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Entering the Sustainability era

Demand soars for water, power & detergent efficient solutions

With automation at its peak, the Indian laundry segment is fast entering into the sustainable era. The demand for optimising consumption of water, power and detergent is seen climbing with quality linen care, finishing, technology, etc., trailing alongside. Showcasing multi solutions from washing to recycling supported by technology, the Laundrex India Expo witnessed a high footfall from across industries. Speaking to the stakeholders of the industry, Clean India Journal captured the trends in the Indian linen care space.
Read on.

A laundromat has to be affordable to both the investor and the business’s customers,” said Anshul Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, Quick Clean Laundry Systems. “Hence, we offer users technology, including automatic saving system that weighs the load before the cycle and uses water accordingly. The dryers are equipped with sensors and an automatic heat cut off system, so that one pays only for the energy used in drying garments.”

Said Ayush Khanijo, Director, Orgaearth Cleansol Pvt. Ltd.: “We have introduced new, advanced, environment-friendly and energy-efficient washer extractors, that consumes lesser chemicals and water, leading to better profits margins. We have also introduced a low temperature oxygen bleach which helps save on utility costs during washing.”

Instead of offering selective savings in utilities consumption, exhibitors offered savings across the board. Krishna Moorthy B, National Sales & Marketing Head – Industrial Business, IFB Industries Ltd. showcased the Xeros laundry machine, which cuts water consumption by up to 70%, energy consumption by up to 50% and consequently also reduces detergent consumption – a first for India as well as for Asia.

Eco-friendly products have become such a rage that some companies are already offering the second generation of such products. Targeting wet cleaning and the handling of delicate garments, Ayush Saxena, Director, Staschem Technologies Pvt. Ltd. shared: “We have come up with eco-friendly products for better cleaning with colour enhancement and lesser shrinkage. These products are biodegradable too.”

Efficient dryers

As energy prices continue to rise, astronomical power bills are the bane of the laundry segment. Energy-efficient dryers were always the need of the hour, but were too few and far between; they are now set to be universally adopted.

Said Ashok Jha, GM Project, Fabcare India Pvt. Ltd.: “We have come with very efficient dryers which will reduce the consumption of energy by almost 50%. Apart from this, we have also taken up distributorship of LG machines with smaller capacity, particular stackers and smaller washer-extractors.”

Speaking of a specific modification to dryer design, Aakash Chauhan, VP Sales, Xsoni Systems Pvt. Ltd. explained: “Our latest innovation is the sliding door dryer, which is space-saving equipment that helps with heating efficiency, offering higher productivity in less space.”

Improved design

It makes no sense to reinvent the wheel, but it is certainly advisable to make the wheel stronger and more efficient. Said Puneet Singh, Director, Wonder Clean India: “We have recently introduced proprietary software with which we can perform many kinds of operations with conventional machines themselves. Technology-wise, our main concentration is on the built quality of the machine. The machines are quite sturdy and very heavy. The right kind of steel and gauges have been used. The computer system that we have introduced is much more advanced as compared to conventional systems.”

Omra Solutions introduced their SaaS-based solution for the laundry and dry-cleaning industries to help with accurate billing and sales tracking for daily operations.

Retail solutions

Catering to the burgeoning retail laundry segment are machines designed specifically for their requirements. The biggest change is in machine size.

Explained Gurpreet Dhaliwal, Founder & CEO, Ecoclean Hospitality LLP: “Earlier, we used to manufacture 30 or 50 or 60 or even 120kg models but lately, we have developed a 10kg washer for small retail businesses with low budgets.”

End-to-end solutions

Last but not the least is Dinesh Kumar, Co-Founder, Sahyogg, which – living up to its name – assists young entrepreneurs in setting up their laundry businesses. Kumar said: “Whether it is a laundromat or a commercial laundry, we offer complete guidance when it comes to choosing brand names, registration, licensing, training, manpower, packaging, chemicals, tech, etc. We also assist in marketing and technical support.”

Apart from this, the company also provides services like laundry by kg, DIY, shoe cleaning, bag cleaning, sofa cleaning and carpet cleaning.

Current demand

Most exhibitors were besieged by visitors from the hospitality industry as well as commercial laundries. Narendra Shukla, CEO, Smart Laundry Systems added that many enquiries came from the hospital sector too. Some visitors also came from the garments export sector.

Dhaliwal explained: “Laundries are needed for kitchens, hotels, hospitals, prisons and institutes…in short, everywhere where there is population density.”

Moorthy, who added railway officials to the list, added: “A lot of start-up companies are ready to take up business opportunities in the laundry industry, which is a very positive signal, post the Covid pandemic, where hygiene is a very important factor for everyone.”

Future demand

Enquiries from commercial laundries continued to be common. “These days, hotels don’t have the space to put in an in-house laundry,” said Singh. “It’s good to see that commercial launderers are opting for better, technologically advanced machines.”

As more and more large universities spring up with vast campuses, the number of garments that need to be washed at a single facility skyrocket. Moorthy explained: “Wherever you have large universities in which student numbers are more than 5,000-6,000 in a hostel, there will be a need to invest in laundry equipment. We have a lot of expectations from education institutions; they’re a great market opportunity for us.”

However, the great white hope of the laundry industry is retail laundries, which are expected to grow in double digits over the next three to five years. According to Gupta, the laundromat culture will gain popularity in Tier II and Tier III cities, where purchasing domestic washing machines may not have caught on.

Khanijo said: “The retail dry-cleaning market has huge potential and is a bit untapped at the moment. We expect a lot of growth in this sector; we are trying to provide turnkey solutions to customers so that they do not need to go to other vendors for chemicals, machines or anything else.”

Agreed Jha: “We are expecting more business from the retail industry. We have had many enquiries from smaller laundromats.”

Clearly, laundries in the will be more distributed, more efficient and offer better returns on investment.

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