High-speed washroom dispensing

4th of November 2019
High-speed washroom dispensing
High-speed washroom dispensing

None of us wants to spend longer in the toilet than we need to. So how do manufacturers make their washroom dispensers quick to use, operate, clean and refill, asks Ann Laffeaty?

The main role of a washroom dispenser is to protect the soap or paper inside. But it has other functions too: it should enhance the look of the washroom and provide easy access to the products to speed up the user’s visit.

And this latter function is more important than we think – particularly at busy facilities, according to Essity’s commercial marketing director Anna Königson Koopmans.

“We recently surveyed 3,000 people across six countries about their experience of high-traffic washrooms and the results were clear: guests don’t want to be delayed or miss out on an event,” she said.

Washrooms at busy venues such as stadiums will inevitably experience traffic peaks - but they should still be quick and easy to use, said Königson Koopmans. “This will maximise the number of people who practice proper hygiene and reduce the risk of visitors spreading illness,” she said. “And queues in the washroom will prevent guests from enjoying the venue and spending money on food
and beverages.”

Intuitive dispensers will reduce the time spent by visitors on figuring out how to access the product, she said. “It is also important to ensure that soap and paper are always available and that dispensers are conducive to a good traffic flow.”

Ease of cleaning is also important, she says. “Dispensers with a smooth casing are easier to clean and if they can be topped up in use, this will further help to improve efficiency.”

Essity’s Tork PeakServe Continuous Hand Towel is designed for high-traffic venues and holds up to 2,100 towels. It can be topped up in use and delivers a towel in just three seconds which helps
to speed up queues, according to Königson Koopmans.

Manual staff checks on dispensers are a waste of valuable cleaning time, she says. “Refill indicators are a good option, and our data-driven Tork EasyCube system can significantly speed up dispenser maintenance because it enables staff to check on refill levels remotely via a smartphone or tablet.”

A fast and efficient washroom throughput is particularly important in high-traffic arenas, shopping centres, service stations and airports says Brightwell Dispensers marketing manager Nicole Mathes.

“A high volume of visitors will increase the waiting time – particularly when only a few cubicles and hand washing stations are available,” she said. “Public washroom visitors prefer to spend as little time as possible in the facilities so it is important that soap and paper dispensers are practical, easy to use, fully operational and stocked with a sufficient amount of product.”

Dispensers also need to be quick and easy to fill and maintain for the cleaner, she said. “Labour is a big factor in operational costs, so it is important to speed up cleaning,” she said. “And dispensers with smooth surfaces and no seams make cleaning so much quicker.”

Hygienic and efficient

Brightwell dispensers are said to be easy to mount, refill and use. All lockable units can be opened with one key and have a viewing window so that cleaners can tell at a glance which dispensers need refilling.

Washroom units should be sufficiently hygienic and efficient to encourage visitors to use them, says Airdri marketing manager Trudi Osborne. “If facilities are slow or unreliable, users may look for an alternative - or more worryingly, not use them at all which will increase the risk of spreading bacteria,“ she said. “On the other hand quick, easy-to-use and robust equipment will reduce queueing time and improve the user experience.”

Hand dryers need to be fast, reliable and deliver an effective dry at all times, she said.  “An ‘out of order’ hand dryer is of no use to anyone.

“Half the battle with hand hygiene is getting people to use the facilities in the first place so it is vital to ensure that the washroom is as inviting and inclusive as possible. Making washroom systems quick and easy to use is the key to good hand hygiene.”

Dissatisfied customers

The company’s latest high speed unit the Airdri Quantum is said to achieve a rapid hand dry. “The benefit of a hand dryer is that it doesn’t need constant replenishing - and when it comes to cleaning, a wipe across the surface is all that is needed,” says Osborne.

All dispensers should be easy to use and to handle, says Hagleitner’s junior washroom product manager Bernhard Binderitsch. “If there are problems with usability, the user might get upset which results in reduced customer satisfaction,” he said.

“And it is particularly important to speed up dispenser use in highly-frequented areas visited by large numbers of people during a short time frame such as sports stadiums at half time; motorway service stations and the washrooms of production facilities during shift changes.”

The high quality materials and smooth surfaces of Hagleitner dispensers make them easy to clean, he says. “An easy refill also saves time and money.” According to Binderitsch the new generation of Hagleitner XIBU dispensers can reduce labour time by up to 25 per cent and customer satisfaction by up to 30 per cent.

Hand washing and drying can prevent 80 per cent of infectious diseases according to senior hand hygiene product manager at CWS Fatima Rose.

“Despite this, many people still wash their hands too quickly and only 30 per cent of them use soap,” she said. “Hands that have been washed carelessly will spread germs - and this is the most important reason for developing quick and easy washroom solutions.”

Quick-to-use dispensers are particularly important at transport hubs, stadiums and schools, she said. “Schools should be given special attention because the washrooms here are often unappealing, the dispensers difficult to use and the facilities not installed with children’s needs in mind,” she said.

Refilling needs to be quick and seamless in highly-frequented areas to avoid queues and prevent users from leaving without washing their hands, she said. “Simple refilling systems will allow the staff to focus on actual cleaning, while an intuitive dispenser will significantly reduce the need for training – which is particularly important in areas where the cleaning staff is frequently changing.”

The CWS cotton towel dispenser features a two-chamber system said to facilitate easy loading. All CWS dispensers are said to be easy to clean and maintain.

GOJO vice-president Chris Wakefield agrees a dispenser that is quick and easy to operate will facilitate good hygiene. “The primary reason for installing easy-to-use dispensers is to ensure a steady flow of washroom visitors to help to prevent queues,” he said. “And this actively encourages dispenser use because visitors are far more likely to abandon recommended hygiene practices if they have to wait.”

He says airports, motorway services, schools, shopping centres and healthcare facilities are all environments where washroom use needs to be fast and efficient. “Easy-to-use dispensers are essential in any facility that caters for a lot of people at any given time,” he explained.

According to Wakefield, technology can play a huge role in speeding up dispenser use. “Touch-free dispenser technology has become increasingly popular and is welcomed by those visitors who are reluctant to touch dispensers and dryers that don’t look clean,” he said. GOJO offers two Smartlink apps that help ensure dispensers are well-stocked at all times, while the company’s Purell dispensers have flat, smooth surfaces that are said to be easy to clean.

Save time and money

Easy-to-use products save time and money on training and support, says Vectair managing director Paul Wonnacott. “There is also less risk of a product failing or breaking when someone is struggling to operate it,” he said.

“Time is precious to us all, so it’s important to think about time-savings when designing products. Our ethos is simple – the easier our products are to use, the more our customers will use them.”

According to Wonnacott, research shows that most technology users learn only four or five functions of any application. “Lots of features may sound impressive, but manufacturers should stick to the basics if they want to avoid over-complicating themselves,” he said.

“If dispensers are too difficult to operate, queues will start forming and there’s a risk people will wash their hands in a hurry – and possibly not do so properly.” Vectair offers a range of air care products for use in hotel lobbies, offices and spas as well as in washrooms.

Less time spent in the washroom results in more time being productive in the workplace, according to Metsä Tissue managing director Mark Dewick.

“And visitors to entertainment venues won’t want to linger in the washroom if they’ve paid for the attraction – so any delay to use the soap, hand towel or air dryer will be a source of frustration,” he said. “People want to wash and dry their hands and move on and if there’s a queue for either element, there’s a danger that they will simply miss it out.”

Metsä’s Katrin Inclusive range has been designed to be easy to use for everyone including children, the elderly, the visually impaired and the disabled. Dispensers include the Katrin XL and the Katrin System 800 for high-traffic environments such as stadiums and shopping centres.

Quick and easy to clean

It is also important that dispensers are quick and easy to clean – particularly in the healthcare sector, says Dewick. “Infection control nurses tell us that the biggest issue for them is that devices should have a minimum number of nooks and crannies where dust and germs can hide,” he said. “They should also look clean - whatever material they are made from.”

Ease of loading should be fundamental to any dispenser system, he said. “Katrin Inclusive dispensers are designed to be simple to refill and it is impossible to load our rolls the wrong way round,” he said.

“Staff will become frustrated if they can’t work out how to cope with refills and perhaps not do so properly which could result in either wasted product or poor hygiene.”

But despite the need for speed it is important to allow people to complete their washroom visit at their own pace, says Dewick. “A washroom visitor with a disability or someone with children or luggage in tow may take longer, so the key is efficiency rather than speed,” he said.

“And at the end of the day, the average user is not interested in preventing a queue themselves. They simply want to avoid being in one.”


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