Day to day impacts of cleaning machines

24th of November 2023
Day to day impacts of cleaning machines

In the cleaning sector, the benefits of a ‘sustainability first’ approach extend beyond the traditional, more obvious initiatives and touch on day-to-day machine-related operational impacts. Cost-effective servicing programmes can underpin machine repair, maintenance and reuse to extend working lifespans and ensure machines do not end up in landfill prematurely. John Brill, sales director at Nilfisk, tells us more.

Like all sectors, the cleaning industry is under scrutiny to demonstrate its sustainability credentials. Efficient use of water and chemical volumes, cutting waste and opting for cleaning machine solutions that consume less power and produce fewer harmful emissions, are some of the ways the cleaning sector can contribute to a better and greener future.

But the benefits of a sustainability-first approach extend beyond these factors and touch on day-to-day machine-related operational impacts. Cost-effective servicing programmes to underpin machine repair, maintenance, and reuse to extend working lifespans, ensures machines do not end up in landfill prematurely.

The cleaning industry is not immune to the requirement to act responsibly, with equipment strategies needed to offset the sustainability impact of cleaning activities, but at the same time deliver high performing cleaning solutions.

And companies can take positive steps to ensure that both aims are tackled simultaneously.
They can use advanced cleaning machine technology, together with a sustainably based lifecycle offering, to ensure effective cleaning performance is maintained, but that equipment also makes a progressive contribution to the ongoing sustainability challenge.

Keep machinery working

The term ‘sweating assets’ is a familiar refrain for many organisations which may not have the financial headroom to invest in new capital expenditure. For cleaning contractors seeking to reduce cost pressures, build in operational sustainability and maintain service standards, the ability to make machines run as long and as efficiently as possible can be both a practical and strategic answer.

Organisations looking to optimise their cleaning operations, but mindful of the sustainability, cost and labour issues they face, should examine access to incremental efficiency gains across their cleaning responsibilities, including how they maintain or replace current machines, so they continue to perform better for longer before needing to be discarded.

For managers it is frustrating to have to deal with a cleaning machine out of action due to a fault or unplanned maintenance requirement and, as such, keeping machine downtime to a minimum is a key efficiency objective. This can be achieved in several ways:  from the specification of diagnostic sensors on cleaning machines that provide prior warnings of potential part failure or undertaking preventative maintenance measures to ensure the machine continues to operate to full capacity.

But if machinery fails, having a strategic back-up plan can help mitigate the impact of downtime and ensure staff continue to be effectively deployed. In such instances, it is imperative the machine is repaired without undue delay and, where necessary, replacement assets are adeptly employed.

To assist in building better resilience and enhance the long-term sustainability of operations, the smart strategic answer is to partner with a manufacturer and establish a guaranteed service agreement; one that covers an organisation’s entire cleaning machine fleet through a single source contract.

Such contracts promise the practical benefits of asset replacement without delay and create peace of mind thanks to regular maintenance oversight that drastically improves equipment performance, lifespans and diminishes the possibility of the machines simply being considered of no use and thrown away.

Good contracts also ensure a range of options are continuously supported and they perform as and when expected.  Importantly, such agreements are not exclusive to one manufacturer’s product solutions, but are also flexible to cater for other producers’ equipment.

Effective solutions deliver access to skilled technicians to ensure equipment is regularly serviced, benefits from timely repairs, is maintained to the highest standards and delivers optimal performance over the lifecycle of the cleaning machine. They maximise and protect the value of investments, while also keeping costs under control and offer added value benefits such as documented service records and certified spare parts. They also help make a positive sustainability contribution.

Help with reuse and recycle

All machines will eventually come to the end of their working optimisation. At that stage, a key sustainability aspect of machinery deployment is what to do with the solution that needs replacing. Cleaning professionals who no longer need their old machine, or wish to opt for a new purchase could, for example, simply hand it back to the manufacturer as part of a take-back initiative.

In any programme designed to support sustainability aims, the device will be carefully inspected and, if necessary, reprocessed. Subsequently, the machine can be used as a high-quality used device and will avoid being sent to landfill. If damage or wear on the machine is too serious, it can be professionally recycled with all recyclable raw materials removed, and the rest disposed of separately.

Consuming resources sustainably

Sustainability ambitions also extend to waste and resource reduction around material use and packaging. A prime example is the use of water and chemical resources that needs to be minimised where possible.

When it comes to floor cleaning for example, smart dosing systems offer tangible economic and effective use of both cleaning chemicals and water and help with lessening the overall environmental impact.

Modern solutions also allow cleaning professionals to adapt exactly to the respective conditions – depending on the type and degree of contamination, different cleaning modes can be activated at the simple push of a button. Through these, the volumes of chemicals, water flow and contact pressure are modified so cleaning is always conducted as intensively as required, but resources used as sparingly as possible.

And the latest technology available also allows water and detergents to be dosed fully automatically. Depending on the speed of the scrubber dryer the cleaning solution can be applied evenly and highly efficiently. Sustainable and economical cleaning of even large areas is possible without any problems.

In addition to floor cleaning, there are other potential resource areas for sustainability gain. For those wishing to dispense with chemical cleaning agents, the use of powerful hot water high-pressure cleaners and steam cleaners can be a simple and efficient alternative. With forceful pressure and high temperatures, they remove stubborn dirt and germs.

Energy saving

Finally, it is also possible to work more sustainably during the actual cleaning process with sustainable drive systems now becoming increasingly relevant.  Available cleaning technology can help the cleaning sector deliver an ongoing, effective, and transformative sustainability contribution,  without compromising productivity and results.

Taking a holistic view about all the primary factors - from lifecycle cost, opting for regular servicing and maintenance to support better machine reliability and ongoing performance, as well as optimised resource use - can ensure the industry will continue to play its part in ensuring a better world for all.


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