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Efficient hygiene16th of September 2011
The fact large areas also need to be cleaned in accordance with the increased demands on cleanliness does not mean that hygiene and efficiency represent conflicting aspects. Modern scrubber dryers use various technologies to increase efficiency without reducing the quality of the results of cleaning - explains Hako.
Corridors and open areas in public buildings play an important role – they serve as connecting elements between parts of buildings, represent communication routes for customers in shopping centres or meeting points and information areas for visitors in museums and hospitals. However, they can only fulfil their function when the people in them feel at ease. The cleanliness of the floors is an important factor here, quite apart from the basic legal requirements in respect of hygiene and cleanliness which are becoming increasingly strict.
In order to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of these areas at a constantly high level, solutions to economic problems are necessary: efficient machines with which large areas can be cleaned in as short a time as possible without cleanliness and hygiene being affected.
The demand for cleanliness in buildings is constantly increasing and one trend is more routine cleaning, less basic cleaning. As in the past, cost saving has top priority, meaning shortening cleaning times to reduce wage costs. This has created completely new conditions with regard to the demands made of cleaning machines.
All improvements to cleaning machines which could result in the reduction of periods of operation are appreciated by the customer and required during the machine selection phase. Which machines offer short set-up times and long operating times? How can you save on initial costs as well as costs for water, power, cleaning agents and wearing parts in the interest of the environment?
Manufacturers of commercial cleaning technology take all this into account during machine development and offer product ranges with modular designs and increased options for deployment.
Tailor-made customer upgrading options are also provided as well as plug-and-clean machines which are supplied ready to use.
Reducing set-up times
Today there are many more of sensitive applications where cleaning machines must be used several times a day. In the case of machine for wet cleaning, focus is set on reducing set-up times to increase efficiency: eg, through further developments in battery technology and quick-charge systems on offer. They offer solutions with which machines can be recharged to continue operation in about 30 minutes.
The batteries used are maintenance-free and, due to their special design, can be charged with high currents enabling intermediate charging at any time. The chargers only require a nominal voltage of 230 V/AC – meaning that charging is possible from any power socket. This results in a particularly high level of machine utilisation and almost permanent availability. Also, as a result of the long life of the batteries, it is an environmentally friendly and economic system.
Increased coverage with same size
Smaller, more manoeuvrable and better arranged manual scrubber dryers with a broad working width are already on the market, providing higher levels of efficiency for larger floor surfaces. If a small scrubber dryer equipped, for example, with a circular brush unit with a working width of 51 cm provides a theoretical area coverage of up to 2,300 square metres per hour, the same machine equipped with a 65 cm brush unit can clean a surface area which is 25 per cent larger in the same time.
Economic cleaning agents
Costs for cleaning agents is a factor which must not be underestimated in respect of routine cleaning. The costs for this can be reduced considerably, however, because the use of chemical agents is often unnecessary or only necessary within a minimum scope. Manufacturers have developed various solutions for cleaning floors with machines whereby the amount of cleaning agent used is reduced or can be dispensed with altogether without affecting the quality of the results of cleaning.
Cleaning agent dosing systems add only as much cleaning agent to the water as necessary. These systems are available as stationary systems or as onboard solutions. The latter system is comprised of a regulated pump in which the feed rate of the cleaning agent is dependent on the water flow rate. The system can also be installed in machines without a water pump. The concentration adjustment is continuously variable and remains constant even if the operator increases or reduces the water supply. This prevents overdosing or underdosing.
Too much or too little cleaning agent leads to suboptimal cleaning results which, in extreme cases, can necessitate re-cleaning - in the event of overdosing it also represents an extra burden on materials and the waste water. Costs are increased, too.
Highly concentrated cleaning agents for daily, routine cleaning are undergoing developments to further improve economic use of cleaning technology. Tests showed that using this type of agent, for example, brought considerable savings in cleaning agent costs and, consequently, for transport, storage and disposal. These cleaning agents are provided in packages which fit the onboard dosing systems and thus ensure additional savings in valuable working time because time-consuming refilling is dispensed with.
Reduced water consumption
Various measures developed also help to reduce water consumption: eg, by attaching a water retaining ring to the brushes. The water retaining ring keeps the cleaning media on the area to be cleaned for a longer period, the dirt is loosened reliably and flushed away. At the same time, electronically regulated pumps ensure exact dosing to the cleaning equipment according to driving speed. This enables savings of up to 50 per cent in water and cleaning agents.
Under certain circumstances, cleaning agents can be dispensed with altogether: in such cases, the operator has the option of using the CoD process (Chemical on Demand) to complete cleaning using normal tap water. In the case of heavier soiling, a cleaning agent can be added to the water at the touch of a button just before the brushes are applied. This means that the clean water tank can be maintained free of any chemicals.
Cleaning without chemicals
This effect is reinforced when demineralised water is used for cleaning. In this case, all the minerals present in normal tap water (organic salts, ions) are removed. Demineralised water is particularly soft and, as a result, can flush out particles of dirt on the floor very well, loosens it better and clears it up. The water dries without leaving any residues or streaks and limescale marks. In addition, re-soiling is reduced dramatically because particles of dirt no longer have any adhesion opportunities on residual surfactant, soap or lime.
This process has been used for a long time in other branches, such as cleaning glass and facades. Comprehensive tests have shown that the use of demineralised water also achieves good cleaning results when cleaning floors with machines.
This effect can be even further enhanced by the use of special scrubbing tools (special brushes/microfibre pads/diamond pad system). This means that when elastic floors are cleaned using diamond pads, coating and thus, conventional basic cleaning can be dispensed with. When used in combination with non-chemical cleaning, excellent cleaning and shining results can be achieved while also preventing environmental pollution.
Cleaning agents cannot, however, be dispensed with everywhere, eg, when cleaning is required to comply with the HACCP concept such as in clinics, retirement homes, canteen kitchens or in the food processing and storage sector. In this case, antibacterial waste water tanks provide an option which can increase hygiene levels during cleaning without using any additional cleaning agent. If the interiors of waste water tanks are not cleaned thoroughly after use, contamination can develop over the course of time which would then represent a particular risk, especially in sensitive areas such as clinics, residential homes and nursing homes.
In order to counter this, the waste water tanks are produced using plastics with special additives. These additives reduce bacterial and fungal development dramatically; meaning the use of disinfectants can be reduced substantially when cleaning the tanks.
Protecting the environment
Positive effects of the measures to increase efficiency: many have a direct, positive effect in respect of environmental protection and saving resources, such as the reduced consumption of water and cleaning agents. Environmental protection does not start with use of the machine - an increasing number of customers put emphasis on machines being not only designed with efficiency in mind but are also for a sustained future. The entire product life cycle of the machine is considered here. From design to production, naturally to product utility and on to recycling and disposal. By selecting the construction materials carefully, many components on correspondingly designed scrubber dryers can be reused or recycled without any problems. An important aspect within the scope of sustainability is the service life of the scrubber dryer. A machine can only be used for a long time and thus, be efficient when high quality materials are used in its construction. This relates to impact resistant plastic tanks, aluminium brush heads or stainless steel squeegees and also to an overall stable, maintenance-friendly design.
Such constructions offer a further advantage, in view of the trend towards continuous daily cleaning, cleaning machines today operate increasingly under the watchful eye of passers-by and customers. The machine is then often an advertisement for the company or institution for which it is used. By using high quality materials, the appearance of the machine is retained for a long time and the machine, in turn, projects a positive company image.
Acceptance by operators
Since the machine must be used as frequently and regularly as the demands on cleanliness and hygiene require, it must also be accepted by the operators. A major condition for this is that the scrubber dryer provides an ergonomic workplace. Sprung, comfort seat, optimum view of the work area and sufficient legroom enable longer periods of operation. Simple operation is an important aspect ensuring the machine is used willingly and frequently -electronic controls have made great progress in this respect.
The driver no longer needs to manipulate various switches, levers and knobs but can operate the entire range of machine functions via a single knob. It is often the case that individual cleaning programmes can be input so that the machine can be adapted optimally to the respective building characteristics.
Another important condition for combining hygiene and efficiency is that the scrubber dryer must suit the building. Only a tailor-made solution can be efficient and effective at the same time. It is then possible to cover large areas, leaving them in a clean, hygienic condition and at reasonable costs.