Modern cleaning technology is emerging as an alternative to traditional cleaning methods, and the cleaning industry is experiencing a steady increase in robotics and multitasking machines which are considered more effective and environmentally friendly. These machines come with longer lasting batteries, better filtration systems, lower operating costs, greater reliability, among other useful tools that help achieve optimum cleaning results in a shorter time and with lesser effort.
Since time immemorial, traditional mopping has been the standard practice for removing dirt and build-up from floor surfaces. But with the advent of advanced cleaning technology in the last decade,machines capable of mopping efficiently while cutting down on resources and time have been introduced.These gadgets are deemed more hygienic because, unlike traditional mopping, they do not leave behind murky water, dirt and other residues. Additionally, they take away the hard, manual labour and increase productivity and performance.
One such machine is thei-mop, a high-end floor cleaner with two rotating brushes that make a staggering 350RPM, enabling it to remove more surface dirt in a second and making it 70% faster and more efficient than a wet mop. It offers up to 25” working width, permitting the user to cover a massive 1,000m² per hour of cleaning. Due to its powerful suction technology, floors dry within 10 – 30 seconds after scrubbing, thereby reducing slipping and falling hazards by 95%. Its brushes are specially designed to use minimal chemical solutions and water, making it environmentally friendly. The i-mop also comes with a range of accessories including color-coded brushes and buffer pads in varying grades.
Similarly, the iRobot mops have a variety of different cleaning options like wet mopping, dry sweeping, wet sweeping and vacuuming to suit each cleaning need. There also are remote-controlled electric mops that do the cleaning while you sit back and manage them from a controller.
Robots have also taken the roles of vacuum cleaners, offering the potential to save time, hard labour and costs. Robotic vacuums are autonomous devices designed to clean tiles, hardwood floors and carpets, with more advanced versions having sensors that enable them to automatically transition between different surfaces for appropriate cleaning function. They capture up to 99% of pollen, allergens and particles as small as 10 microns, making them just as effective, if not more effective, as advanced manual vacuums. These smart vacuums are also self-emptying and self-cleaning and can find their way to their charging stations whenever their batteries run low. They have sensors for detecting obstacles like walls or furniture to help steer clear of them to avoid accidental damage. Due to their compact size, they can access smaller spaces which would ordinarily be inaccessible to manual vacuums.Some robotic vacuums can be controlled through Apps, making them even more convenient for the handicapped and the elderly.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen robotic equipment become more preferable in hospitals, as some of them are capable of disinfecting an operating room in 12 minutes, a task that would manually take as long as 90 minutes. Not only can robotic cleaning machines efficiently eradicate germs, but they also limit human contact that may pose a public health threat.
Water Fed Telescopic Cleaning Poles
The flooding of water fed cleaning pole systems in the market has made cleaning at height easier and safer. There is no longer a need to use a ladder while armed with applicator wipers and squeegees. Cleaning high windows or facades can easily and safely be done while the operator is comfortably standing on the ground, eliminating the risk of falls, injuries and ladders slipping or falling onto property. As the cleaning can now be carried out from the ground, there is less disturbance at the window and the customers’ privacy is maintained. The water fed pole allows the cleaner to clean windows in nearly all weather conditions such as snow, ice and high winds, where using ladders would be deemed unsafe. The pole enables the user to not only access and clean windows, but to also access and clean sloped roofs, sky lights and conservatories. However, while water fed cleaning poles are highly adept and flexible, they aren’t very effective at cleaning more stubborn stains that need special attention, like plaster or paint on new buildings, and the cleaner has to manually clean them off.
Electrostatic spray is an excellent cleaning solution for germ and contaminant ridden areas like schools, labs, and clean rooms, and has especially come in handy in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. Electrostatic sprayers mix specialized disinfectant solutions with air which is then atomized by an electrode inside the sprayer nozzle. When sprayed onto a surface, negatively charged surface bonds with the positively charged disinfectant resulting in a more even and thorough coat of disinfectant, maximizing the killing of pathogens. Compared to conventional cleaning methods, electrostatic spray reduces time taken to cover and disinfect all surfaces by 50%, including hard to reach places and awkwardly shaped objects. Chemical application through this method is more efficient and controlled and limits liquid pooling which is often associated with trigger sprayers. Keyboards, monitors and desktop or laptop encasements can be conveniently treated electrostatically without causing damage to the units. The EPA highly recommends that electrostatic sprayers only be handled and used by trained personnel.
Ultraviolet (UV) Lights and Radiation
Ultraviolet lights are often used in professional cleaning to help detect hidden pathogens on surfaces. The UV lights cause materials such as blood, seminal fluids and urine to “light up” so that the naked eye can see them. Most bacteria are not fluorescent, however, and UV lights in this regard are most useful for revealing surfaces that need better cleaning and disinfection. Although UV radiation has been used to disinfect air, water and non-porous surfaces for decades, there has been a higher demand for UVC sanitizers recently due to Covid-19. UVC disinfection lighting systems are now being used together with other cleaning regimes to kill fungus, mold, viruses and bacteria.
Meanwhile, the challenge of cleaning really big spaces, like sports stadiums, seems to have been resolved through the use of specialized drones which are adapted to spray disinfectant and can cover up to 23,000 sqft (2,140 sq m) an hour. The drones use electrostatic spraying nozzles to disperse nontoxic disinfectant chemicals on seats, handrails, glass partitions and other fixtures, while allowing for a 95% reduction of the time needed to clean the entire stadium. The use of drone technology for cleaning limits germ transfer from surface to surface, therewith ensuring high levels of sanitation in stadiums and other large public spaces.
In most building facilities, cleaning is no longer managed manually since the invention of software such as Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM). New research by Idox, a leading developer of CAFM, identifies how Facilities Management (FM) roles are evolving in light of Covid-19, the changing work patterns and innovations, and the challenges that see professionals stuck with manual, inflexible administrative processes.
CAFM is a software that helps facility managers organize and complete their daily tasks, from maintenance to asset management and consolidation of information across all facets of FM. It was developed to streamline facilities management; to improve maintenance planning, to optimise performance of an organization’s assets,to improve stock control and management of bookable spaces, to drive greater efficiency that boosts business performance and communication, and to generally make life easier for facility managers, employees and wider building users. CAFM software manages all the services in a building facility and provides the facility manager with the administrative tools to track, manage, report, and plan facilities operations.Thus, the technology has allowed managers to abandon the use oftedious,manual processes like spreadsheets as it enables them to log, report, and monitor data information with high accuracy and ease. Through CAFM, facility managers are able to increase the utilisation of space and facilities, reduce moves and reallocations, plan preventative maintenance, efficiently execute reactive maintenance, standardise services, and streamline processes effortlessly while giving the business complete financial control and visibility.
The data from CAFM software allows managers to improve long-term planning of space, facilities, maintenance, services and budgets and make cognizant decisions about FM strategy and direction to create a more cost-effective and efficient service that’s in full alignment with core business needs.
GREEN CLEANING TECHNOLOGY
There is a scramble for eco-friendly products in the market as many businesses are responding to a global consumer demand to go green. The cleaning industry is leading the way with many companies adopting the use of eco-friendly products in their day-to-day cleaning routines as they are less harmful to the human, animal and environmental health.
New toilet paper technology, such as the Biologic Active Tissue Paper, is one of the most recent eco-friendly cleaning products. It is a biologically active toilet paper containing 5 natural non-pathogenic microorganisms– safe to humans, animals and the environment – that feed on organic waste materials. The microorganisms activate upon contact with toilet water and produce enzymes which actively clean and sanitize the pipes. They feed on dirt, grease, fats and other organic wastes present in pipes and sewage systems, multiplying rapidly as they consume, increasing their action exponentially. Once their work is done the microorganisms biodegrade into carbon dioxide and water, leaving no residue or negative environmental impact.
Biologic active tissue paper helps maintain the highest levels of toilet hygiene and sanitation as it cleans even in places where traditional chemical and mechanical solutions cannot reach, eliminates bad smells, and minimizes the need for additional chemical or enzyme cleaners. It also reduces the cost associated with maintenance, purging operation and facilities downtime due to clogged pipes, sewer systems and septic tanks.
Cleaning technology has positively advanced in leaps and bounds in the last decade, and for the FM industry to remain relevant and marketable in an increasingly competitive and ever-changing global business environment, embracing innovation that caters to specific cleaning needs while offering significant benefits to the user, e.g lower physical labour and fewer health risks, is key.