Articles


Clean Up With Automation

Categories: Cleaning Applications, Innovations, Trends & Technology

By Warren Jacobs | February 12, 2020 << Back to Articles Clean Up With Automation

Amazing new smart technologies have taken the world by storm, and this time, the cleaning industry is not merely struggling to keep up, but in many instances, setting the innovation pace.

The cleaning industry is already among the largest users of robotics, and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The cleaning robotics market is expected to increase by 15% annually and exceed more than US$3.9 billion by 2024, per the International Federation of Robotics and MarketWatch respectively.

With this data in mind, let’s look at a few of the stars in this automated revolution in the realms of floor care, restroom, and overall facility management, along with some of the main features that can help you improve your service, reduce your environmental footprint, and boost your bottom line.

Scrubbed clean

Given that up to 95% of the cost of traditional floor maintenance is labor, no wonder manufacturers responded to customers’ pleas to find a more cost-effective solution: the robotic auto scrubber. The newest high-tech auto scrubbers as well as robotic cleaners and vacuums are available in a variety of sizes to fit different budgets and automate the floor cleaning process in facilities ranging from offices, restaurants, and airports to convention and sporting centers, universities, and warehouses. Many of these machines are totally autonomous, to the point of knowing when to return to the docking station for a recharge or refill. The top models use lasers and/or internal software to map out their routes, automatically dodging furniture and other obstacles.

Major benefits of the best robotic scrubbers include the ability to:

  • Produce a more consistent final product faster
  • Drastically reduce the time and labor required for manual floor cleaning
  • Effectively and safely clean areas that may pose a danger to workers
  • Increase productivity, freeing employees’ time to focus on other important tasks to improve the overall level of clean
  • Monitor, control, schedule and maintain one or a fleet of auto scrubbers—from anywhere in the world—24/7
  • Have software updated and enhanced without replacing entire machines for additional cost savings
  • Provide real-time data and reports virtually instantly
  • Demonstrate leadership by using next gen technology.

With all these benefits you have to ask, whether from a worker or management perspective, what’s not to love?

The talk of the restroom

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), featuring software that allows devices to “talk” to one another, today’s bathrooms have never been smarter! Whether by app, the cloud, or proprietary software, new monitoring capabilities can alert staff and managers via their cell phones when a restroom needs restocking, replenishing or an overall review. Some IoT- connected devices even monitor which restroom stalls receive the most traffic to predict which ones are more likely to need the most attention. All this adds up to reduced labor, better monitoring and, ultimately, more well-maintained restrooms that deliver greater customer satisfaction.

Not all new restroom technology is software—or even computer-based, however. Product innovations have also contributed to reduced labor while producing better maintained, more hygienic and sustainable restrooms. Some of the latest jumbo-roll toilet paper dispensers, for example, feature full-roll monitoring that reduces restocking while eliminating stub waste and brake features to help reduce over-consumption Other programmable dispensers allow just the right amount of hand towels and soap to be dispensed, And no conversation on restroom innovation can be complete without mention of the various touchless restroom fixtures and no-touch cleaning systems that have done so much to reduce waste and improve hygiene for both restroom visitors and workers.

In the palm of your hand

Gone are the days of needing to physically go to each facility to instruct staff, supervise cleaning activities or determine the best way to handle challenges. Similarly, workers no longer must travel to and from an office to report in or get assignments or discuss issues of concern. Today, thanks to some of the leading building-management software, you can manage the cleaning of one or multiple facilities from anywhere through your smartphone or tablet.

Offering huge time savings for managers, staff, and even customers, the best of these types of apps allow you to:

  • Create “zones,” or areas, with full cleaning instructions, including checklists for inventory and services.
  • Develop secure QR codes to print out on paper, plastic, or metal and post in discrete areas where workers can scan them with their cell phones and receive full instructions for cleaning each area
  • Receive real-time notifications, including pictures when desired, of completed tasks and/or issues that need to be resolved
  • Monitor the level and quality of service by employee and location
  • Create complete activity reports fast and efficiently to email to yourself, upper management, or customers.

All this equates time and travel savings; enhanced monitoring for quality assurance; faster reporting and billing cycles; and real-time, real-life data to use for everything from bidding to work loading. And all of it can be done from anywhere—which, when one thinks about it, is pretty miraculous in itself.

The above are just a few examples of the robotics and automation the cleaning industry has adopted in the last few years. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us in 2020 and beyond!


About the Author.

Warren Jacobs  is CEO of MCL Sustainable Cleaning Solutions, a full-service cleaning and maintenance distributor focused on sustainability and headquartered in Vaughan, Canada. He can be reached at warren@mclgreen.com; phone, 905-761-9995 x 226.