Fifty years ago, it was common to boil clothes to remove starch stains. Now consumers can effectively remove stubborn stains in a cool wash. By replacing petroleumbased ingredients and other non-renewables with enzymes and microbial agents, manufacturers can give consumers high-performance cleaning solutions that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve water.
Today, enzymes are continually growing in importance for detergent formulators. Detergent manufacturers are required to supply products that provide better cleaning results with less effort, time and environmental impact. Enzymes can help manufacturers achieve superior technical performance and effectively banish stains of blood, banana, baby food and other sources that are traditionally very difficult to remove.
Enzymes can bring new powerful performance to detergents. Examples include enzymes that enable detergents to maintain the intense colour or whiteness of clothes or that snip away fuzz and pills to keep clothes looking fresh and new. This means that enzymatic technology can be actively used to bring new products to market and help manufacturers make exciting market claims to differentiate their products.
Enzymes are widely used in laundry and dishwashing detergents and the solutions which improve performance by enabling better stain removal, garment care and general wash. With lifestyle / food habits changing, modern consumer is much more demanding when it comes to the expectations one has from the detergent. This in turn can be addressed only by the incorporation of multienzyme solutions in the formulations and going forward one would expect most of the detergent formulations (if not all) would be enzymatic.
Consumption, efficiency and fabric life
The enzyme preparations like proteases, amylases, lipases and cellulases are considered as indispensable ingredients in these detergents. These components account for the major portion of the market for various cleaning applications. The cleaning ability of these formulations is mainly due to the synergistic action exhibited by the different detergent ingredients and the enzyme-preparations.
Now-a-days, the use of enzyme-based detergents in preferred over the conventional synthetic ones in view of their better cleaning properties. And as mentioned earlier, we believe that cold water washing will become the norm one day and that the degree of surfactant replacement will continue to increase.
By providing our customers attractive alternatives one traditional ingredients, we enable them to help steer the market toward greener detergents with fewer chemicals and high-performance household care solutions. The ultimate goal would be that enzymes are recognized as a seal of quality in the detergent business. Already, some manufacturers are promoting the use of enzymes on their packaging.
Novozymes’ readily biodegradable enzyme solutions for detergents are an alternative to traditional chemical ingredients, allowing manufacturers to produce laundry detergent that gives consumers cleaner, whiter, brighter and softer clothes. Our ‘Household Care’ offers a variety of enzymatic innovations that are an alternative to traditional laundry detergents. Our enzymes deliver powerful stain removal, whiteness (color) and fabric care benefits in an environment friendly manner and cleaning effectively at lower wash temperatures.
The most widely used detergent enzymes are hydrolases, which remove soils formed from proteins, lipids, and polysaccharides. Cellulase is a type of hydrolase that provides fabric care through selective reactions not previously possible when washing clothes. Looking to the future, research is currently being carried out into the possibility of extending the types of enzymes used in detergents. Each of the major classes of detergent enzymes-proteases, lipases, amylases, mannanases and cellulases-provides specific benefits for laundering and proteases and amylases for automatic dishwashing. Historically, proteases were the first to be used extensively in laundering. Today, they have been joined by lipases, amylases and mannanases in increasing the effectiveness of detergents, especially in household laundering at lower temperatures and in industrial cleaning operations, at lower pH.
As market leader, we are constantly expected to bring new innovations to market, which is very demanding of our talented research and development team. Our solutions are developed by combining technical expertise with in-depth consumer insight to stay on top of the trends and continue to offer highly relevant solutions. Some advantages of these detergents are:
Enzyme-based detergent vs Zeolite-based detergents
Enzymes are catalysts, that help make chemical reactions happen more quickly or easily. Generally, they’re added to detergents to make them more effective at tackling tricky forms of dirt that ordinary detergents struggle with. They also help lower the environmental impact of detergents by reducing the need for surfactants. They are widely used in industries. They have specific cleaning action and can also be used at lower temperatures. They produce effluents with lower COD and non-corrosive nature. Enzyme-based cleaners are becoming increasingly popular in the food industry as compared to caustic or acid cleaning regimes.
The enzyme based detergents have better cleaning properties as compared to synthetic detergents. They are active at low washing temperatures and does not lose their activity after removing stain. The enzyme containing detergents also improve the fabric quality and keeps color bright. They are used in small quantity as compared to synthetic chemicals and are biodegradable.
A Zeolite based detergent can also be enzymatic. The challenges faced by detergent formulators to come out with a high performing formulation and at the same time having the product to be environment friendly, can be addressed by incorporating enzymes. With growing ban on Phosphate -based detergent, the introduction of builders are more environment friendly, but not efficient as the wash performance becomes much more dependent on the surfactant levels, choice of surfactant , co builders etc. This can to a large extent, be addressed by introduction of multi-enzyme solutions.
Apart from the microbial enzymes proteases, amylases and lipases, the cellulases have also been recently employed in the detergent industry with an added dimension. The proteases hydrolyse the proteinaceous residues of blood, egg, grass and sweat to form soluble peptides which are subsequently easily removed by detergent suds. The amylases degrade the residues of starchy foods like porridge, potatoes, gravies, custard, chocolate, etc. to dextrins, while the lipases catalyse the hydrolysis of salad oil, sauces, lipstick, etc. The cellulases in the detergents degrade mainly the microfibrils which are generated during continuous use and repeated washings of the garment and also help in restoring the original shine and colour of the garment.
In the last few years, the growth of mechanized laundry in the Indian Railways has been manifold. One of the largest segments requiring linen wash, the Railways, has installed laundry set ups at various zones. Mechanised laundry, commissioned by the Southern Railway and operated by Orion Ventures, washes linen of over 42 overnight trains.
The Comprehensive Linen Management by Orion Ventures for the Southern Railways includes collection of soiled linen, washing in the mechanized laundry, packing, loading in the train, transporting of soiled and washed linen from station to mechanized laundry and vice versa and providing manpower for distribution of linen.
Operating at the Basin Bridge Junction yard provided by the Railways, the laundry was set up at a cost of approximately `117.5 million with an installed capacity of six-tonne (per shift). The laundry involves steam wash, automatic drying, pressing and folding processes. It has the capacity to handle 18 tonnes in three shifts, and it is presently catering for 42 trains on an average per day.
“The Electrolux equipment installed offers energy and water savings, besides high quality wash results and the dryer gives us excellent drying results due to shorter drying cycle and less creasing of linen,” says Arif K, Partner, Orion Ventures.
“The life-cycle of the linen is enhanced with the smart, eco-friendly programs of the equipment. With hygiene of linen being maintained, the number of passenger complaints has come down drastically,” he adds.
There are three Washers (W41100H), two Ironers (C.FLEX 1230.1) and one Dryer (T41200) operating at the Chennai facility. “Electrolux washers & dryers give the owner significant utilities savings and being heavy-duty can withstand the most demanding environments. The very high daily load requires our full service support and expertise in maintaining the equipment lifecycle,” says Saj Kumar, Head of Service, Electrolux Professional India.
Following the success of Chennai operations, Orion has also executed a similar project with Electrolux equipment in Thiruvananthapuram. This laundry, set up near the Kochuveli terminal, is operating on 10,000sqft area and providing laundered bedrolls to eight mail and express trains originating from Thiruvananthapuram Central, Kochuveli and Nagercoil. About 300 bedroll sets, each comprising two bed sheets, one pillow, and a face towel, weighing one kilogramme, can be handled in a single shift. The three-tonne capacity (per shift) automatic laundry involves steam wash and automatic drying, pressing and folding processes. The washer, dryer and ironer have been imported from Electrolux Professional Laundry equipment factory in Sweden.
The Thiruvananthapuram operation, a `100 million investment by Mallapurambased Orion, has around 18 staff members. It is also equipped with an effluent treatment plant to discharge the water from the unit as per Pollution Control Board norms.
Orion is setting up its third unit in Ernakulam.
Together with the Swedish Healthy Firefighters program, Electrolux Professional has developed a new method to decontaminate clothing and other equipment exposed to hazardous substances during fires that cannot be eliminated with a standard concept.
” The Barrier washers are setting a benchmark for all fire brigades throughout Sweden and as a result of the successful collaboration, the method is being shared as a best practice example in other countries.”
Fire fighters are exposed to serious risks on the job, facing heat, flames, physical & mental stress, high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and other toxic risks in the areas around fires. A recent study reveals that the number of cancer cases among Swedish firefighters had risen over the last few years. To tackle therising issue, Electrolux Professional and its branch in Sweden were approached by a group of national organisations including the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and the Swedish Firefighters Union. The Healthy Firefighter, a nationwide programme, set out to find methods to minimize health risks for the country’s firefighters. Electrolux Professional Laundry Sweden worked closely with the Swedish Firefighters Union in the frame of this programme.
Firefighters’ uniforms get in contact with dangerous chemicals during fires and these substances cannot be eliminated with standard washing machines.
Dirty linen is loaded on one side and clean linen is unloaded from another door opening into a separate room, giving functional separation. The barrier laundry system provides the highest level of control and traceability of the process and provides the best defence against the spreading of microorganism and cross infections.
Using an in-house laundry in such environments is more efficient, profitable, reliable and sustainable than relying on external providers. The in-house laundry solutions should be efficient to remove tough stains, soot, blood or oil while preserving important features like welded seams, reflective trims and highest protection with re-impregnation. Special cleanroom solutions support businesses with the highest hygiene demands.
To help find the right process to minimize the risk for health and safety of firefighters in their daily work
A new method to decontaminate uniforms exposed to dangerous chemicals through fumes during fires was developed. The solution implies the use of barrier washers and water soluble bags to decontaminate firefighters’ uniforms from dangerous substances.
The Barrier concept was selected as the ideal solution and best defence against contaminations of uniforms and garments. These washers prevent all contact between dirty and clean
clothing, maximizing clinically hygienic textiles. Unique intelligent features such as Hygiene Watchdog, which ensures that the wash programme is fully completed before the washer can unload on the clean side, allows easy and safe management of the laundry process on the firefighters work premises.
By working closely with real users, in this case the Swedish Firefighters Union and actual firefighters in a station in the North of Sweden, Electrolux has been able to design a solution that perfectly matches their needs and truly makes the difference in their jobs and lives. The method is setting a benchmark for all fire brigades throughout Sweden and as a result of the successful collaboration, the method is being shared as a best practice example in other countries.
Virtual Info Systems Pvt Ltd, the organizer of Clean India Show and publisher of Clean India Journal, is launching the first mega Cleaning Event — Cleaning Technology Week — to be held in January 2016 in Mumbai.
CTW 2016, the first-of-its-kind event, encompasses all aspects of cleaning needed for healthy living.
Under the umbrella of Cleaning Technology Week, five specialised Shows will be held under one roof from January 21 to 23, at the Mumbai Exhibition Centre:
Besides the Shows, high-level international conference on Facility Management — IFM Summit 2016 — will be held on January 20 in Mumbai. At the Summit, eminent speakers and experts from service industry and different segments across the world will discuss the changing business scenario.
Competition & Awards
Clean India Awards 2016
The second edition of Clean India Awards will be given away to winners on January 22, 2016, at a gala event in Mumbai. The entries to various categories will be invited from June 15 to September 30. The nominees will be declared by the expert committee consisting of experienced professionals in the field. The categories of the Awards will be announced in June 2015.
Clean India Challenge
All said and done, the success of any cleaning function depends very much on the workers/janitors at the grassroots level. Clean India Challenge attempts to give a new life to the routine activities performed by the cleaning staff and housekeepers. Quiz Competitions will be held at various levels in different sectors including hotels, hospitals and facility services companies.
The finale will be on January 21, 2016 and the winners will be awarded at the Clean India Awards night on January 22.
The entries to the contest will open from June 15 to July 30, 2015. The competitions will be conducted between July and September, 2015. The shortlisted teams will be announced in November-December 2015.
With self-control features such as leak detection and power saving mode, Alliance Laundry’s Speed Queen stands up to almost all kinds of commercial laundry challenges.
Speed Queen has an established reputation for reliability in numerous existing self-service laundry businesses around the world. A self-service laundry presents a very different opportunity from ‘traditional’ investments that focus on fast food or retail: it does not involve the management of perishable goods or onerous stock issues. In this operation the number of staff required is also reduced. Speaking to Clean India Journal, Marc Forsythe, Country Manager India-Nepal-Bhuntan-Pacific Islands, Alliance Laundry, comments, “SQ controls offer savings in water and power by using features like leak detention and power saving mode. We make no compromises in performance, refuse to be outdone in reliability and efficiency. It is among the most profitable machines in the industry. Our commitment to quality is only matched by our commitment to client’s success.”
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Most hospitals depend upon external laundry services, and are less worried about hygiene in terms of how the linen and uniforms are picked up, the kind of machines they are washed in, packed and delivered.
The author is a veteran with over four decades of experience in the chemical, textile and detergent segments. He is working as consultant for five-star laundries / commercial laundries / health-care laundries / ozone-wash in India & the Gulf.
Hygiene is an issue even in hospitals with in-house laundries, as most of them do not have staff-guard machines. Soiled/dirty/foul linen and uniforms are kept in the same place as clean linen. Thus, spreading infection and pathogens to the clean linen and in turn infecting patients.
Though providing clean and hygienic linen is not the core business of the medical care industry, it has direct influence in enhancing the image and health of any hospital or healthcare institution.
With operations, treatments to open wounds, blood transfusion, and the like, unless hygiene is maintained, there will be huge proliferation of bacteria and the patients as also medical staff will get affected. Hygiene procedures start with sorting of linen.
Globally, laundry is a $100 billion industry including both hospitality and commercial cleaners. Despite technological advances in almost every part of our lives, we’ve been doing laundry the same way for over 60 years. And in fact, today’s traditional washing machines serve more as a way to automate the centuries-old process of beating a garment against a rock in a stream. While the water cost continues to increase, it is high time for laundry operators to think of the corporate sustainability.
What if one could do an even better laundry job and use resources more efficiently at the same time?
Xeros polymer bead cleaning can help deliver water and energy savings for a greener clean, while at the same time delivering cleaner laundry. The company, Xeros Inc, has patented the polymer bead technology for commercial laundry and is now introducing it to the hospitality industry in North America and the UK in phases.
Xeros’ polymer bead cleaning solution routinely out performs traditional “soap and water” washing methods. In addition, there are longer-term benefits when it comes to a reduced need for linen replacement. Since tougher stains are more easily removed, hotels deliver cleaner linen to guests and keep inventory in circulation longer.
These savings are not insignificant, given that approximately five million hotel rooms in the US rack up almost $4 billion in energy bills a year, or about $800 per room annually, according to Ashley Katz, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Green Building Council.
Of the total energy expenses of a property, laundry consumes 17% to 18%. It takes an average eight litres of water to process a kilogramme of linen. With hotels processing close to 3.5 to 4.5 tonnes of laundry a day, it is safe to assume that close to 40kl of water is used on a daily basis, amounting to 14,600 kl per year. The energy used to power the equipment in place to process the laundry amounts to 400 units of electricity per day, increasing the expenses. “Being a Palace Hotel we have about 80 rooms and less quantity of laundry, but we still spend close to र 4.5 lakhs per year on our energy needs,” says Sudhir Mishra, Laundry Manager, The Leela Palace Kempinski, Udaipur.
Automated liquid laundry system reduces instances of wastage and oxygen bleach saves a cycle of water, lowering the annual energy bill for laundry. We spend on an average र 4.5 lakhs per year on our energy needs.
– Sudhir Mishra
A conventional laundry system uses around three gallons of water for every linen processed and this eventually leads to a much higher energy consumption in the process. The wastewater released from such systems contains chlorine, alkali, acid, surfactant, soil, BOD, COD & VOCs. This calls for increased water treatment, requiring additional energy to filter it. This is where ‘green laundry’ comes into the picture.
‘Green’ determines the ‘Eco’ quality of a system based on the measuring parameters – energy, carbon footprints, water (considering that usable water is limited) and environmental quotient. Thus, for a system to be cent percent green, the net harm to the environment must be zero, inhibiting the use of harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde that causes cancer (EPA reports).
New technologies, be it compressed heat pump technology, ozone laundry system, use of windmills or solar panels on the roof have made ‘green laundry’ adoptable and feasible. Some of the recent advancements such as flying windmills powered by nano-tethered tubes, affordable solar panels and wave energy, have made hotels nearby sea to consider economically attractive green fuels.
Outsourcing – Yes and No. In general, outsourcing decision in new hotels is already made during the design stage. These decisions are made without any commercial laundry market evaluations. Finally, new hotels have to live with these decision and you have to work with a third party laundry.
A lot of commercial laundries work with the same / comparable equipment like hotels. Ultimately they have no operational cost benefits. In addition, they have to invest in the equipment as well in the facility (building, trucks, etc.)
Most hotel brands operate as a managing company and the owner of the building has to pay / invest in the equipment and space (new & replacement). The hotel operator itself who has to pay the laundry bill (operational cost) has no investment / depreciation in equipment and has to bear only the maintenance costs.
Our experience in 5-star rated hotel shows, that it is possible to reduce the operational costs by 25% without any investment in new equipment and the same number of staff. If you reduce the operational costs on a professional way it is also possible to increase the quality and hygiene at the same time.
The forthcoming Clean India Show from December 13 to 15 at KTPO in Bangalore will have a pavilion for the laundry segment, thus providing an exclusive platform for the growing linen care in India.
20-22 Feb 2019