The green laundry

Innovation project: Resource-efficient, self-optimizing industrial laundry

In the future, industrial laundries will need to work quickly and economically due to market and competitive conditions. Long-term savings on resources such as energy, detergent, water, etc. are essential. Currently, industrial laundry machines are set up individually and independently with values based on user experience. Until now, there has been no systematic, mathematical analysis of optimum machine settings, nor have there been any approaches that take a holistic view of the laundry as a whole. Consequently, there is great potential for improvement here. There are also high personnel costs involved in handling laundry items, and hygiene requirements are playing an increasingly important role. This concerns the handling of soiled items by laundry personnel, as well as hygiene certification for clean items, such as when delivering to hospitals.

The aim of the research project is to significantly improve the resource efficiency of industrial laundries. Self-optimization methods and processes are intended to significantly reduce energy requirements in particular. This should considerably improve the ecological and economic benefits.

The project therefore involves developing intelligent regulating, control and optimization strategies to improve interaction between all laundry machinery and processes. Innovative automation solutions such as intelligent robotic arms are used to sort dirty laundry, reducing employees’ contact with soiled items. This requires the development of powerful image processing algorithms that are tailored to the specific operating conditions in a laundry. In addition, new modeling and simulation paradigms are developed which help to identify sub-optimal conditions at an early stage in cross-system process planning, control and monitoring, and allow for targeted optimization. The results are validated in pilot applications and converted into marketable products and process systems.

By consistently saving up to half of previous requirements for resources such as water and detergents, the operating costs for industrial laundries are significantly reduced. This creates great potential for tapping into new markets, particularly in countries with extreme water shortages. The use of innovative robotic arms and the associated reduction in employee workloads, for example by avoiding contact with soiled items of laundry, is also a unique selling point that will define new hygiene standards.e cluster can become involved.

Project duration
01 October 2012 - 31 July 2015