Since the invention of the first washing machine in the 1850s up to today, people have been fine-tuning and perfecting the processes of washing their clothes and linens. Automation has been a major thing in the laundry industry, helping businesses handle enormous amounts of washing with ease and precision.
However, recent innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) have started to transform the industry in unprecedented ways.
Automation enables machines to perform simple and repetitive tasks otherwise done by humans, but AI can handle more complex tasks and learn through experience thanks to its machine learning abilities. Here’s how it’s transforming the laundry industry.
Sorting linen is traditionally done by human employees, and it can be an incredibly dull and strenuous process. However, AI-based programs allow the machines to perform complex analyses and sort the laundry themselves. They learn through visual and other sensory cues and become even better at identifying different linens and textures in time.
It’s incredible that the machines can sort out laundry based on a variety of parameters, such as color, texture, material, patterns, weight, etc. For example, it can recognize a sweater from a towel with ease.
It can also customize the wash cycle to use specific temperatures, time, motions, and more for each load. Similarly, it can optimize the dryer setting automatically and with great precision.
Thanks to AI-based scanning systems, the machine can inspect each item and decide if it’s acceptable or whether it needs to be rejected.
Thanks to AI software’s scanning powers, machines can easily identify foreign objects that could easily damage the washer drums or dryers. These can be anything from misplaced sharp objects in the kitchen linens to lipsticks forgotten in pockets, which can color the linen and create the need for another wash cycle or even a different treatment.
These AI-based programs are so smart and precise that they can tell these undesirable objects from hard parts of clothes, such as buttons and zippers.
Some laundry can get damaged beyond repair by harmful objects in the drum, which the laundry service would then have to pay for.
As we’ve mentioned, these programs can also customize numerous variables of the washing cycle and thus, eliminate any guesswork. People can easily make a mistake or misevaluation at this stage, which could have catastrophic consequences, whereas AI and its sensors can’t go wrong.
One of the biggest advantages of using AI in the laundry business is its potential to improve employee safety and reduce the amount of dull, repetitive work.
The manual sorting process can have negative effects on employees’ safety and health in more than one way. For example, while they sort through linens manually, they can get harmed by stray objects left in the laundry by accident or recklessness. They may even get cuts from ordinary objects belonging to the clothing items, such as zippers.
With AI sorting through these items and identifying potentially dangerous objects, the chances of these things happening are much lower.
Normally, workers can also get in contact with hazardous chemicals on soiled clothes, which can be dangerous for their health. However, thanks to AI and automation, they don’t have to come in direct contact with the linens at all.
Business Management Software
Apart from handling the main processes in the washrooms, AI can also be useful in the administration and business management aspects of laundry. There are now advanced software solutions for laundries, which can streamline everything, from store management to accounting.
Improving the Quality of Service
No matter how experienced and focused people are, they can always make errors or wrong evaluations, which can result in subpar service. With AI and automation, there’s barely any room for error. The programs are precise, and the best thing about them is that they become even better with time and through experience.
What’s more, AI can also improve the customer journey significantly. It can enable them to monitor their clothes remotely, get notifications, and request specific actions via special apps.
AI-based bots may soon find their way into the laundry industry. They are already prevalent in many other customer-centric businesses. For example, the ServisBOT can handle an entire customer journey, from providing a quote to managing claims and policy renewals. A similar solution will surely emerge in the laundry industry in no time.
AI is yet to find its full use in this department, but its potential is huge. Many other industries are already reaping major benefits of this groundbreaking technology, and the laundry business will soon follow suit.
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