Trolleys - when push comes to shove

3rd of December 2018
Trolleys - when push comes to shove
Trolleys - when push comes to shove

Pushing a heavy trolley can be a tough task for a cleaner. So what can be done to make trolleys easier to handle? Ann Laffeaty poses this question to manufacturers.

A cleaning trolley needs to be versatile, convenient and flexible. It also needs to be able to house all the necessary equipment for the environment in which it is to be used. For example, a hotel trolley is essentially a rolling storage facility and should be able cope with linen collection and delivery while also offering compartments for amenity items and essential cleaning products.

Office trolleys must provide space for recycling and paper waste along with cleaning tools for both hard floors and carpeted areas. And a hospital trolley should be able to accommodate waste segregation facilities plus a sufficient quantity of flat mops, cloths and gloves to allow new ones to be used in each room.

But a mobile work station is only viable if it is true to its name. And all the equipment in the world would suddenly become useless if the trolley it was on became too unwieldy to push. So when push comes to shove, how do manufacturers get around this problem?

Ease of movement is influenced by a number of factors according to Vileda’s floorcare business development director Steve Barber.

“The trolley’s circumference, its overall weight, the height of the push bars and the design of the castors all have a bearing on how easy it will be to push,” he said.

User-friendliness was the company’s key consideration when designing the Origo 2 trolley range, says Barber. “Since operators need to be able to use a trolley for many hours in the day we had to ensure that the user’s interactions with it would be as simple as possible,” he said. “For example, the Origo 2 has multi-height push bars and rails to allow all trays and storage boxes to be placed at the optimal height for the user. We have also built in stop functions to ensure that these shelves and trays do not slide out unintentionally, while the easy-roll castors work well on a wide range of
floor surfaces.”

These castors were tested on numerous floor types before the range was launched to ensure that there was minimal risk of hairs or other particles entering the castor mechanism and blocking their movement, he adds. Other user-friendly features include lockable push-button lids, finger-grips on doors, tablet storage and carry-grips on all buckets and boxes.

Ergonomy priority

“We have also included easy-to-operate satellite trolleys for bucket and press-mopping systems and for pre-prepared mops and collected waste,” said Barber.

“Designing a user-friendly, ergonomic unit is the top priority in our industry - but to do this successfully the trolley must be modular and easy to adapt to all cleaning environments. It is also important to ensure that it stands out in terms of how it looks. And all trolleys should be ‘future proof’ and capable of being adapted for digital solutions such as tablets.”

User-friendliness is a must for any trolley agrees IPC’s communications manager Gabriella Bianco. “Users today are asking for functional trolleys that are designed to satisfy all cleaning needs while also improving efficiency and speeding up the operator’s work,” she said. “Everyone is looking for trolleys that perform well as practical tools and that also help to maximise productivity by ensuring all the necessary equipment is close to hand.”

End-users also demand trolleys that are both compact and ergonomic, she said. “A compact, lightweight trolley is much easier to manoeuvre in smaller spaces, while an ergonomic trolley allows the operator to work in total safety and with a comfortable posture,” she said. IPC trolleys have an adjustable handle which is said to make the unit easy to push whatever the operator’s height.

Lightweight accessories

According to Bianco, a combination of castor wheels and lightweight materials will help to make a trolley easy to push. “All tools and accessories should be close to hand and should also be lightweight,” she adds.

Factors such as manoeuvrability and ease of use are particularly important in offices and hotels, she says. “Office trolleys need to be compact and be equipped with rubber-braked wheels and ergonomic handles,” says Bianco. “These will enable them to move around easily through all office rooms and hallways.

“And a hotel trolley should be provided with extra large wheels to enable it go up and down stairs with maximum stability.” The company’s IPC Brix Climber has large wheels to enable it to travel up and down stairs and between mezzanines without the need for a lift while the IPC Compact Office is described as a space-saving solution.

According to Bianco, today’s end-users are seeking trolley systems that can be operated comfortably while also providing ample storage space. Designed to make trolleys easier to push are the company’s off-road rubber-braked wheels which can be used on uneven surfaces and in noise-sensitive environments such as hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.

Besides ease of use she says ergonomics, efficiency and aesthetics should all be borne in mind when designing a trolley. “These will play a decisive role in trolley choice, as will sustainable features such as the use of recycled plastics,” she said. “And factors such as modularity and a competitive price are also important.”

Greenspeed’s marketing manager Floor Loos agrees with other manufacturers that every trolley should be compact and easy to manoeuvre. “The cleaner must have the feeling that it’s a joy to clean with the trolley,” she said.

Greenspeed’s C-Shuttle trolleys are made from lightweight recycled plastic which is said to make them easy to control. “There are no elements that hang outside the trolley which means that nothing can fall off,” said Loos. “The C-Shuttle also has protective corner bumpers on the handle and around the wheels plus rubber whisper wheels which provide for a quiet, easy movement.”

Sustainable and modular

Ergonomic features on Greenspeed’s trolleys include a stable handle plus a tablet-holder which can be set to display instructions.

While ease of use is a high priority, customers are also concerned about trolley design, sustainability and modularity, she says. C-Shuttle trolleys are said to be fully customisable and available in a luxury black edition which can feature bespoke printed panels.

A functional, easy-to-use trolley can make a major difference to a cleaner’s working conditions according to Filmop’s marketing manager Tanja Lovison. “Firstly it reduces effort and thus occupational issues, cutting down on absenteeism and related costs,” she said. “An easy-to-use trolley will also ease the cleaning process, improving the operator’s well-being and productivity.”

Filmop’s trolleys are made from lightweight materials and come with different-sized wheels to suit a variety of environments. “We can also add a fifth central wheel in cases where the trolley needs to carry a particularly heavy load,” she said.

Also designed to facilitate cleaning is a push-grip that may be adjusted with one click to suit the user’s height and provide the right working posture. “There is also a foot-operated cover-opening and wide-opening doors to reduce the need for the operator to bend when emptying waste and offloading dirty mops,” said Lovison.

A modular design can also help to make a trolley easier to push, she adds. “Manoeuvrability is important in any environment and it has always been our priority when developing new trolleys, particularly those that need to be used in narrow areas.”

Filmop’s Alpha Split trolley can be customised with up to eight different compartments for easy waste collection. The waste element of the trolley can become independent of the main unit by means of the Link-Up system which results in the operator having easier access to small spaces. Also from Filmop is OneFred, a double bucket wet mopping trolley which a side push-grip for easily handling.

Equipping operators with user-friendly trolleys can result in significant benefits according to TTS export sales manager Alessandro Costantini.

“Firstly, such trolleys reduce fatigue along with the risk of accidents and injuries,” he said. “They also improve the well-being and satisfaction of the operator which increases productivity. And an ergonomic trolley will improve the quality of the work carried out, reducing occupational disruption and increasing efficiency which in turn leads to a reduction in personnel costs.”

TTS trolleys are made from lightweight materials to make them easy to use and to avoid back strain on the part of the operator. The ergonomic handle and stabilised base are said to make them easy and safe to push while a range of wheel options are available depending on the application.

“Our range also includes a line of motorised trolleys designed to facilitate work and reduce effort,” said Costantini. “They require no operator thrust and are easy to move, allowing heavy loads to be transported on different surfaces and up and down slopes.”


TTS motorised trolleys have the same manoeuvrability as manual models and can be operated on any surface and at gradients of up to 12 degrees. They are driven by an integrated console that is designed to allow the operator to move the unit forward and backwards in safety. The company’s latest motorised trolley is claimed to be capable of transporting up to 150 kg without incurring any strain on the part of the operator.

“We believe trolleys need to be adapted to their environment rather than the other way around,” said Costantini. “This means it is essential to come up with solutions that guarantee efficiency even in narrow spaces, on different flooring surfaces and in environments where there are ramps, climbs and gradients.

“The challenge for the future will be to continue to assess the ever-changing needs of the industry and to develop professional solutions that meet those needs.”


Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited