Communications of the IIMA


The objective of this paper is to present the use of RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) technology to automate the laundry process of collecting, cleaning, and returning garments. While RFID has been used for commercial laundry applications for several years now, the process presented here is based on a bank automated teller machine (ATM) style interaction for dropping, and picking up the laundry. The process consists of the following steps: the customer drops the laundry to be cleaned using an ATM style interaction, the laundry gets picked up and cleaned using an automated system requiring minimum human interaction, the cleaned laundry is sent to the pickup location, the customer receives an alert for picking up the laundry, and finally the customer picks up the laundry, again using an ATM style interaction. The use of RFID enables the tracking of the movement of garments through the laundry loop in real-time. The anticipated benefits for the laundry industry include customer convenience, savings in labor, and automated delivery.