Monday, May 20, 2024
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Changing Dynamics with Cleaning Automation

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The traditional methods of cleaning are fast transforming with increased automation, leading to changes in how cleaning tasks are performed, managed, and perceived. These changes impact efficiency, cost-effectiveness, labour deployment, and overall cleanliness standards. Additionally, it also impacts changes in the roles and responsibilities of cleaning personnel as automation takes over routine tasks, allowing them to focus on more complex or specialised cleaning activities.

Looking at it from the facility maintenance point of view, Wilson Selvaraj, Country Director-Industry & Manufacturing Segment, ISS Facility Services India Private Limited, elaborates the differentiating factors and the challenges that comes with cleaning automation.

Over the last two years, cleaning automation has made inroads into many newer segments and increased usage in some of the existing segments. Defence, airports, manufacturing units, hospitality, healthcare, gated communities and others are prominent examples.

Some of the major areas that require cleaning automation, says Wilson, in general includes the following:

•     High traffic areas: Facilities with high foot fall often have sections like entrances, lobbies, corridors and restrooms that are constantly worn down. Automated vacuum cleaners and floor scrubbers can carry out cleaning rounds all day long, keeping the area looking neat and professional. Places like malls, airports and healthcare centres need frequent attention.

•     Large floor areas: Facilities like retail centres, airports, warehouses railway stations and large offices have huge floor space that needs to be cleaned frequently. Eliminating cleaning time and labour expenses, autonomous floor cleaning equipment can effectively clean expansive areas.

•     Smart washrooms: It is important to keep restrooms tidy. Toilet bowl cleaners and dispensers that operate automatically can guarantee constant sanitation and lower the chance of germ transfer. We automate the washrooms for our clients. Sensors monitoring odour, liquid soap levels, and replenishment of toilet rolls raise alerts at the appropriate time for FMs to act. Technology has reduced the number of visits to the washroom by the janitor. Insights on how many people have used the washroom, consumption of liquid soap, toilet paper, water and cleaning chemicals have led to the restroom now being converted to a ’smart washroom’.

•     Window cleaning: Cleaning windows may be a dangerous and time-consuming task, particularly for high rise structures. Robotic window cleaners can securely and efficiently clean windows by navigating the exteriors of buildings.

•    Smart trash bins: Trash collection can be automated by using smart bins that have sensors to indicate when they are full, which will maximise waste disposal and enhance cleanliness. Smart trash management ensures automatic segregation of waste into the respective bins without manual intervention.

Shortfalls or Plus points in the existing solutions available in the market, especially in specific areas of usage

Pros:

•     Compared to humans, automated cleaning systems can clean larger areas more quickly and completely, finishing activities in less time.

•     By freeing up employees for other crucial duties, automation may help cut down on the demand for full time cleaners.

•     By eliminating unpredictability and human error, automated solutions can guarantee that cleaning activities are completed consistently and to a high degree.

Cons:

•     Automated cleaning systems are definitely more costly to purchase/deploy. However, in the long run it is more cost effective and gives quality results.

•     Only a limited number of cleaning activities can be completed by current methods, especially those that call for ability or involve working in crowded areas. For example, the auto scrubber machines need to be programmed. The challenge is that with automated cleaning machines, robots may find it difficult to manoeuvre through dynamic or complex situations.

•     Extra care needs to be put in where safety and other related issues are concerned.

The new growing segments that require specialised automation which are tech-driven

•     Datacentres: Cleanrooms with low dust levels are essential to the datacentres. For these delicate surroundings to remain clean, sophisticated air filtration robots and dedicated floor cleaning equipment are essential.

•     Solar panel cleaning: The efficiency of solar panels depends on keeping them clean. Automated cleaning robots can navigate large solar farms, removing dust and debris effectively.

The requirement of tech-driven and robotic machines to meet the growing infrastructure demands

•     Enhanced Speed and Efficiency: Compared to manual labour, robots can operate continuously, covering enormous areas in a methodical manner and finishing jobs more quickly. Because of its increased efficiency, cleaning cycles can occur more frequently, which maintains infrastructure in optimal condition.

•     Cost Reduction: Robotic cleaning systems can lower the long-term expenses related to manual labour, even though there is an upfront investment. Automation also reduces cleaning related downtime, which lowers total operating costs.

•     Data driven cleaning: State of the art robots can gather important information about cleaning activities, including locations that need extra care or possible equipment problems. The cleaning procedures and general infrastructure maintenance plans can be enhanced with the usage of this data.

•     Flexibility and Adaptability: Robots can be programmed to do a wide range of cleaning duties, such as window washing on tall buildings and floor scrubbing in busy areas. They can be used for a variety of infrastructure purposes because of their adaptability.

•    Enhanced Safety: Cleaning jobs in infrastructure can be dangerous, particularly in small or high-rise spaces. These dangerous tasks can be completed by robots, lowering the possibility of worker casualties.

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