IoT Washing System Cuts Water Consumption and Repair Headaches

For a midscale hotel in Massachusetts, the Xeros laundering system has reduced water costs and downtime, while lightening the load for employees.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Nov 30, 2016

In 2013, Chad Hanson, the general manager of a Comfort Inn hotel with 134 rooms, was spending far too much time thinking about laundry. The two machines on which the Danvers, Mass., hotel relied for daily laundering of sheets, towels, kitchen linens and so forth were the same age as the hotel: 20 years. And they were showing their age.

"We were having to get service on them all the time, so our service costs were through the roof," Hanson says. Plus, the old machines were huge water hogs, using 100 to 120 gallons for every load. With water costs rising, this added to the financial strain. "We had to get new machines."

The Xeros laundering system
Hanson happened to see a flier for a company called Xeros, which claimed to have a new approach to laundry. Its proprietary machines use small plastic beads to help agitate and clean textiles, allowing it to significantly reduce water consumption.

"I thought it sounded too good to be true," Hanson says. "It was this whole new type of technology that no one had heard of, and they said they'd save us 70 percent of water use [for laundry]. Those seemed like bold statements. I was skeptical because laundry is laundry, and has not changed in the past 50 years."

Despite his skepticism, Hanson called the number on the flier. A few weeks later, he and his staff maintenance manager drove up to a hotel in Manchester, N.H., to see the Xeros machines in action. They watched a load go through a machine, took the cleaned items out themselves to inspect them, and saw that the cycle had consumed around 30 gallons.

Xeros machines are instrumented with sensors that track a range of metrics, including water flow, the amount of detergent used, and the machine's uptime. An integrated gateway device uses the hotel's internet connection to transmit all of this data, along with diagnostic information that tracks the machine's performance and includes any alerts related to potential malfunctions, to Xeros' cloud-based servers. Customers access this data through a web-based portal.

Hanson liked what we saw, he says, and began negotiating.

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