Shaping the high-pressure cleaning industry

25th of January 2022
Shaping the high-pressure cleaning industry
Shaping the high-pressure cleaning industry

What are the current trends in the high-pressure sector, asks Ann Laffeaty? And how are manufacturers adapting to them?

The cleaning industry is going through a period of flux as manufacturers strive to keep up with ever-changing customer demands. There has been a general switch to daytime cleaning which means that quieter machinery is now required, for example. An enhanced concern for operator wellbeing has led to an increased focus on health and safety. As a result, ergonomics are being given a higher priority and there is a growing demand for systems that are intuitive and easy to use.

Meanwhile, a growing groundswell of interest in the sustainability issue has prompted demand for ‘greener’ cleaning solutions that have a minimal impact on the environment. And of course the elephant in the room – Covid-19 – has prompted a surge in demand for cleaning systems that kill bacteria and viruses.

So, how have these trends shaped the high-pressure cleaning sector, and what are the chief requirements of the industry today?

Efficiency, productivity, hygiene and sustainability are among the main drivers of today’s high-pressure cleaning industry according to IPC’s content marketing and social media manager Chiara Molardi.

“The focus is on producing cleaner, safer environments while also maximising efficiency and productivity with the use of sustainable cleaning technologies,” she said.

Safe and clean

Graffiti removal has moved lower down the list of priorities, says Molardi. “The chief goal today is to ensure that the environments in which we work and live are kept safe, clean and sanitised.”

She has noted an increasing demand for quieter systems that facilitate daytime cleaning regimes “There is much more awareness of this topic at present,” she said. “The need to use quieter cleaning equipment is particularly important in more sensitive environments, and manufacturers are coming up with innovative machines that offer noise-reducing technologies.”

Another trend has been an increased commitment to sustainability, according to Molardi. “There is a growing need to provide sustainable cleaning equipment in terms of energy savings, water savings and chemical reduction,” she said. “Our own recent product developments point in that direction.”

The company’s PW-E100 HT electrical hot water high-pressure cleaner is made from more than 90 per cent of recyclable materials. Equipped with a three-stage high efficiency boiler, the PW-E100 HT is said to be productive and sustainable and can be used in those areas where gas emissions are not allowed.

The issues of health, safety and ergonomics are key requirements for IPC when developing a machine, she says. “Posture is very important, and a few simple details can make all the difference,” she said.

“For example, our high-pressure washers feature handles with adjustable heights to adapt to the operator; and our machines are equipped with accessory holders that ensure the user always has everything at hand without having to bend over or assume awkward positions.

“And the spray guns are equipped with rotating joints to prevent the hose from twisting, which makes it easier to use.”

The ability to clean quickly, thoroughly and efficiently while keeping costs and emissions as low as possible are the main drivers of today’s high-pressure cleaning industry according to DiBO’s communications manager Kat Coppieters.

“Customers demand quiet machines with the lowest possible emissions and with a good total cost of ownership,” she said. “The removal of viruses and contaminants was a very important issue at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we were able to achieve this with steam cleaning technology. But our machines are mainly for outdoor use now that more people have been vaccinated, we feel that the need to hygienically clean outdoor areas has somewhat decreased.”

The issue of graffiti removal has always been a top priority for DiBO, she says, but the topics of health, safety and operator comfort have gradually been coming further to the fore.

“At DiBO we try to think along with the user,” she said. “Safety comes first, but simplicity of operation is also very important to us.” The company’s trailer-mounted high-pressure machines come equipped with a digital display and a joystick. “The display guides the user through the programme step by step and the joystick is easy to operate, even with gloves,” she said.

Quieter systems

An increase in daytime cleaning is another trend shaping the industry, she says. “We have certainly noticed an increasing demand for quieter systems that fit with daytime cleaning regimes,” she said. “In response to this we have developed a battery-powered machine that is extremely low noise. And it is also low on CO2 emissions, because sustainability is another factor that comes high up on
our agenda.”

DiBO’s new battery-powered JMB-ME hot water high-pressure trailer is said to reduce water consumption and reduces the need for chemicals or eliminates it altogether.

Kärcher has seen a definite demand for systems that reduce the viral load, according to high-pressure cleaners product manager Dominik Rauer. But he adds that this actually pre-dated the global pandemic. “Even before Covid-19 there was a trend in several countries towards higher standards of hygiene and the reduction of viruses - and this is now becoming more important worldwide,” he said.

“It is quite common to fight viruses with the use of a disinfectant in combination with a high-pressure cleaner. So the ability to disinfect with a high-pressure cleaning system has become a requirement in certain groups over and above the standard use of the equipment.”

Battery power

According to Rauer, Kärcher now has proof from an independent institute that Covid-19 can be effectively reduced with hot water alone using the company’s hot water high-pressure cleaner.

“Enveloped viruses such as the coronavirus, influenza, ebolavirus and hantavirus can be reduced using water temperatures of 65°C applied to a contaminated surface and with a contact time of under one minute,” he said. “And non-enveloped adenoviruses are effectively eliminated using temperatures of 75°C and a with contact time of less than five minutes.”

He claims that an increased sensitivity to noise emissions has become a current trend. “Where machines operate during the daytime they need to do so as quietly as possible,” he said. “This means the use of combustion motors is becoming more difficult and battery-powered machines are becoming more important as a result.” Kärcher’s new HD 4/11 C Bp - launched last year – is claimed by the company to be the industry’s first professional battery-powered high-pressure cleaner.

A growing awareness of the need for sustainability is another industry driver, he said. “As an example, the removal of weeds is increasingly being carried out with the use of hot water under high pressure instead of using chemicals,” he said. “High-pressure systems are also being used for the cleaning of solar and photovoltaic panels.

“And user health and safety is another driving factor in the high-pressure industry, with an increasing focus on ergonomics.” He claims the Kärcher EASY!Force trigger gun – available on machines with an automatic hose reel – to be unique in the market because it dramatically reduces strain on the operator’s hands and fingers.

According to Rauer it is important to consider a high-pressure cleaner as a complete system rather than simply as a machine. “With the aid of the right accessories it becomes a solution and
a problem-solver,” he said. Kärcher offers a complete range of accessories including rotating roller heads and brushes, multipurpose telescopic lances and adapter sets.

Despite the fluid marketplace, the high-pressure cleaning industry has no problem adapting to current trends, according to Rauer. “This is a well-established sector with a long history and due to its versatile nature, the high-pressure sector is always able to react to social trends,” he said.

So, how will the industry evolve in the future? “There will be many more smart accessories developed to perform cleaning tasks even better than they can today,” he said.  “Connectivity will also bring further support for daily cleaning tasks, and sustainability will increasingly become in focus. So the use of recycled materials plus the reduction of exhaust gases will drive the industry, and the use of battery-powered products will also be in line with this.”


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