Sustainable change and improvement in the workplace can only be achieved when staff understand the need to embrace ground breaking technology. It is also necessary that the workforce culture is ready to accept this change. For the first time in 15 years a new floor care technology is being introduced into hospitals. It is this particular ground breaking technology, called FaST, which Tennant believe will change the way hospitals are cleaned in the future. In the search for better hygiene standards it is the responsibility of all senior managers to help find the right solution.
Tennant’s new technology is aligned to the hospital’s workplace needs as follows: Improved hygiene standards, environmental savings, improved health and safety, higher employee morale and productivity, lower costs and improved public image.
Tennant’s FaST (foam activated scrubbing technology) system is an innovative fast foam technology which increases the productivity of scrubber-dryers whilst reducing water and detergent usage and operational costs. It also assists in improving levels of hygiene. The Tennant FaST system uses an on board cartridge to release an appropriate amount of concentrate, which is mixed with water and compressed air. This creates a self collapsing cleaning foam that ensures activationof a higher detergent percentage. When the foam is recovered by the scrubber-dryer, it has returned completely to its liquid state, leaving the floors cleaner, and because less water has been used, also drier and safer.
As less water is needed, 1 tank will last much longer than conventional machines, saving time spent draining and filling, shortening the overall job time and increasing productivity. This means a reduction in labour costs of an average of 30 percent.
In an effort to provide greater convenience to customers, many retailers now remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This customer convenience forces retail facility managers to clean in plain view of customers. In turn, they must worry about customer safety, cleaning durations, noise levels, and equipment size—all while maintaining the image of the retail facility and the shopping experience of customers.
To overcome these challenges, when it comes to floor care, retailers are trending toward cleaning programs, processes and products that support the old axiom that less is more by focusing on anytime cleaning that:
- reduces slips and falls;
- reduces “out-of-service” time;
- minimizes noise levels; and
- is as unobtrusive as possible.
Reducing slips and falls
In an effort to improve safety and reduce slips and falls, retail facility managers are finding ways to use less water and chemical while still maintaining a clean facility. In particular, they are relying on products that:
- use less water than conventional automated scrubbing products on hard floor surfaces, leaving less water to remove after cleaning and decreasing the chance of someone slipping and falling;
- use less water than conventional extractors on carpeted surfaces, leaving carpets drier after cleaning and decreasing the likelihood of wet shoes transitioning from wet carpeting to a hard floor surface;
- use a cleaning solution with less detergent that’s more easily recovered to eliminate the potential for water and soap being left behind after cleaning and to prevent chemical degradation of corrugated fixtures; and
- use cleaning systems and detergents that have been certified as being slip-resistant by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).
Reducing “out of service” time
Retail floor space equals sales space. Therefore, retail facility managers must ensure that floor surfaces are open and accessible to customers. But because just cleaned floors and carpets that are wet need time to dry, retail facility managers are turning to:
- automatic scrubbers that use less water and have a squeegee that removes virtually all water from the floor;
- carpet equipment with soil transfer technology that uses less water to clean carpets, thereby decreasing dry time; and
- carpet equipment that so effectively provides interim cleaning by removing dirt before it becomes embedded that it increases intervals between restorative extraction cleaning.
Minimizing noise levels
Noise pollution is always an issue when cleaning congested or populated areas. A low noise piece of maintenance equipment operates at a consistently low decibel level. Vacuums are often the primary culprit when it comes to higher noise levels, but retail facility managers are finding there are vacuums available that reduce noise and disturbance levels and allow for anytime cleaning.
Populated retail stores are just that—populated. And because many stores now offer one-stop-shopping, many retail locations have narrow aisles, overstocked shelves and displays, and little room to navigate a shopping cart none-the-less a piece of cleaning equipment.
Therefore, retail facility managers are discovering that size does matter, and smaller is better. They are leaning toward using equipment that is maneuverable, easy to store, and unobtrusive so as not to take up more space than is absolutely necessary in an already busy shopping area.
Industry studies have shown that the top concerns of business owners and operators of carpet cleaning equipment are: improving carpet appearance and cleanliness, and shortening carpet dry time after cleaning. Yet with the methods of carpet cleaning historically available to the commercial market, “quality cleaning” and “short dry times” have been mutually exclusive.
Now, there’s a new technology—soil transfer extraction—available to the commercial carpet care industry that provides high quality cleaning, yet greatly reduces carpet dry times by dramatically reducing the moisture left after cleaning. The new technology creates clean carpeted spaces that are ready for foot traffic in 30 minutes or less—without the ill effects of some other low moisture methods.
This industry-leading, patented technology has demonstrated the ability to reduce carpet drying time while maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of the carpet at high levels. In fact, independent testing by the Professional Testing Laboratory, Inc. (PTL) in Dalton, Georgia, has confirmed those assertions.
According to the PTL report, the benefits of this new technology include:
- Dramatic reduction of moisture left behind in carpet
- Greatly reduced carpet dry time
- Cleaning efficacy comparable to conventional extraction
- No damaging effects to the carpet
This means that the commercial carpet care industry finally has a moisture-based cleaning method designed specifically to solve carpet care issues in the real world—a tool to help cleaning professionals successfully, consistently and quickly clean their carpet—and, most importantly, get them ready for foot traffic almost immediately. For building managers, this means carpet can be clean and remain consistently in use, and for cleaning professionals, this lifts restrictions to how often and when carpet can be cleaned.
Jeff Bishop, administrator of Clean Care Seminars, Inc. and a leading technical advisor to a number of cleaning industry trade associations, has more than 33 years of professional cleaning experience. He believes that soil transfer extraction is the most innovative cleaning process to be introduced in years. “This technology offers what no other carpet care product on the market offers—a clean carpet that’s ready to use in just minutes. It’s the fastest, most efficient maintenance cleaning process I’ve ever seen. I think it’s a guarantee for commercial cleaning success.”
In addition to his administrative duties, Bishop also manages the Dothan Conference Center in Dothan, Alabama. The conference center is 1700 metres squared the majority of which is carpet. On any given day, the center sees between several hundred and several thousand visitors. “In the past, we had to schedule our cleaning at night because the cleaning and drying process took so long, and we didn’t want to disrupt our daytime activities,” he said. “With soil transfer technology, we can clean anytime and more frequently because the technology not only cleans fast but dries fast.”
Closed for cleaning
Carpeted spaces are either “in service” and usable by customers and employees or “out of service” and unusable by customers or employees. Not surprisingly, an out of service carpet costs companies significantly in lost revenue, and long dry times greatly restrict how often and when the carpet can actually be cleaned (typically it’s done at night or on weekends).
There are a number of times during the carpet cleaning process when the carpet is, in fact, out of use—during and after pre-spray application, during the cleaning itself, and while the carpet is drying. With conventional cleaning methods, carpet dry time far exceeds pre-spray or actual cleaning time, so reducing carpet dry time is vital to reducing the total out-of-service time.
Reduced dry times
Because carpet dry times typically account for the largest percentage of total carpet out-of-service time, decreasing carpet dry times has obvious advantages. Until now, however, manufacturers of carpet cleaning equipment have not provided the commercial carpet care industry with products or technologies that both clean the carpet and keep dry times to a minimum.
Bonnet cleaning, which dries faster than other current cleaning methods, does not remove significant soil from the carpet. Additionally, because of the potential damage bonnet cleaning can cause, many carpet mills void their warranties if bonnet cleaners are used. Light extraction cleans only moderately well and still requires several hours to dry. And deep extraction, which provides the highest level of clean, requires an extraordinary amount of time to dry. Both light and deep extraction also increase the likelihood of wick-back and resoiling.
All of the conventional wet-cleaning methods listed above directly apply water to the carpet. Applying water directly to carpet will, rather obviously, lead to a wet carpet. And a wet carpet means increased drying time, which leads to increased total carpet out-of-service time. To decrease dry time and reduce carpet out-of-service time, it seems clear that water should not be applied directly to the carpet.
Targeting soil within carpet pile, soil transfer extraction removes the dirt that diminishes carpet appearance, luster and life span. Unlike traditional carpet care products, soil transfer extraction relies on sprayer units that apply water to two counter-rotating, specially designed fabric rollers that pick up—or transfer—the soil from the carpet. As the rollers turn at a rate of approximately 400 times per minute they are rinsed with a solution spray, and two built-in vacuum shoes extract the soil from the rollers. Very little water reaches the carpet because the carpet is never actually sprayed with water. The result is carpeted spaces that are clean, dry and ready to use in minutes.
The benefits of being dry
There are a number of benefits to faster drying times that go beyond the obvious benefit of putting the carpet back in service sooner. Additional benefits of faster dry times include:
- increased safety that is achieved with drier carpet and carpet that dries more quickly (there is less likelihood of wet shoes transitioning from wet carpeting to hard floor surfaces);
- decreased indoor air quality issues with a carpet that is drier faster;
- decreased potential for wick-back; and
- decreased potential for re-soiling.
“A clean, dry carpet not only enhances a facilities’ image, but it also extends the life of the carpet and can help improve indoor air quality,” said Bishop. “With so many benefits, I can’t think of a single reason not to incorporate soil transfer technology into any commercial carpet cleaning program.”
Having worked in school maintenance for more than 26 years, I’ve seen my fair share of accidents. It’s hard not to with kids running through the halls, pushing and shoving to get to class; lunch trays getting tipped over, and food and beverages awaiting a misplaced foot; or locker doors getting left open or slammed on fingers.
It’s no secret that accidents will happen—especially in such a busy and frantic setting as a school. But some accidents can easily be prevented.
A lesson in chemistry
Wet, slippery or sticky floors seem to be one of the primary causes of accidents—whether in a school, an office complex, a hospital or a retail facility. Throughout my maintenance career, floor safety and cleanliness have been my two biggest concerns. But for much of that career, it seemed that the two didn’t go hand-in-hand.
Then I learned about an automated foam scrubbing system that claimed it could actually make my schools’ floors cleaner and safer. I wanted to learn more.
The technology behind this system, though revolutionary, is really quite simple. A water and detergent mixture is injected with air to create a foam cleaning agent. The detergent is pre-measured so there’s no overuse of chemicals—my staff never has to worry about measuring and mixing the solution. In fact, this system uses 90 percent less detergent than conventional automated scrubbers. That means there’s virtually no slippery or sticky detergent residue after cleaning. And, the system uses 70 percent less water than conventional automated scrubbers, so floors are drier faster after cleaning.
Too good to be true? Guess again. During September, I purchased a walk-behind automated foam scrubbing system and started using it in one of my grade schools. For the first time, my staff was able to use floor cleaning equipment during school hours. There’s no concern about students or faculty slipping and falling, and the floors are safe to walk on immediately after cleaning. In fact, in the two years since I first purchased this machine, I haven’t witnessed a single slip and fall accident where the machine has been used. And the floors aren’t only safe, they’re clean—cleaner than I’ve ever seen them using mops and buckets or even conventional scrubbers.
Do the maths
What I like about this new automated foam scrubbing system almost as much as the safety it offers our students, faculty and staff, is the fact that in improves my cleaning staff’s productivity.
Because the chemical is pre-mixed in an easy-to-use cartridge, it’s simple for staff to simply attach it to the scrubber. They don’t waste their time measuring detergent or mixing solutions. And because the right amount of chemical and water are used, there are fewer empty/fill cycles, too. My staff actually gains about an hour of cleaning time per eight-hour shift because they don’t have to spend time refilling the machine. They just add water and go.
Plus, they no longer need to store and move those heavy drums of chemicals because they can just reach for a cartridge. And talk about productivity—one of those cartridges can clean up to one million square feet. It’s a fact that I experienced first hand when I realised we hadn’t changed the chemical cartridge on the scrubber in more than three months. Now there’s a maths lesson I actually enjoyed.
Preparing for the future
We recently learned that our school district would be opening several more buildings, bringing our school building count to 13, our student count to more than 11,000, and the total square footage of floors to be cleaned to more than 1.7 million.
Can you imagine cleaning that much floor surface with mops and buckets? I can’t. So I’ve now ordered four automated foam scrubbing systems that are riding machines. If I thought my staff’s productivity increased using a walk-behind foam scrubbing system, I can’t imagine how much more productive they’ll be when I bring in the four new riding scrubbers. Actually, I can. And I, for one, can’t wait for school to start.
The Lahey Clinic in Boston is widely considered one of the elite healthcare facilities in the Northeast. The clinic has approximately 900,000-square-feet of flooring and seven floors that accommodate 3,000 patients per day. The facility is cleaned by Sodexho, one of the leading Building Service Contractors in the U.S.
"We have plenty of traffic through this hospital that makes it necessary to clean the floors everyday," said Frank St. Peter, director of environmental services for Sodexho. "It is a huge job with a lot of demands for us to deliver great performance while continuously lowering our costs."
To increase productivity and safety at the clinic, Sodexho purchased a Tennant 5680 automatic scrubber with FaST (Foam-activated Scrubbing Technology). FaST is a patented cleaning process that injects air into a water and detergent mixture to create a foam cleansing agent. Using less water and less detergent, FaST leaves just-scrubbed floors immediately dry and safe. It also increases productivity by 30 percent by reducing by 70 percent the number of empty-fill cycles per use.
The impact of the 5680 FaST machine at Lahey is impressive. "I used to drain and refill my machine three or four times during one cleaning run. Now, I scrub the same area without returning to the janitor’s closet," said Bienvenido Faulkner, a Sodexho housekeeper at the Lahey Clinic. "Plus, the floors are immediately dry. It is much safer and so much easier without the chemical mixing and constant empty/refills."
There are a number of steps and considerations to take if you desire to give your in-filled field a winning appearance, including:
• knowing the hazards of debris;
• implementing a consistent and comprehensive cleaning program;
• properly training your maintenance crews; and
• budgeting for maintenance upfront.
Dangers of debris
Grit, sand, mud, salt, and even tiny pieces of glass can all make their way onto your artificial turf. This foreign debris can create obvious safety hazards for those using the field. It can also break down and decay, causing bacteria to grow in the turf and increasing the risk of staff infections. Additionally, if fine matter isn’t kept from clogging the pores in the surface’s drainage system, water can pool on the surface of the turf and cause early deterioration.
Treat your turf like carpet
Synthetic surfaces require a systematic maintenance program—much like a comprehensive carpet care program. Such a program can be implemented with the use of just one all-inclusive mechanical sweeper that incorporates:
• adjustable brushes
• a front rake brush
• a perforated hopper
• a drag broom; and
• a filter system
Train your crews
Because today’s artificial turf is more specialized than older versions, it’s important that your maintenance crew be properly trained on how to care for it. Training should focus on the proper care of your specific brand of turf, use of the maintenance equipment, and cleaning frequency.
The Tennant Sentinel power sweeper offers state of the art dry dust control.
While most other outdoor sweepers are a bust when it comes to catching dust, the Tennant Sentinel traps particles as fine as 3 microns, making it simply the best in the business. Along with its state-of-the-art dry-dust control system, the Sentinel offers an optional 2.9m high dump that allows discharge into large roll-off bins and dump trucks. In addition, the trim, compact size of the Sentinel means it squeezes down the narrowest of alleys, and its power, four-wheel steering offers impressive maneuverability to easily sweep around obstacles and snake through congested city streets.
The Sentinel’s excellent sweeping ability features a self-adjusting, centre-point-suspended main brush that efficiently picks up sand, dirt, rocks, broken glass and bulky light debris. Main brush dust is pulled by twin, high-volume vacuum fans into a long-lasting, high capacity filter to remove dust particles and exhaust clean air.
The Sentinel also offers a stainless-steel hopper that holds up to 2.6 cubic metres of debris as well as a roomy, quiet cab with heater-pressuriser, quad mirrors and a spring suspension luxury seat that ensures a comfortable ride.
The model Sentinel power sweeper is ideal for mining applications, municipal councils, streets, airports, military bases, cement plants and many more outdoor applications.
Goscor Cleaning Equipment is proud to be able to bring this machine to the South African market.