Artificial Intelligence in Laundry and Dry Cleaning Operations

Artificial Intelligence in Laundry and Dry Cleaning Operations

by PROS July 26, 2023

How can AI help the laundry and dry cleaning industry?

Written by Barry Victor, Founder of PROS Parts

It is hard to ignore the attention being paid to AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the media these days.  It seems almost every day a publication or network news show dedicates time to this topic.  While many academics and technologists deliver their research, thoughts, ideas and predictions on the future of AI, the next generation AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) and beyond, this tool is in widespread use in almost everyone’s life.

While the early adapters of this technology are the largest corporations using AI for speech recognition, customer service, vision recognition, marketing and stock trading among many others, I wondered what the future of AI might look like in the laundry industry.

Having read several books on the subject yet not knowing where to start, I sat down at my desktop computer and navigated to ChatGPT, an AI chatbot released to the public less than one year ago to help me organize my thoughts on this topic.  I asked ChatGPT, “How will AI affect the laundry industry in the future” and it gave me no less than ten points for my editorial consideration.  One thing I thought was interesting is that it prefaced its points of interest with a disclaimer that its data was last updated in September of 2021 which is a lifetime ago in AI terms.

Following are the general points of consideration it gave me with my editorial musings.

Economizing Operations and Reducing Environmental Impacts

AI enabled laundry equipment will monitor the entire process and adjust energy, water consumption and supply additions based on load size, fabric and soil levels without the need for human intervention.  Operators utilizing this technology would have an advantage over operators not using it in terms of cost but also in terms of bragging rights with regard to environmental concerns.

Improved Quality and Fabric Life

AI powered systems will help sort and classify different types of laundry items for the most efficient use of machinery and manpower.  An AI enabled system will analyze the fabrics being processed and adjust cycle length and mechanical action as well as chemical additives, water levels and temperatures to produce the best possible product while reducing the cost of that processing.  These adjustments will extend the life span of the textiles and help prevent damage.  Post process visual inspection by AI will improve the quality of the finished product and increase customer satisfaction while reducing the need for human participation and cost in this important part of the process.

Predictive Maintenance

Anyone who has seen the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, will remember the AI capable computer named “HAL 9000” which predicts the failure of an external component on the spaceship and send the one awake astronaut out to repair it before it fails.  AI will enable this type of predictive maintenance on laundry equipment, order the replacement parts and schedule time from human or robotic service staff to make the repairs before costly downtime is encountered.  This predictive maintenance will not only allow operations to stay on track for product delivery but will also prolong the useful life of the equipment.

Route Efficiency

UPS package delivery as well as most of the other large services currently use AI to improve their package delivery by optimizing delivery routes using data supplied by customers, drivers and vehicles altering routes on the fly based on weather and accidents.   This same technology can be utilized in our industry to economize on fuel, time and vehicle wear while improving deliver time.

Customer Service Interactions

Almost everyone has had an experience with an automated attendant when calling the power company or their cable provider.  I believe most of us would agree that these virtual assistants can be frustrating at times with their limited ability to understand our requests but great strides are being made in this area and some are approaching the skills and friendliness of a human.  I have no current plans to replace our human customer service representatives at PROS Parts but I can envision adding AI to the tools to allow us to help our customers more quickly and accurately.

Data Driven Insights

Analyzing data is one area that AI really shines in its current evolution.  AI can look at huge amounts of unstructured data and find patterns that would escape most human researchers.  Many times, AI will arrive at solutions to problems that the developers of the AI have no idea what process the AI used but the solutions are inarguably better than any previously known.  We will no doubt use the power of AI to help our managers and decision makers optimize operations, improve target marketing and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Replacing Human Labor

While human like robot assistants are not common now except in repetitive assembly line factories, this technology is advancing rapidly.  It will not be long before robotic assistants powered by AI will perform tasks like folding, ironing, and storing clean laundry.  Companies like Boston Dynamics have research robots they are developing like “Atlas” that can lift more weight than me, dance better than me (though I don’t set the bar very high) and navigate obstacles better than me.  I highly recommend that you watch the YouTube video below for entertainment and to get a sense of the state of the art in robotics.


As AI technology continues to evolve, the laundry industry could see exciting transformations and enhanced efficiency in the years to come.

PROS Parts is here for you — humans that are ready to help you with your industrial and commercial laundry and dry cleaning needs. Visit our website for more information or you can always contact us directly.

About Barry Victor

Barry founded PROS Parts in the spring of 1988. Before starting PROS, Barry worked in the sales and engineering departments of Vic Manufacturing, one of the largest manufacturers of dry cleaning equipment in the U.S. At Vic, Barry launched a parts sales division that supported dry cleaning equipment imported from Italy and Germany. In its early years, PROS manufactured dry cleaning machinery and then evolved into an industrial and commercial laundry equipment and dry cleaning operations parts supplier. Barry lives in Eden Prairie, MN with his wife. He has two sons, a step son, a step daughter and his dog, Sora. 

Barry can be reached at 763-231-7379 or barryv@prosparts.com.

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