A glimpse into the science behind the Xeros beads
The current spheroidal design and size of the Xeros laundry beads are a direct result of years of research by the Xeros R&D team. In testing various bead compositions, sizes, and designs, the Xeros team found that several factors affected the cleaning performance of the beads. Xeros’ polymer beads had to balance cleaning performance with fabric care as well as bead removal, and the current design of the beads addresses these potentially conflicting needs.
By making the beads spheroidal in shape, Xeros eliminated the hard edges that come with a cylindrical design. This has two benefits:
Xeros’ researchers also had to consider the weight – or density – of each individual bead during the design. In our research, Xeros scientists found that the ideal weight ratio for beads to cloth was two to one. The question then was whether it was better to use millions of tiny beads or thousands of larger beads. Bigger beads would separate from the wash more easily, but smaller beads provided superior cleaning performance and excellent fabric care with a more uniform action, far kinder to clothes than masses of heat and detergent.
Eventually, Xeros was able to find a near-perfect bead size to balance wash performance with bead separation. For a 25 kg wash load, a Xeros machine will use 50 kg of beads, or around 1.5 million beads.
With so many beads for every square metre of fabric, the Xeros system is able to provide a gentle, uniform action for the cleaning work of the beads. In fact, the beads act as a buffer that prevents excessive folding, reducing the occurrence of tangling in the wash and lessening the possibility of creasing (and the need for finishing).
Amazingly, some polymers (such as Nylon 6,6) can absorb as much as ten percent of their weight in water. When nylon is introduced to a damp environment,it expands, creating microscopic cavities in its structure. These cavities absorb water and other soluble soils and dyes, trapping them inside the polymer so that they cannot be re-deposited elsewhere. In other words, the polymer beads in the Xeros machine act in a manner similar to a sponge, soaking up stains and dye, trapping them in the beads, and then carrying them away from the fabrics.
After a bead has absorbed soil from a stain, it is carried away from the fabric and placed back in a special wet sump, where it is ready to be used again for hundreds more cycles without losing its cleaning performance. Beads are constantly extracted from the wash drum and refreshed ones are introduced to ensure maximum cleaning performance. One of the amazing things about the Xeros system is that the beads never leave the washing machine. After hundreds of uses the beads are replaced by a Xeros technician and recycled.
Xeros’ unique polymer bead technology has the potential to revolutionize the laundry industry, greatly reducing the environmental impact of doing the wash for businesses everywhere, all while significantly improving their efficiency and cleaning performance.
During our research and development work to create the Xeros bead-based laundry system, we have identified many exciting new applications for which Xeros polymer bead technology will bring substantial performance, cost and environmental benefits to the operational environment. Each of these innovations is the subject of appropriate patents. As a company, Xeros is dedicated to protecting our significant intellectual property so that we may continue to invest in R&D to expand the beneficial applications of our technology.
Learn more about the Xeros bead based laundry system by following our news feed and watching our video library, or contact us directly for further information.