Dispensing evolution

22nd of July 2021
Dispensing evolution
Dispensing evolution

How are chemical dispensing systems evolving in today’s high-tech world? Are they providing more detailed information about chemical usage, refill cycles, usage patterns and cleaning routines etc? And is this what today’s customers want – or do they simply want a safe and sustainable solution that works? Dispensing systems specialist SEKO tells us more in this exclusive article for ECJ.

Events during the last 18 months have resulted in an unprecedented surge in awareness over hand and surface hygiene, subsequently meaning that more emphasis than ever has been placed on the importance of effective and reliable chemical dispenser systems.

Interaction between staff and the general public in buildings creates specific demands for chemical dispensers and it is critical that certain criteria are met. For many years SEKO has been developing cleaning and hygiene systems which meet the market’s stringent requirements and ensure best practice is followed.

Here we examine the latest trends, challenges and developments in chemical dispensing systems, specifically hand sanitiser dispensers and cleaning chemical dispensers.

Hand sanitiser dispensers

Before the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, there was little importance placed on hand sanitising outside of hospitals, surgeries and other healthcare centres.

The dispensers available at that time were adequate, could comfortably meet demand and, due to their limited usage, did not require excessive maintenance.Post-coronavirus, the world has changed irrevocably, with heightened awareness of personal hygiene and virus prevention meaning that regular hand disinfection is now a normal part of our daily habits. The result is an unprecedented growth in the need for hand sanitiser dispensers, with the European market expected to reach $9.4 billion by 2027.

The majority of suppliers have responded to the surge in demand by installing traditional one-litre light-duty units, compatible with gel sanitiser supplied in disposable cartridges or pouches.
Unfortunately, a number of limitations mean that such systems are unsuitable for the increased demand we are seeing post-coronavirus.

Low capacity

A conventional one-litre dispenser provides just 1,000 doses of sanitiser on average, meaning that in sites with medium to high foot traffic, cleaning staff can’t possibly manage the constant replenishment required.

The reality is that dispensers regularly run dry, leaving users unprotected and eroding confidence in the building management’s determination to provide a safe, Covid-secure environment. This can lead to visitors forming a negative perception of the company itself and a reluctance to use the facility in the future.

Reliance on batteries

In order to power touch-free dosing, standard-sized automatic dispensers rely on batteries which must be changed regularly, with maintenance personnel unaware that batteries are low until they run out and render the unit inactive. Therefore, in large office buildings, supermarkets and conference centres, managing battery replacement effectively is unrealistic.

Along with the ongoing cost of batteries, such systems leave operators vulnerable to multiple out-of-service dispensers across the site, leaving visitors without access to sanitiser which reflects poorly on the building and brand.

Environmentally unfriendly

For decades, the practice of fitting dispensers to receive disposable sanitiser cartridges and pouches, as well as single-use batteries, has been commonplace. However, with the world
committed to reducing CO? emissions, the impact of using such consumables is unacceptable to managers already under pressure to demonstrate their commitment to minimising the environmental effect of their operations.


Conventional non-electric dispensers such as pelican pumps that require users to manually deliver sanitiser via a push button carry a significant hygiene risk, as the surface of the unit may harbour and transfer viruses to subsequent users.

Meanwhile, the light-duty nature of traditional dispensers means it’s common to see broken and empty hand sanitiser systems leaving users unprotected, as well as unappealing set-ups such as a pelican pump on a table or counter top along with the inevitable leakage.

High maintenance requirement

In busy locations such as theme parks, dispensers are vulnerable to improper use such as excessive force from impatient visitors, which can cause the spring-loaded pump to prematurely degrade and fail. Along with an increased maintenance requirement, this can result in sanitiser leakage which not only wastes product but leads to unsightly mess, reducing user satisfaction.

Excessive chemical consumption

Despite manual dispensers delivering a pre-set quantity of sanitiser, such systems are prone to chemical wastage as users may press the dispensing button multiple times in order to receive more product. Across a large site, excessive sanitiser consumption adds up to a significant added cost, while this limitation exacerbates the low capacity problem faced by conventional systems.

Clearly, conventional dispensers are too restrictive for the needs of the ‘new normal’, so what are manufacturers doing to solve this, and what advancements are being made to bring additional benefits to operators?

Larger capacity

The most advanced hand sanitiser dispensers allow up to 25 litres of sanitiser to be connected – equating to 25,000 doses on average. This vastly reduces the replenishment rate for even the busiest sites to daily or even weekly refills, significantly easing pressure on maintenance personnel and allowing operators to allocate staff elsewhere or downsize the workforce.

Mains or battery powered

With some systems connecting to mains electricity, operators are freed of their reliance on single-use batteries and the associated maintenance costs, guaranteeing continuous use and removing the environmental impact of battery disposal.

Touchless technology

Automatic sensor-activated delivery maximises hand hygiene and user safety, helping prevent the transmission of viruses while offering convenience and reassurance.

This technology also guarantees that users receive the correct quantity of sanitiser every time, ensuring proper hand sanitisation while reducing the wastage associated with manually-operated units.

Remote access

IoT-ready dispensers allow operators to track usage, check chemical level, view operational status and schedule maintenance from anywhere via PC, laptop or smart device.

The freedom to manage their dispenser from any location means operators working from home can view data and make adjustments immediately and minimise costly unplanned downtime by identifying and correcting issues before they lead to system failure.

Video screens

The latest sanitiser systems featuring an integrated video screen provide the opportunity for the operator to sell advertising space for additional revenue, carry out promotions or display visitor information.

And by uploading media via USB or remotely, operators can update content quickly and easily (including across multiple sites) to ensure it remains current and relevant.

Cleaning chemical dispensers

In commercial kitchens, janitorial applications and food preparation areas, there are many difficult challenges associated with cleaning chemical dispensers used for dosing concentrated and pre-mixed solutions into sinks, spray bottles, mop buckets and scrubber dryers that need to be addressed.

Understanding the particular problems and challenges of these environments is key to developing products which will meet the market’s expectations and ensure that the most effective cleaning regimes are followed.

Robustness is of course a key characteristic, particularly in installations that are not regularly monitored or that receive harsh treatment. This includes excessive force (heavy-handed operatives may attempt to extract chemical even when the supply runs dry) and accidental
collisions typical of high-pressure, fast-paced environments.

Therefore a tough, impact-resistant design helps to ensure consistent, reliable performance while reducing the cost of maintenance, repair and replacement. Lightweight systems may be cheaper per unit but such systems are unreliable and have a short lifespan, plus can lead to in adequate cleaning

Due to the high turnover of staff in janitorial applications – along with a typically diverse workforce – the simplicity and ease of use and safety of chemical dispenser systems is also of vital importance.

Indeed a multicultural, multilingual workforce can complicate identification of chemical type, presenting a health and safety issue should the incorrect solution be selected. For this reason, many manufacturers incorporate interchangeable colour-coded buttons and labels into system casing, helping to simplify selection and minimise the chance of error.

In terms of cleaning effectiveness, it’s essential that dilution adjustment is precise and consistent, as this optimises chemical performance while reducing chemical consumption and the associated financial and environmental impacts.

In many cleaning stations it’s common to see concentrated chemical storage containers such as 20-litre drums stored unbundled on the floor, causing a potential leakage or trip hazard. Or worse still, staff dosing detergent and other solutions manually, exposing them to potentially harmful concentrated chemical.

Integrated chemical storage can help solve this issue, enabling operators not only to save space and make cleaning stations tidier and more presentable, but also providing vital health and safety benefits by keeping the chemicals off of the floor and avoiding possible spillage and tripping hazards.

Such systems typically feature a cabinet-style enclosure where various-sized chemical containers can be stored and connected to the built-in dispenser. Lockable cabinets help to prevent theft and tampering and protect employees against exposure to harsh concentrated chemical.

It’s clear that while the cleaning industry faces a number of challenges relating to chemical dispensing systems, manufacturers continue to respond to market needs with new and refined solutions to ease the burden on operators as we adapt to the ‘new normal’ post-Covid.



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