In Focus: Robotic Floor Scrubbers | Corona, CA

Rising labor costs, increasing health and safety concerns, and limited resources are factors contributing to the rapid implementation of robot cleaners

by Amy W. Richardson May 20, 2021

Robotic floor scrubbers have come a long way since the first models hit the cleaning scene in the early 2000s. But it took nearly two decades for them to find commercial success. That breakthrough came in October 2018 when Walmart announced it would deploy autonomous floor scrubbing machines in 360 stores.

Following a cleaning routine in play at many retail stores, a Walmart associate at every location spent two hours a day riding or walking behind the scrub machine to keep floors sparkling clean. The introduction of self-driving scrubbers, powered by Brain Corp.’s assisted autonomous technology, freed these associates to take care of other tasks like tidying restrooms, dust-mopping the checkout aisles, or engaging with customers. The workers simply prepped the floor area and mapped the machine’s route, then pressed a button to start the floor cleaning process.

Today there are thousands of “intelligent cleaners” deployed globally in retail and grocery stores, malls, airports, schools, hospitals, and other public locations. This growth is due to advances in technology that have made robotic solutions more efficient and easier to operate and afford.

“The main difference between those very early versions and the machines of today have to do with the quality of sensors and cameras for autonomous navigation, the sophistication of the artificial intelligence (AI), safety, ease of use, cleaning efficiency, and much more,” said Alan Butcher, Vice President of Global Client Services at Brain Corp., a provider of AI and robotics technology used in autonomous scrubbers, vacuums and other applications. “It’s literally night and day—probably what you would expect from two decades of innovation.”

As navigation systems have improved, more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are jumping on board, said Dennis Collins, senior product manager at Tennant Company, which introduced its first autonomous floor scrubber, T7AMR, in 2018 and has since launched two more models, one for small spaces and one for larger industrial customers. These models run on Brain Corp.’s robotic AI software platform, BrainOS®, which also powers floor care machines made by ICE Robotics, Minuteman, Kärcher, and Nilfisk.

The path to proliferation

Based on a 2019 study by ABI Research, autonomous mobile robots are projected to be the fastest-growing category in the mobile robot market between 2020 and 2030. ABI predicted a significant sector for mobile automation would be maintenance and cleaning, noting 5,000 autonomous floor scrubbers were already in U.S. retail stores and commercial buildings at the end of 2019.

The reason that robotic scrubbers are proliferating, and even becoming the new commercial cleaning standard, according to Butcher, is because they serve a straightforward purpose. “Robots are good at tackling dull, repetitive, labor-intensive tasks, and floor care is one of them,” he said.

Rising labor costs, increasing health and safety concerns, and limited resources are other factors contributing to the rapid implementation of robot cleaners, including autonomous floor scrubbers, said Faizan Sheikh, CEO and cofounder of Canadian-based Avidbots, which debuted its fully autonomous floor scrubbing robot Neo in 2017.

“The cost of cleaning labor continues to rise across North America. By implementing a robotic solution like Neo, organizations are able to reallocate 93% of that labor to other business-critical or value-added tasks,” Sheikh said. “This allows organizations using autonomous floor scrubbers to focus on revenue-generating activities.”

The pandemic effect

Freeing up staff to do other high-value tasks has been a major selling point of robotics during the recent health crisis. The pandemic helped bring the value of robotic automation to the forefront, especially in retail and other essential businesses, Butcher said. “We saw a big spike in autonomous activity at U.S. retailers last year, especially in the second quarter when robotic usage rose 24% compared to the previous year. For Brain Corp, this has translated into strong growth. We saw more than a 300% increase in deployments of BrainOS-powered scrubbers in 2020, and we have seen strong demand continue into this year.”

Avidbots has seen a 100% demand increase for its robot since March 2020, particularly from airports, warehousing and logistics centers, manufacturing facilities, schools, and retailers. “We anticipate demand will continue to remain high once the crisis has passed, as society will continue to demand a much higher level and frequency of cleaning and disinfection than before and businesses will be required to retain higher and more frequent cleaning protocols,” Sheikh said.

Collins said Tennant Company has found that “customers are embracing robotics more than ever before” during the pandemic. “The pandemic has put a focus on cleanliness and cleanliness is now part of a company’s brand,” he said. “Automation can help our customers improve the cleanliness of their facilities, creating healthier and safer spaces for their employees and customers.”

The numerous benefits

In addition to labor reallocation and the increased productivity that comes with it, Collins notes robotic floor scrubbers can address many key end user needs, including increased measurability of their cleaning efforts, reduced costs, enhanced customer/employee experience, and proof they are keeping pace with innovation.

Consistency of performance is a major benefit, too, according to Kris Dihrkop, director of strategic accounts, and Chris Wetmore, vice president of sales, at ICE Robotics. A robot can be counted on for consistency and completing a task in exactly the same way, “so you know what to expect every single time you deploy a machine,” Dihrkop said.

Using autonomous machines can also lower insurance costs, stemming from reduced worker injuries and reduced damaged to merchandise caused by human errors, Butcher notes.

Perhaps the most exciting development in recent years is how robotic floor scrubbers can now provide a “confirmed” or “measurable” clean.

“With a manual solution the floor cleaning cannot be quantified or qualified,” Sheikh said. “There is no way to track what was cleaned and with what efficacy. Autonomous solutions on the other hand provide metrics and data on every single cleaning operation…Cleaning operations can use these metrics to optimize floor care over a period of time.”

A return on investment

Return on investment (ROI) for robotic automation varies by customer, but end users can maximize their ROI by looking at their operations holistically, Collins said. When calculating ROI consider including everything from reduced costs to enhanced worker productivity and improved customer experiences.

While there is no “magic number,” the payback period for a large-scale investment in robotic floor scrubbers can be as little as 12-18 months depending on usage patterns and customer goals, Butcher said. “For certain industries, such as retail, this ROI can be greatly accelerated with the addition of other add-on applications to the robotic scrubber, such as a shelf-scanning accessory that collects valuable inventory insights to reduce out-of-stocks, verify pricing and planogram compliance, and improve customer experiences,” Butcher said.

Sheik also believes a 12- to 18-month payback is achievable depending on labor rate, facility size, and robot deployment frequency.

Customers with a higher volume and frequency of cleaning needs typically achieve ROI quicker, said Dihrkop at ICE Robotics. “How you procure and maintain the product is part of the equation: all-inclusive subscriptions provide lower total cost of ownership and help clients more quickly realize ROI.”

To find out more about robotic floor scrubbers, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.scielifts.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Floor Scrubber Growth on the Upswing | Corona, CA

Posted May 25, 2021

As the use of automatic floor scrubbers and sweepers has become more common in commercial buildings, the scrubbers and sweepers market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 8% between 2020−2026, according to a new report from market research firm Arizton Advisory & Intelligence. Key drivers fueling this growth include a growing demand for cleaning technologies, a greater inclination toward sustainability, increased investments in research and development, and a rising call for cleanliness in the hospitality industry.

The scrubbers segment dominated with a share of over 57% of the market and is expected to add more than US$1.4 million during the 6-year forecast period. The sweepers market is expected to generate an additional revenue of almost $892 million.

Contract cleaners, such as building service providers (BSCs), account for the majority share of the market at approximately 14% of the global share.

The report also found:

  • Approximately 80%-90% of all engine-powdered cleaning equipment is propane-fueled
  • With innovations in battery technology, the demand for battery-powered scrubbers and sweepers is expected to grow during the forecast period with predictions of $1.1 billion by 2026. The industrial and commercial floor cleaning machine manufacturers adopt lithium-ion batteries due to their higher productivity, longer runtime, reduced maintenance, and lesser charging time.
  • Many commercial walk-behind scrubber machines are eco-friendly and reduce the use of harmful chemicals.

To find out more about the uptick in floor scrubber sales, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.scielifts.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness | Corona, CA

Now that we are hyper-aware of the cleanliness of a place, it is important that we continue to maintain these levels in order to keep everyone safe. But if that place has a lot of square footage, it can take a lot of time and manpower in order to keep everything clean as a whistle, especially when it comes to the floors. People are always walking on them, so cleaning them can become cumbersome. Then in walks the industrial scrubber. Commercial floor scrubbers, like our Clarke and Viper models, make the job of cleaning heavily used floors much easier than it would be otherwise. These are the benefits of investing in an industrial scrubber to handle your floor maintenance.

Quicker dry times. When you use a traditional mop and bucket to clean the floor, drying may take some time. A floor scrubber doesn’t use nearly as much water as a traditional mop, allowing floors to dry faster and preventing the risk of slips and falls.

Cleaning efficiency. These scrubbers have the power to remove grime, grease, and dirt that are traditionally very difficult to remove. In particular, a floor scrubber does its magic by spraying water and chemicals on the floor, scrubbing the dirt and grime away, and leaving a perfect shine in its wake.

Easier cleaning process. You will find a floor scrubber rather easy to operate – you can either push it from behind or ride it across the area to be cleaned, depending upon whether you have a push floor scrubber or a ride-on one. Either variety reduces the amount of effort that the operator has to exert and enables a larger surface area to be cleaned in a smaller amount of time, saving time and manpower.

To find out more about floor scrubbers, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.scielifts.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Do I Clean My Floors with Regular Soap? | Corona, CA

When you have the daunting task of keeping a large building or structure clean, the floors are generally your biggest issue. After all, countless people are walking on your floors, and it is imperative that you keep them sparkling clean. Rather than doing the floors by hand, wasting time and energy, you have purchased yourself a floor scrubber. Now your workload has shrunken by at least half. What a relief! But wait…what soap does the thing use? It depends on what you’re keeping clean.

Because every building and occupant is different, there is no one soap that works across the board. If you are keeping a hospital clean, you wouldn’t need the same soap as say, a mechanic’s garage. Make sure you check the instructions. They are there for a reason – to protect the equipment so you can use it for as long as possible. But it is a good rule of thumb to use a low-foam detergent. Foam in the recovery tank will get into the vac motor and damage it. If this is happening, you may need to use de-foamer in the recovery tank.

While some amount of cleaner is good to remove dirt, in most instances, when just cleaning a dusty warehouse floor, less detergent is usually okay. That’s why you have a machine – to do the grunt work. Give the solution some dwell time on the floor so that the solution has time to work. Then go back with the scrubber. If you haven’t had a floor scrubber before, you may have to make a couple passes the first time to get it clean.

To find out more about floor cleaner, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.scielifts.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Product Showcase: BSW 28 Sweeper | Corona, CA

With all of the precautions taken in order to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to maintain the flooring on a consistent basis in order to keep a professional appearance and disinfected environment for everyone entering and leaving the space. In the past, we used the push broom in order to sweep the areas, but not only is this both exhausting and time-consuming, but sweeping alone isn’t enough. We also had the vacuum. It was a definite improvement but still not much better in the convenient department with its cords and container cleaning. And it’s not up to the typical CDC standards. Now there is an even better option to get those floors swept and tidy – the industrial sweeper. When deciding to expand our product line we knew that you had certain needs to maintaining your floors, so we’ve included these industrial sweepers.

Ideal for both carpets and hardwood, the Clarke BSW 28 Sweeper was created to be both rugged and versatile, making it the perfect choice for large industrial areas that get dirty with dust and dirt more than liquified spills. Not only is it an efficient sweeper, but it’s easily operated, extremely quiet and has been Green Certified to be eco-friendly as well.

Maintaining the flooring of a large industrial/commercial building is not an easy task, especially in the day and age. In fact, at times it can be overwhelming. So, when considering new equipment for cleaning hardwood or carpeted flooring, the Clarke BSW 28 is the ideal option for a durable, convenient, eco-friendly option for even the most noise-sensitive of workplaces.

To find out more about the Clarke BSW 28 Sweeper, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.scielifts.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Making a Floor Scrubber Work for You | Corona, CA

Now that we are starting to get some sense of normalcy, we need to put in lots of extra cleaning procedures in order to keep everyone safe. And this includes our floors. Unfortunately, manually cleaning a large surface area not only takes time and manpower but ends up becoming a monetary issue in the end. In an effort of solving this issue, one may want to consider an automatic floor scrubber. An automatic floor scrubber can save you up to 80% of the man hours it would take to clean the floors by hand.

An automatic floor scrubber makes your life easier with three components that work in unison. After all, teamwork makes the dream work. These components – the solution dispensing system, scrubbing system and solution recovery/vacuum system – all complete the puzzle as you guide the machine along your soiled floors.

Solution dispensing system. You can’t get a good clean without soap. This little gadget makes sure to dispense just the right amount of cleaning solution to your floors. The solution you use is dependent on your particular machine and the floor’s needs.

Scrubbing system. This is the most crucial part of the floor scrubber. Along the bottom of your machine a floor pad or brush will agitate the cleaning solution with enough power to remove any dirt, grease or grime that has soiled your floor.

Solution recovery/vacuum system. Now that we have scrubbed our floors clean, we need to get the soap and residue off the floor. A type of squeegee/vacuum component will suck it all up and store it in a tank that you can remove and empty. This not only minimizes dry time but will also prevent any injuries from slipping.

To find out more about automatic floor scrubbers, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.sciefloorscrubbers.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Cleaning Up in the Aftermath | Corona, CA

As we begin to regain a sense of normalcy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to implement new safety procedures in order to keep our buildings for our employees and clients. After all, strict restrictions will need to be put in place in order to keep everything clean and germ-free, including the floors. In order to ensure you are following CDC guideline, make sure to review the precautions your area has mandated and insert them into your cleaning routines. But there is a difference between clean, disinfected and sanitized – and this is the way that they all break down:

Cleaned. To clean a floor is to remove dirt and grime, in order to make it look nice and shiny to the eye. Unfortunately, many all-purpose floor cleansers are just cleaning the floors; they aren’t actually getting rid of germs.

Sanitized. When you sanitize a floor, you are cleaning it deeper than a basic cleaning, because they reduce the growth of bacteria on surfaces. It is better, but it isn’t as deep of a clean as a good disinfecting.

Disinfected. The deepest of the clean, disinfecting floors will kill both the germs and the bacteria. This should be the norm of most companies nowadays.

The wonderful thing about floor scrubbers is that they have the ability to clean and sanitize at the same time, using certain cleansers. And within those high-traffic areas, disinfecting will be ideal. After all, airborne germs are transmitted easily and can spread along surfaces like floors in a spray-like way that becomes impossible to trace. Being able to have a machine that can effectively keep everyone safe is the ultimate goal.

To find out more about safety procedures in regards to COVID-19, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.sciefloorscrubbers.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Will Floor Scrubbers Save Us from COVID-19? | Corona, CA

Let’s face it – it’s a scary time we are living in. Not only are we keeping social distances, but we are sanitizing every surface we are touching with any type of disinfectant we can find. Don’t touch your face, don’t shake hands; it’s all very aggressive and forced. But there is one area that many people are forgetting, an area that we can’t control – our floors.

While establishments are hunkering down and scrubbing the surfaces we touch, how are the floors staying clean? With so much foot traffic, it is likely that a floor scrubber is the ideal choice to keeping the floors clean. But in this COVID-19 world we live in, additional steps should be taken in order to keep the floors as clean as possible. And since there is no such thing as too clean, here are a few tips to keep in mind as we prepare to sanitize the floors with our floor scrubbers.

Bump up the cleanser. The traditional solution used to clean floors in the past was industrial and fantastic, but nowadays we need to bump up the disinfectant. Thoroughly clean the water tank after each use, add clean water and an EPA-registered disinfectant that is approved to kill SARS-CoV-2–the cause of COVID-19.

Clean the cleaner. Floors aren’t the only thing that needs to get special attention. Because the virus can be transferred through metals and hard surfaces, the machine’s operator needs to take time after each cleaning to wipe down every surface area on the scrubber itself with hospital-grade spray/wipes.

Each one, teach one. Refocus the staff with stricter cleaning practices. Equip them with PPE and a set of new surfaces to pay close attention to when cleaning so everyone stays safe.

To find out more about sanitizing your scrubber, please contact us at (951)735-2905 or visit www.sciefloorscrubbers.com.

Southern California Industrial Equipment proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Why You Need the Advance Adgressor® Rider-Scrubber in Your Life | Corona, CA

Because no business is exactly alike, when delving into our product expansion, we decided that we needed to include all variations of industrial scrubbers, including both riding and manual-push. The Advance Adgressor® rider-scrubber is not only a fantastic piece of equipment due to its flexibility, but its EcoFlex™ System, making it an environmentally-friendly way to maintain your facility’s cleaning routine.

The Adgressor is designed to be able to switch pad pressure, water and detergent quickly and easily, so it is able to perform all your cleaning needs with very little effort. Depending on your need, you can switch between water only for quick upkeep, ultra-low detergent for a routine cleaning, standard detergent for those tougher messes and the EcoFlex’s burst of power for the ultimate deep cleaning. Name the cleaning challenge, the Adgressor has the solution.

Not only does it have this multi-functionality in its cleaning modes, but because it is a riding machine, the operator will save both time and energy that can be utilized in other projects. Yes, it’s true – the Adgressor can clean twice as much space as a manual scrubber within the same amount of time. In one hour, the Adgressor with a 35-inch scrub deck cleans up to 46,200 square feet in an hour while a manual scrubber with a 32-inch scrub deck cleans 28,160 square feet in that same hour. As an employer, this is a benefit as the time and money spent on manpower in order to maintain the floors manually is drastically higher than when using the Adgressor rider-scrubber.

If your commercial/industrial building is in need of cleaning equipment that is not only versatile but economical and eco-friendly, the Advance-Adgressor rider-scrubber is tough to beat.