Friday, December 19, 2014

News: Xeros use investors day to showcase domestic system

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Rotherham based Xeros has presented a prototype of the Xeros Domestic Laundry system, the first real innovation in the laundry industry in more than 60 years.

The Leeds University spin-out, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), has developed a patented system using a unique method of special polymer beads rather than the usual large amounts of fresh water to clean clothes. Instead a small amount of water is added to loosen clothing stains and activate the beads.

The focus so far has been on commercial laundry systems which use at least 70% less water, up to 50% less energy and approximately 50% less detergent. With contracts with major hotel chains, commercial laundries and gyms, Xeros is targeting the US where the combined total of installed and committed machines will exceed 80 by the end of the calendar year.

Earlier this month, AIM-listed Xeros welcomed analysts, media and investors to a Xeros showcase event in the City of London to reveal the prototype domestic system developed by the Rotherham-based R&D department.

Researchers, led by Dr Steve Jenkins, had to find a way for the beads to be extracted from the drum at the end of a wash cycle. At the event, the twin domestic machines (washing machine and tumble dryer) showed how they successfully extract beads from the wash and how simple and intuitive they are to use, with just the press of a single button.

Work is ongoing on more machine prototypes for accelerated testing and the aim for Xeros is to partner with a major machine manufacturer who will produce and distribute Xeros bead-consuming washing machines.

Research in the US saw the bead cleaning concept compared to a leading brand conventional washing machine, with the results declared "outstanding". Xeros intends to select its launch partners and move to in-home machine testing in 2015.

Bill Westwater, CEO at Xeros, discussed the business case behind the domestic prototype development, explaining that they have been developed for the US Domestic Laundry market as consumers there accept larger washing machines and almost always use a tumble dryer, which forms the final part of the bead extraction process. In the US about 12 million domestic washing machines a year are sold, and Bill explained that capturing just a small slice of this market will be very lucrative.

The Xeros business plan is more focused on selling large quantities of high margin polymer beads across multiple industries. Xeros beads, which are recycled, will be bought and consumed by end customers in a variety of bead-consuming machines that will be deployed by the company directly (in commercial laundry) or by corporate partners already well-established in those industries.

Company staff also used the event to discuss further developments which includes research into polymer science that will make bead cleaning even more effective, and future applications including leather processing. Approximately 90 tonnes of water is used to process just one tonne of leather, meaning that the water saving potential of the Xeros beads is huge in this industry.

Xeros website

Images: Xeros

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