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Rising Industrial Laundry Market – A Report

India has a huge market for laundry business which is yet to be tapped to its potential. However, with the coming up of a number of hospitals & hotels and even the Indian Railways turning to outsourcing of laundry activities, the industrial laundry sector in India is attracting foreign players.

The hotel industry is witnessing a growing trend towards outsourcing its laundry. India is expected to add another 90,000 hotel rooms over the next five years, all of which are in the private sector, especially to meet the tourism demand. In 2010, 10 million people are expected to visit India.

The Indian Railways run approximately 12,000 trains every day. The capacity is to carry 1.4 crore passengers/day. It employs around 17 lakh employees (10 lakh in Group C), including 10,000 officers.

This presents a huge benefit to global players to quickly set up their laundries in India, and cater to the ever growing market.

The healthcare industry, the up coming and the existing, has started outsourcing laundry services. This sector which has been registering a growth of 9.3% per annum between 2000 and 2009 is projected to grow by 15% per annum by 2013.

Laundry services in India are classified into Industrial Laundry and Retail Laundry. Industrial laundry is in its infant stage with major demand coming from hospitals and hotels which have their in-house laundry. Retail laundry is a much organised market with some professionally managed companies catering to the retail needs. Overall, the laundry market in India is still untapped and unorganised.

Industrial laundries generally require heavy capital investment in machinery and equipment for washing, spinning, ironing & drying besides land and property to set-up a laundry. Since laundry market in India is dominated by the small local laundry stores and local dhobis, they are not equipped to handle the huge capital requirement.

Equipment for industrial laundry

An industrial laundry would require equipment for:

  • Washing
  • Drying and
  • Ironing

The type of equipment to be purchased would be depend on the volumes that the laundry expects from potential clientele on a daily basis. Equipment for industrial laundries are available in different sizes with varying capacities. Equipment are available in the market for small, medium as well as large industrial laundries.

Equipment for industrial laundries should optimise the washing system considering criteria such as:

  • Usage of appropriate washing machinery which would guarantee maximum efficiency with appropriate wash cycles, high spin capacity and minimum energy consumption
  • Drier equipment should assure proper drying in the least amount of time with minimum energy consumption
  • Flatwork ironers capable of absorbing the production of the driers to assure a high quality press
  • Automation of the laundry handling processes in order to save personnel costs and increase productivity

Stages in industrial laundry

An industrial laundry generally involves five stages namely:

  • Soiled Retrieval

The linen collected usually is dropped down a laundry chute. Laundry workers collect the soiled linen, in reserved carts and transport it to the laundry facility.

  • Soil Sortint

The retrieved linen is unloaded and sorted. Different items often require different washing formulas. Heavy or biohazardous stains such as blood and faeces may require longer wash times and stronger formulas. Large institutions often use a production-line method for soil sorting, with several full-time employees assigned to the task. Since soiled linen may be contaminated with biohazards or sharp objects, employees involved in the sorting process are required to use personal protective equipment and standard safety precautions.

  • Washing

The sorted linen is weighed according to the washing machine’s load limit. Certified washer operator loads and unloads the large washing machines, decides what is to be washed according to the laundry’s schedule and monitors the chemical levels in the water. Since modern tunnel washers monitor their own chemical levels and unload linen directly into the laundry’s clean area, the operator is required only to load the linen. Over the past 20 years, many industrial laundries have switched from conventional washers to tunnel washers, also called continuous-batch washers. Since tunnel washers don’t have to be stopped for loading and unloading of linen, they provide a more continuous flow of clean laundry.

Higher-volume facilities which may process over 15,000kg of linen per day often rely heavily on tunnel washers.

  • Processing

The clean linen is dried, ironed and folded. Some items, such as towels and blankets, are put through a dryer until they are no longer damp, then sent to mechanical folders. Wetwork items, such as sheets, are sent through steam-powered ironers which dry, press and fold them.

Ironers use heavy steam-heated rollers to dry the linen while pressing out wrinkles. Some items, such as wash cloths, may be too small to be handled mechanically. These items must be packaged by hand.

  • Packaging & Distribution

The processed linen is prepared for delivery. Individual orders are filled, based on the needs and requests of the laundry’s customers and sent to the laundry’s main distribution points and storage areas. Linen not used for orders is placed in storage areas, giving the facility a reserve of clean laundry.

Trained delivery people transport the clean linen back to the customers. This is a skilled position, since the delivery person must have a thorough knowledge of both laundry operation and the principles of good customer service. In hospitals, delivery people must be familiar with patient relations, confidentiality policies. Large institutions will usually employ several full-time delivery people.

MNI Partners LLC, Boston, USA

Eco-friendly Chemicals

Haylide Chemicals has launched a new range of eco friendly laundry chemicals. The complete professional range consists of 10 products in powder and liquid formulations. The Laundro Det and Boost-E is a powder detergent and booster; Laundro Mulse-E is a liquid emulsifier for F&B laundry; Laundro Bleach-O is a powder oxygen bleach for coloured and whites; Laundro Rinse is a liquid organic neutralising rinse; Laundro Complete is a powder all-in-one detergent and oxygen bleach for coloured and whites; Laundrokleen is a liquid all-in-one detergent for guest and domestic laundry; Laundro Soft is a liquid softener for towels and linen; Laundro Soft-N is a liquid 2-in-1 neutraliser and softener for towels and linen; Laundro Chlor-10 is a liquid chlorine bleach 10% for white linen and Laundro Rinse-C is a liquid neutralizing rinse after chlorine bleaching.

The range is phosphate free. The base detergent is free from slurry based detergents and made from biodegradable surfactants. Haylide has used organic biodegradable acids in rinses & softeners in place of harmful, inorganic and traditional laundry rinses. The oxygen bleaches and all-in-one single shot formulations reduce cycles of bleach and rinse. The softener range with combination of cationic & water soluble silicones provide softest results. The emulsifier for F&B stains is biodegradable and utilises denatured ethanol in place of IPA as a natural solvent.

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