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Don't be floored by cleaning issues

21 November 2013

Whatever kind of industrial site you manage, be it factory, warehouse, storage facility, transport depot or distribution centre, making sure you have the right cleaning regimes and equipment is important for the smooth running of your business. Natalie Dowse, marketing and product manager for Truvox International, outlines some of the issues to consider

In today’s fast-moving business environment the only thing you can guarantee is that nothing stays the same for long. The rapid development of products and services has become the norm – and the industrial flooring sector is no exception.

Getting your cleaning regime right for your particular company is essential, and going ‘back to basics’ is a useful exercise. It doesn’t matter whether you are starting up at a new site or location, or looking to review an established routine with an aim to improve its effectiveness. By asking yourself, and your employees, some fundamental, common sense questions it will help to plan a new system, or contribute to the evaluation and improvement of an existing one.

Cleaning hard industrial floors that accumulate a wide range of hard to shift liquids and materials that are the result of industrial manufacturing, processing or machining needs strong, safe and consistently effective cleaning equipment designed to stand up to tough treatment. Cleaning hard floors in industrial sites puts a greater strain on motors and bearings than commercial cleaning in offices and, if metal waste is a regular occurrence, vacuum cleaners will need to be up to the task. Making sure that you understand the issues associated with each surface before you purchase cleaning equipment or employ the services of a contract cleaner is therefore a must.

The type of building to be cleaned needs to be carefully assessed so a site survey is a good place to start. Some points to consider are: how many floors does it have, and are there lifts between floors, as well as stairs?  How wide are the doorways, and what specific tasks are carried out in each area of your site? Is the floor of the factory oily, littered with metal swarf, or sawdust, and is there evidence of trodden-in dirt by the door to the factory? Are there shelving, pallets or conveyor belts to negotiate, and what other machinery, such as fork lift trucks, does the site play host to?

Choosing a good equipment supplier that can advise on the right products for your sites is crucial. The cleaning equipment that is required and the frequency with which the cleaning is carried out will depend on the type of floor, the traffic across the floor, and how much dirt is trodden in. Thankfully, multipurpose machines can now be used to look after several different floor types.

In summary, the factors that need to be considered when choosing cleaning equipment for industrial sites include:

•  Speed: A floor cleaning machine that gets a job done thoroughly in 50% of the time taken by another model can help industrial sites to operate more efficiently, and save money.

•  Availability and cost of consumables:  Check the cost of pads, etc. before you order and check what maintenance machines require.

•  Manoeuvrability:  Companies are using space more intensively to keep costs down and machines should be able to be easily manoeuvred into tight spaces. There is also the issue of occupational health and safely in relation to lifting machinery.

•  Safety:  Both for your operator and the people who may be on the premises while they are being cleaned. Consider, for example, cordless battery-powered machines that have no trailing wires, and scrubber dryers that leave the floor dry after one pass to avoid slips and falls.

•  Reliability: Check the guarantee terms. Ask sales people for reference contacts that can tell you their experience of the machine you are considering. A machine out of action for even one day could have a major impact on the smooth running of your site.

•  Training:  Ask any supplier what training is supplied with each machine and whether they can offer training for future employees.