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There’s a rising number of commercial and industrial cleaning robots in today’s society. Cleanliness could directly impact worker and consumer well-being, boost a company’s profits and more. Here are some of the interesting applications for nonhousehold cleaning robots.
1. Helping Workers and Consumers Feel More Comfortable
Since we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, many people engage in risk assessments for activities that never gave them hesitation before. For example, some individuals feel it’s safer to buy goods online, decreasing traffic at their local outlets. Some professionals may also feel nervous about working their shifts, especially in industrial facilities with poor ventilation and close quarters.
A Robot Tackles Cleaning an HVAC Manufacturing Plant
Cleaning robots can address both those issues by cleaning surfaces and even the air. At a manufacturing location for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units, facilities director Charlie Strange found himself exploring new ways to clean the building. He settled on a robot, which makes sense given that the facility is the world’s fifth-largest factory.
He said the robot could clean 200,000 square feet of space in about two-and-a-half hours — something that would take a human team all night to do. Contaminant tests involved placing plates of microbes from a compost heap around the plant and inspecting them to see the outcome. The results showed the robot worked as advertised. It performed best in rooms with good airflow because the breeze helped circulate the machine’s disinfectant.
Robots Help Clean Frequently Visited Commercial Spaces
Robots are increasingly tasked with cleaning shopping centres, sports areas and other heavily high-traffic areas. For example, one company has its commercial cleaning robot in more than 75 facilities throughout Canada, including shops and schools. It can keep going for six hours before requiring recharging.
Solutions like these can give people more peace of mind when going to a facility to work or for pleasure. That’s one of the reasons why businesses increasingly use them as part of their COVID-19 mitigation protocols.
2. Reducing Accidents
Cleaning is an important part of building maintenance and industrial equipment upkeep. However, depending on what’s involved, people may put their lives at risk. Robotics experts often say the machines excel at dirty, dull and dangerous work. Some cleaning tasks check all three of those boxes.
Industrial Cleaning Robots Keep Humans Out of Harm’s Way
Any industry requiring bulk storage or transport relies on gigantic tanks that need periodic cleaning. These containers may hold liquids such as water and oil. Sticking to a recommended cleaning schedule removes the naturally occurring buildup that can make operations less efficient.
However, industrial tanks usually have only one entry and exit point, making it difficult to escape during emergencies. These receptacles also often contain toxic or flammable chemicals and may be in oxygen-deficient environments. Some companies provide solutions that do not require humans to enter tanks. Instead, they stay outside of them and operate submersible and remotely controlled devices that handle the cleaning for them.
Robots Make Skyscraper Window-Cleaning Tasks Safer
People responsible for cleaning the windows of commercial skyscrapers could also see an accident-reduction benefit by using robots. This job is tremendously dangerous since it involves requiring individuals to work several hundred feet above the ground.
However, a robot called Ozmo could change that. It takes an automated approach to window-washing and features force sensors that help it gauge glass fragility. Artificial intelligence enables the machine to stay stable, even during windy conditions. It also memorizes surfaces and continuously updates its cleaning paths
3. Enhancing Consistency
Keeping environments clean often goes a long way in protecting a company’s bottom line. For example, in factories specializing in food processing or pharmaceutical production, contamination could cause costly recalls that erode stakeholder trust and attract regulatory scrutiny.
An Industrial Cleaning Robot Spots Soiled Areas
Researchers developed a mobile industrial cleaning robot that automatically detects the level of soiling and chooses the appropriate program to handle the job.
The machine has an extendable arm and uses ultraviolet light to differentiate between substances like fats, oils and proteins. It then dispenses the right amount of cleaning solution after determining the necessary specifics, such as the thickness associated with the dirty area and whether the dirtiness is fresh or caked onto the surface. This approach to cleaning could prevent instances where too much time passes before factory workers notice a cleanliness issue.
Robots Keep Restrooms Ready for Use
Most people occasionally visit commercial restrooms and find them in unacceptable condition. These turn-offs could lead people to take their business elsewhere or at least avoid relieving themselves in those locations again.
One commercial bathroom-cleaning robot relies on virtual reality to learn the space’s layout. The simulation shows the machine where to use chemicals or wipe down surfaces, plus when to use a vacuum cleaner or blow-dryer. The robot can even open doors or ride elevators, letting it move around an environment without human intervention.
4. Increasing Productivity
Maintaining cleanliness in a busy industrial facility can be difficult, especially if there’s a lot of human and material movement combined with the risk of spills. Those challenges, along with the sheer size of many such environments, can frustrate human workers and lead to high turnover rates.
A Logistics Leader Uses Floor-Cleaning Robots
Robots can reduce people’s cleaning workloads, relieving the associated stress that such workers may feel when tasked with tidying expansive areas. They can also focus on more rewarding duties machines can’t handle.
In one example, logistics brand DHL deployed floor-cleaning robots in some of its North American industrial warehouses. The machine uses dynamic mapping to spontaneously update its travel path based on traffic, obstacle locations and more.
Robots Support the Restaurant Sector
An increasing number of restaurant owners invest in robots that cook dishes in commercial kitchens. For example, one such machine installed in an Illinois restaurant cooks 10 styles of cuisine, giving people plenty of choices.
When guests finish their meals, it takes a lot of work to get their dishes ready for the next patrons. Robots could make that job easier to manage. One company has a dishwashing robot that uses machine learning and computer vision to inspect items in a fraction of a second before cleaning them. It repeats that process to ensure the items are cleaned thoroughly. Humans still take responsibility for some dish cleaning-related duties, but they’re relatively minor. That allows them to spend more time doing other things that support a restaurant’s operations.
Commercial and Industrial Cleaning Robots Meet Needs
These real-life examples from commercial and industrial sectors highlight how useful it could be to make robots part of a company’s cleaning routine. Such machines don’t always replace humans, but they can certainly supplement their efforts.