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Time to review the routine 28 Sep, 2016

Time to review the routine

Even if it seems to run like clockwork, taking time out to review your routine cleaning can end up saving time and money, says Stephen Pinhorne, UK National Sales Manager of Truvox International, starting with the daily vacuum and polish.  

In any well-used building, the daily vacuum and polish are the mainstay of routine cleaning. Done right, pristine carpets or gleaming floors will greet the first customers, office workers or visitors of the day.  

But the real challenge for the facilities manager is not just delivering the same high standard consistently. It’s making sure the cleaning operation is just as efficient as it is effective, day in, day out.  

That means stepping back from the daily routine to confirm you’re making best use of man/woman and machine.  

Labour accounts for the lion’s share of the typical cleaning budget – as does routine cleaning. Improve the efficiency of vacuuming and polishing, and you’ll save on labour costs or be able to improve the service by redeploying cleaners to other tasks.  

Like any other cleaning equipment, vacuum cleaners need to be hard-working and hard-wearing. But running older machines until they pack up is a false economy ignoring the cost of spares and breakdowns. Depending on the floor area and layout, a better, more appropriate spec could also speed up the job.  

For example, deploying three or more operatives with tub vacuums for a large expanse of carpeting will be inefficient where one, equipped with a Valet Wide Area Vac, could do the job quicker. Such a switch reaped significant savings in a landmark London office block. In this case, staff were freed up to deep-clean a different area each night, avoiding the need for an expensive weekend operation.  

With a cleaning path of 70cm, the Valet Wide Area Vac has more than double the coverage of typical upright or tub vacuums. It’s also powerful, with a brush head operating at 1800 rpm to loosen dirt deep down in the pile and revive the appearance of the carpet.  

Where accessibility is limited, a compact tub vacuum may be preferable to an upright or a back-pack unit may be required. But the choice should not be dictated solely by manoeuvrability and physical constraints.  

Ergonomics is as much as about productivity as it is worker welfare. The forward-and-back stretching motion when operating a tub or upright vac for long periods means more effort, fatigue and repetitive strain injuries.  

Backpack vacuums may be more comfortable and can quickly pay back in manpower efficiencies. They lighten the workload on the arms and shoulders, avoid the need for squatting and bending, and make it easy to reach high and low areas. Staff will be healthier and happier, with lower sick pay and less lost time.  

Similar considerations apply to polishing and burnishing hard floors.  

High-speed rotaries are designed to produce a sparkling, high sheen, rapidly and efficiently. So a powerful motor is crucial, but for an operator to sustain that performance over a long shift, the machine must be well balanced and easy to handle.  

That’s why our Orbis range of high-speed rotaries are designed with a centre wheel to aid manoeuvrability and up-to-the-edge burnishing. Also, a floating pad drive adjusts for uneven floors, while the build quality ensures robustness and long-term reliability.   A high-speed rotary can polish a wide variety of hard floors, with the appropriate brushes or pads. For example, the high-speed Orbis UHS 1500 Folding Handle (operating speed 1500rpm) polishes stone, granite, marble, terrazzo, vinyl and PVC, as well as concrete, terracotta, quarry tiles, safety floors and raised rubber.  

Where noise or trip risk is a concern, say in daytime cleaning, the Orbis UHS Cordless Burnisher allows whisper-quiet operation, at just 56.6 decibels. A single charge of its maintenance-free gel batteries will power up to two hours’ non-stop burnishing.  

Choosing the right machine for hard floors involves weighing the specific requirements of the building and different capabilities of burnishing and polishing machines.  

What a lower-speed machine lacks in finishing finesse, it can make up for in versatility ­– from stripping floors and sanding wood to scrubbing, while also buffing up floors to a passable shine. The same machine can even be used to shampoo and bonnet mop carpets.  

Layout or size may dictate a compact, lightweight machine that is easy to handle, like the low-profile Orbis Compact. Operating at 240rpm, it scrubs floors with minimal noise disturbance. It is also a highly effective carpet cleaner.  

Other features to check for are low vibration and noise. The option to fit a spray kit is also useful as it speeds up the cleaning of hard floors.  

Where the same machine has to tackle more intensive maintenance as well as daily light cleaning duties, a dual-speed machine should be considered. The Orbis Duo Low Profile is designed to operate at 190rpm for heavy-duty and medium-duty stripping and scrubbing. Doubling its speed to 380rpm, the rotary is ideal for spray cleaning and polishing.  

So saving can be routine if we regularly review the efficiency of floor cleaning.

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