Dan Carr

By: Dan Carr on September 19th, 2021

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5 Benefits of Adding Autonomous Cleaning Equipment to Your Cleaning Program

Over the last several years, autonomous cleaning equipment has continually risen in popularity as businesses seek ways to increase cleaning efficiencies and boost staff productivity. 

Labor shortages, tight budgets, and the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and other viruses, like cold & flu, have only further spiked interest in autonomous cleaning equipment as a way to do more during a cleaning shift.

Autonomous cleaning equipment is designed to work remotely and independently, reducing cleaning staff involvement. 

By automating cleaning tasks and removing the responsibilities from your janitorial team, you can then redeploy your cleaning crew to other high-value cleaning tasks that require a human touch and could not otherwise be automated.

Aside from enhanced worker productivity, autonomous cleaning equipment offers many advantages that can improve your organization’s bottom line like: 

  • Reduced Reworks & Greater Cleaning Consistency
  • Increased Worker Safety
  • Enhanced Cleaning Outcomes
  • And More...

The costs associated with investing in your own autonomous equipment can add up quickly, especially when factoring in preventative maintenance costs, long-term maintenance, repairs, and any upgrade expenses. 

However, it’s important to understand that the benefits of investing in the right autonomous cleaning equipment can outweigh the costs of purchasing the machines through labor and other cost savings. 

In this article and video, we’ll discuss the benefits that autonomous cleaning equipment can provide your company.

What is Autonomous Cleaning Equipment?

Autonomous cleaning equipment is powered janitorial equipment that can complete commercial floor cleaning tasks without any operator assistance.

This includes: 

  • Autonomous Vacuum Sweepers
  • Autonomous Floor Scrubbers

These machines are equipped with mapping technology that allows them to learn cleaning routes and follow them autonomously. With an autonomous floor scrubber, your staff could outline a room, and with mapping technology, machines can decide the most efficient way to clean the area.

How Can Autonomous Equipment Benefit Your Facility?

From improving your staff’s productivity to increasing the safety of your workers, there are many ways that autonomous cleaning equipment can help save you money. 

5 Benefits of Autonomous Cleaning Equipment:

  1. Greater Worker Productivity
  2. Reduced Rework & Greater Cleaning Consistency
  3. Increased Worker Safety
  4. Enhanced Cleaning Outcomes
  5. No Staff Callouts

1. Greater Worker Productivity

Nilfisk SC50 LibertyThe addition of autonomous equipment will free up your cleaning staff to complete other, more vigorous work throughout your facility. 

Given that autonomous cleaning machines complete tasks with little interference from your cleaning team, you can redeploy your staff to other more important tasks like cleaning and disinfecting. 

For example, autonomous floor scrubbers can allow your staff to record a cleaning route once and all they have to do is set the machine to run during future cleaning sessions. If you are using an autonomous floor scrubber to clean a hallway, your staff can record and store a cleaning route in the autonomous machine. 

2. Reduced Rework & Greater Cleaning Consistency

Whiz Autonomous Sweeper-VacuumIt’s common to miss spots when cleaning a space due to human error. 

With traditional cleaning methods, such as with a mop and bucket or sweeping, areas can be missed or skipped over. Sometimes up to 15% of a space can remain uncleaned due to manual operator errors. 

This often requires staff to circle back or complete the procedure again so that they can achieve the best clean. Reworks take up more of your staff's time, hindering their productivity during a cleaning shift and ultimately costing you more money. 

Autonomous cleaning machines can be equipped with the ability to map out cleaning routes, which allows them to clean between 98% and 99.5% of a floor every single time. 

Autonomous cleaning equipment delivers the same level of cleanliness with each route that’s run by following paths that are designed to cover an entire area or space. This not only provides greater cleaning consistency but ensures that no area is missed. 

Additionally, autonomous cleaning equipment can provide your staff with proof that cleaning has been completed. Meaning, there is no guessing whether an area has been cleaned. Your team can check that cleaning routes were properly followed with your machine’s operating system. This can ensure that cleaning is being done accurately and consistently every time. 

3. Increased Worker Safety

Rubbermaid Floor Sign with 'Caution Wet Floor' imprint, 2 sidedGiven that your staff doesn’t manually control the cleaning process with an autonomous machine, you may be hesitant about the safety of using these “robots”.

However, worker injuries are actually reduced with the addition of autonomous floor cleaning equipment. 

All too often, staff is injured from slipping on wet floors or tripping over cords, ultimately costing you more in worker’s compensation and absentee costs.

Autonomous cleaning machines have numerous safety features that decrease the frequency of worker injuries.

When cleaning floors, autonomous floor scrubbers remove slurry from the cleaning process and leave your facility’s floors both clean and dry, eliminating the risk of slips and falls.

Further increasing safety, because autonomous equipment is usually battery operated, there is no risk of tripping on a power cord during cleaning.

Finally, autonomous machines are equipped with imaging or other technology that prevents them from bumping into anyone or anything, reducing injury or fixture damage. 

4. Enhanced Cleaning Outcomes

Autonomous cleaning equipment can be set to store multiple cleaning paths with specific settings for each area. 

Having customizable floor cleaning routes allows your facility to receive a consistent degree of cleanliness no matter the time of day.

Preprogrammed routes can be set to clean areas with varying amounts of cleaning chemicals, brush pressure, water flow, and suction to accommodate the different traffic levels.

For example, if you have high traffic hallways, you can program your equipment with a specific route that accommodates the need for more rigorous cleaning in that area.

5. No Staff Callouts

Sick EmployeeMissed work days are an inevitable part of having a staff. Sick and out-of-office team members can limit how much you’re able to get done in a shift.

Autonomous cleaning machines operate alongside your staff.  With an autonomous cleaning machine, you’ll never experience call-outs.  

Even when you have a limited staff, you can rest assured that your autonomous machines will help keep your facility clean. They are especially useful during labor shortages. 


Final Thoughts

While it may seem like investing in autonomous cleaning equipment will be too expensive, you and your staff will enjoy several benefits that make your purchase worthwhile.

Your team could see a significant increase in the productivity of your cleaning team since they can be redeployed to other areas in your facility that require more attention. Staff only needs to set the appropriate cleaning route and the autonomous cleaning machine will do the rest.

The routes that autonomous cleaning machines can follow allow for increased cleaning consistency.  When your staff can increase the consistency of cleaning outcomes, less rework is required. 

Sometimes, staff can be injured while completing cleaning tasks. The frequency of worker injuries in your facility can be reduced greatly by eliminating the need for your staff to work around power cords and wet floors.

Your facility can experience enhanced cleaning outcomes by using autonomous cleaning equipment. Autonomous cleaning machines have the ability to clean according to the same pre-programmed routes over and over to achieve increased cleaning outcomes.

And since autonomous cleaning floor machines can operate without human interaction, they aren’t affected by staff callouts. This allows for cleaning tasks to be completed even when you are experiencing staffing shortages.

EBP has been a leading provider of janitorial equipment needs for over 100 years. We carry a variety of janitorial cleaning equipment, including autonomous cleaning machines, to support your business needs and budget.

Whether you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, EBP and other Imperial Dade locations can supply your janitorial needs. Contact an EBP representative today for help determining whether or not your company would benefit from autonomous cleaning equipment.

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About Dan Carr

Dan Carr is the Equipment Program Manager for EBP Supply Solutions and a Trainer for the EBP Training Academy, which offers CMI-certified and other training courses for supervisory and front-line cleaning professionals throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He holds the ISSA CMI Basic certification and has over 35 years of experience in the janitorial and sanitation industry.