Choosing cleaning equipment such as scrubber-dryers is influenced by factors that deal with preservation of natural resources and limiting the environmental impact. Tennant discuss importance of selecting scrubber-dryers that support economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Among the top environmental issues facing the cleaning industry are energy efficiency, water quality and quantity, air pollution and waste management. Innovative hard floor cleaning solutions providers typically focus on these aspects of sustainability:
- Environmental aspect
- Reducing or eliminating harsh chemicals
- Reducing waste
- Reducing office/plant resources
- Reducing packaging
- Social aspect
- Reducing chemical accidents
- Producing low noise machines
- Reducing VOCs (volatile organic compound)
- Integrating ergonomics
- Economic aspect
- Product benefits
- Differentiated results
- Lower costs
- Economic profit
Manufacturers choose these aspects because they impact the environment and their business. Driven by the market requirements in sustainability, cleaning equipment manufacturers now offer solutions that meet the expectations in natural resources protection, waste reduction and energy savings. The portfolio has grown to include innovative ‘off the floor’ solutions, superior cleaning solutions that emit fewer toxins, reduce engine emissions, use less water, use fewer or no chemicals, and minimise noise levels, among others.
When a cleaning professional or facility manager consider a potential investment in scrubber-dryers for the facility maintenance programme, the solutions provider will look at all aspects and propose the scrubber-dryer that best fits the application while ensuring productivity and superior cleaning results.
Protecting the environment has become an integral part of many facility maintenance programmes. With new information on the negative impact of some chemicals, airborne particles, and even noise, many new industry standards and regulations actually mandate environmental sustainability. Latest innovations in scrubber-dryers concentrate on productivity, reduction of chemical use, safety, operator comfort and waste reduction. These are all linked to the social, economic and environmental sustainability pillars.
Salaries and wages represent the biggest cost when operating facility cleaning and maintenance. Therefore, any increase in productivity immediately translates into a cost reduction and a higher effectiveness. Coupled with additional performance enhancements, such as larger solution tanks, wider cleaning paths, and longer battery life, scrubber-dryers have redefined how today’s hard floor surfaces are cleaned.
Nowadays, scrubber-dryers come equipped with chemical-free and quick-dry technologies that also use less water with a good cleaning result. Cleaning technologies that make efficient use of water and thereby reduce the fill and drain instances during the cleaning cycle have an immediate effect on the cost of operation.
Pre-dosed chemicals offer the benefit of operator safety and also reduce down-time because there is no need for mixing and measuring detergents. Scrubber-dryers with quick-dry technologies leave just-cleaned high traffic areas available for passage in a much shorter time. It will increase cleaning productivity and allows for 24/7 operation.
The environmental concerns force machine manufacturers to invest in technological innovations that allow scrubber-dryers to run on less or no chemicals while achieving adequate cleaning results. The development of chemical dispensing systems is an important evolution in the hard floor care industry. Automated chemical dilution and proportioning systems are replacing less effective and less safe dispensing methods.
Automated chemical dispensing systems ensure that the proper amount of chemical is used on the floor, which protects the floor surface from potentially damaging chemicals. This also saves on chemical costs by eliminating over-use, and it reduces waste.
Scrubber-dryers equipped with chemical reducing technologies are a good choice for today’s facility managers and cleaning professionals. They affect safety and the waste stream in different manners: the waste water is less hazardous for operators and the environment (no need for separate disposal) and the packaging reduction that comes from not using chemicals or using less of them is an important environmental benefit.
When operators can work with pre-dosed or less or no chemicals, the risk of exposure to harmful detergents and effluents is minimised, resulting in operator safety. Scrubber-dryers that leave floors immediately dry after cleaning present a reduced risk of slip and fall accidents. Both workers and visitors will benefit from this aspect.
Maintaining hard floor surfaces with a scrubber-dryer helps to reduce the amount of dust that gathers on the floor. The less dust there is to remove, the less dust there is to potentially become airborne and affect indoor air quality, which is another reason for choosing first-rate scrubber-dryers. Operator comfort is highly impacted as well by ergonomic enhancements, low sound levels and easy-to-use machines that do not require lengthy training cycles for operating the scrubber-dryer and handling chemicals.
Just as the safety of maintenance personnel and facility occupants must be addressed when considering how to care for a hard floor area, so, too, must the safety of the facility itself. Not only does routine maintenance pose a risk to the structure, walls, columns, floors but it also poses a risk to other components within that facility shelving, products and assembly lines.
While older cleaning machines were bulky and square with sharp corner points, some of the built ride-on scrubber-dryers are highly manoeuvrable and include corner rollers that ‘grip’ a wall or stationary object and roll the machine forward. In addition, headlights improve operator visibility to avoid bumping into walls, columns or other obstacles.
Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to reduce packaging throughout the manufacturing and supply chain: from choosing suppliers that run waste reduction programmes to delivery of finished goods in reduced and recyclable packaging. The customer has the benefit when receiving the equipment or parts and by decreasing the use of chemicals there is no need for storage of detergent jugs or containers at the customer’s site. The ecological footprint through waste reduction is less significant than in the past.
There are numerous examples of best practices in hard floor care, such as those listed here. They continue to grow as new scrubber-dryer technologies continue to advance. The bottom line: with the evolution of best practices in equipment and cleaning chemicals, there is no time like the present to choose scrubber-dryers that allow customers to maintain a high performance floor care programme that produces a good looking floor, all while preserving natural resources.