Cleaning chemical dosing - still necessary?

11th of July 2018
Cleaning chemical dosing - still necessary?

As today’s chemical cleaning products become less hazardous, is there still a need to invest in a dosing system asks Ann Laffeaty?

Detergents and disinfectants are becoming safer all the time. New legislation combined with a growing focus on safety and sustainability has led to chemical manufacturers seeking to develop less hazardous, more user-friendly formulations. These products are also being supplied in ever-more ergonomic packaging which makes them easier to dispense while minimising the risk to the user.

At the same time dosing systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated and offer a widening range of features and functions. But since fewer risks are associated with chemical dispensing, are these systems still worth the investment? Absolutely, says Hydro Systems Europe’s global product manager Matt Hayas.

“Even today’s safer chemicals need to be diluted accurately in order for them to work properly and control costs,” he said.  “Dispensing systems are more accurate and produce less waste than portable systems.”

Manually mixing products into mop buckets or spray bottles offers a less consistent method of delivery, he says. “Chemicals need to be mixed in the same way each time in order to accomplish the same cleaning results.”

According to Hayas, dosing systems help to minimise waste by ensuring the chemicals and water are used in exactly the right proportions. “These systems can also reduce the amount of product packaging that ends up in landfills,” he said.

“And dispensing systems maximise productivity and prevent over-consumption too. The fact that today’s chemical products are generally super-concentrated means their end-use cost is dramatically reduced when used in conjunction with dispensing equipment. In fact, a good system can reduce a company’s cleaning costs by up to 30 per cent by accurately diluting the proper amount of chemical.”

A manual chemical refill of using the ‘glug-glug’ method can take up to 20 minutes, he claims. “Dispensing systems require a fraction of that time.”

He says the industry is growing and that the adoption of chemical dispensing systems is increasing globally every year. “This is because such systems have evolved to become more accurate and user-friendly due to customer and industry demand,” he said.

“The growth in the world’s population, the development of sanitation and a societal demand for cleanliness have all contributed to this demand. Other factors that come into play include today’s increasingly stringent regulations and a mission on the part of businesses to find new ways of working more efficiently.”

All business can benefit

But some environments have higher adoption rates than others, he adds.  “In the laundry sector for instance, chemical dispensers are used nearly 100 per cent of the time while we see more manual methods being used for applications such as drain dosing,” said Hayas.

“However from an end-user perspective, all commercial businesses can benefit from using chemical dispensers including hospitals, schools, universities, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, and even industrial facilities.”

Hydro Systems’ products include the Evodose unit which can dilute up to four products at a time. It offers a choice of high or low flow and has a lockable cabinet system with bottle or pouch options plus a remote activation gun.

Distribution group Jangro’s ceo Joanne Gilliard supports Hayas’ view that the chemical dosing industry still has a vital role to play. “There are three main reasons why facilities opt for them: health and safety, accurate consumption and sustainability,” she said.

“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is just one risk that chemical dosing systems can reduce. They lessen the chance of potential respiratory problems and skin irritations from neat chemicals as well as reducing the risk of slips or falls resulting from spillages.

“A wall-mounted dosing system also offers the correct volume of concentrate at the push of a button. Diluting concentrated cleaning chemicals on site to prepare solutions for spray bottles or buckets cuts out many of the environmental impacts that are inherent in the supply and use of ready-to-use products. This can help businesses reach their sustainability goals as well as potentially saving them money.”

She adds there has been a great deal of innovation in the sector over recent years. “There are various chemical concentrate dosing options now available that can increase in sophistication as the business grows and its requirements change,” she said. “These new types of system are providing competition for those costly, bulky chemical dosing systems which are becoming less attractive to customers.”

According to Gilliard, making the right choice is important if buyers are to reap the full financial benefits and environmental advantages of a chemical dosing system. “The economics of investing in expensive dosing equipment must be carefully analysed before purchasing and the benefits weighed against the potential return on investment,” she said. “After all, chemical dosing systems do not come cheap -  even if these are operated under lease from the manufacturer.”

Dosing systems are particularly necessary in water or wastewater treatments or for any water system that could potentially stimulate legionella bacteria growth, she says. “They can be particularly advantageous for the leisure industry, for example to keep swimming pools clean and hygienic,” said Gilliard.

Accurate and reliable

Jangro’s Enviro Concentrates range of products are measured out using dosing caps which are described as an economical, entry-level way of moving away from ready-to-use sprays.

“A great deal of progress has been achieved over the years in making chemical dosing systems more accurate and reliable,” said Gilliard. “Manufacturers are constantly refining designs to make dosing technology more sophisticated and offer higher levels of sustainability plus a greater return on investment.”

There will always be a need to dose chemical concentrates in a safe, accurate and reliable way according to Brightwell Dispensers’ marketing manager Nicole Mathes.

“The effectiveness of cleaning routines begins with preparing cleaning chemicals at point-of-use,” she said. “When the user manually pours the chemical into water to dilute it, the risk of overdosing or under-dosing is high. This can result in either chemical wastage or inefficient cleaning. The use of chemical dispensers on the other hand ensures an accurate chemical dose every time.”

More popular now

She says the popularity of chemical dosing systems has increased over recent years. “This is due to their cost-saving, cost-controlling, environmental, safety and accuracy benefits,” she says.

“Dispensing systems help businesses to control their chemical consumption while also monitoring usage to deliver an accurate return on investment. And by accurately dosing the correct amount of chemical they allow businesses to better forecast their cleaning costs.”

In fact dosing systems have become the standard in the cleaning and hygiene industry, according to Mathes. “These systems are being used across a wide range of industries including the hospitality sector, healthcare and manufacturing sites.”

Brightwell Dispensers offers the Eco Range of proportioners and manual dosing systems. These include the Ecomulti which allows users to dilute up to four chemicals from one dispenser.

“Talking to many businesses it has become evident that the traditional manual ‘glug-glug’ method is increasingly being replaced by chemical dosing and dilution systems,” she said.

But what will tomorrow’s dosing systems look like? Will they become more sophisticated than ever, or will they simplify the whole process and bring chemical dispensing back down to basics?

Hydro Systems Europe’s global product manager Matt Hayas believes that some customers will seek increasingly sophisticated systems that provide more than just a diluted chemical. “Such systems
will need to be more active and capable of interacting with building systems to provide the user with information that makes their daily tasks simpler and more efficient,” he said.

“Customers want to glean more actionable information from the dispenser such as chemical inventory levels, usage patterns, alarms and productivity rates. To achieve this, dispensers will need to measure more data and be connected remotely to make the data more actionable and useful to customers and end users.”

But he says there will continue to be customers who place a high value on basic systems that simply carry out the task required – to dilute the chemical properly. “Both types of systems will continue to have a place in the cleaning industry,” he said. “Regardless of the complexity and capabilities of the dispenser, all of them should be easy to use and ideally require minimal time for installation, maintenance and training.”

Brightwell Dispensers’ Nicole Mathes believes that systems will become increasingly sophisticated. “The technology is continuously evolving and demand for smart dispensing systems that provide real-time data is increasing,” she said. “Sensors that measure refill status and product consumption and send this information via a web application to the facility manager are great tools to monitor usage and costs.

Smart solutions

“The trend to develop smart dispensing solutions will increase and new smart systems will give the users and facility managers more detailed information about chemical usage, refill cycles, cleaning routines and much more.”

But Jangro’s Joanne Gilliard believes the dosing industry will take two distinct paths in the future. “The first will undoubtedly see the rise of upgraded smarter chemical dosing systems that use technology to track data, control, monitor, and operate systems remotely using everyday gadgets such as smartphones,” she said.

“The second path will see the exact opposite taking place with an increasing number of non-technical solutions arriving on to the market. These are still highly innovative but are easy to use and understand which is especially important in our industry which relies on migrant labour.

“But ultimately, both paths will lead to accurate dosing and will be developed with sustainability in mind.”


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