Cleaning Industry Innovation
Robotics and Cobotics
By Johan le Roux, Divisional Manager Tsebo Cleaning Solutions
Robotics have been used in industrial settings for some time, but in recent years they have become increasingly popular with consumers, with devices such as robotic vacuum cleaners, floor scrubbers and equipment fitted with telematics to show productivity.
The adoption of such technologies is gaining momentum quickly within professional cleaning too.
Short for collaborative robotics, ‘cobotics’ means robots that are intended for direct interactions with humans. Consistent and transparent reporting from these machines provides reliable information regarding specific areas cleaned and when it was cleaned.
This is extremely important information for internal processes as well as providing a value-add to the customer or client. The ability to monitor and interact with the machines remotely via phone, tablet, or desktop, gives operators and supervisors the opportunity to perform other tasks while maintaining oversight of the machines under their area of responsibility.
Adopting technological solutions can help cleaning companies in utilising staff in a better way. Cobotics will free up human time by taking care of repetitive cleaning tasks in large open areas. Humans can then focus on other detail cleaning tasks.
Designed for optimum performances in mind, they are easy to operate and always deliver a superior quality of work.
They are ideal for large open areas like retail environments, hospitality, airports or more. In general, it will use less cleaning product and water than a traditional floor cleaning approach, thus also reduce the environmental impact. Some of these machines does not use water at all, using bacteria-removing microfibre to clean floors. In addition to this, modern battery charging approaches means that these machines can operate for longer periods, improving productivity.
Technology is not only focussed on floor cleaning equipment but can also be found in various other applications for example hygiene soap dispensing units, toilet roll dispensers, systems that will communicate with a supervisor to request a clean of an area after it has been in use. Various applications are available today to assist cleaning companies to ensure service delivery is always to the expectation of the client as well as the optimisation of labour.
What Innovative Cleaning Solutions Could Mean For South Africa
1. Enhanced Efficiency: Advanced cleaning technology, including robotics and ‘cobotics,’ streamlines cleaning processes, ensuring faster and more efficient results. This efficiency can lead to significant time and cost savings for businesses and organisations across different sectors.
2. Improved Hygiene Standards: Innovative cleaning solutions can ensure a higher level of cleanliness and hygiene, particularly in public spaces, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions. This improvement in hygiene standards contributes to better public health outcomes and reduces the risk of diseases.
3. Environmental Sustainability: Many advanced cleaning technologies emphasise eco-friendly cleaning practices, using minimal water and cleaning products. By adopting these methods, South Africa can reduce its environmental impact, conserve water resources, and promote sustainability, aligning with global environmental goals.
4. Job Creation: The adoption of advanced cleaning technology creates a demand for skilled technicians, engineers, and operators, leading to job creation within the technology sector. Training programs and educational initiatives can further enhance the workforce’s skills, contributing to economic growth and employment opportunities.
5. Increased Productivity: Automating repetitive cleaning tasks allows human workers to focus on more intricate and detail-oriented responsibilities. This shift can lead to higher overall productivity as employees engage in tasks that require creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
6. Attraction of Investment: Demonstrating a commitment to cutting-edge technologies in public and private spaces can enhance South Africa’s image globally. This positive reputation can attract foreign investments, fostering economic development and technological innovation within the country.
7. Education and Skill Development: The integration of advanced cleaning technology into educational curricula can empower the next generation with valuable skills. By fostering expertise in robotics, automation, and maintenance, South Africa can prepare its workforce for the jobs of the future.
8. Public Safety: Cleaner environments contribute to increased public safety. Well-maintained public spaces, transportation systems, and healthcare facilities enhance the overall safety and well-being of citizens, fostering a sense of security and community.
In summary, embracing advanced cleaning technology in South Africa would not only lead to cleaner and more sustainable environments but also drive economic growth, create jobs, and position the nation as a leader in technological innovation and environmental stewardship.
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