What machine should be used to clean which area of a warehouse? How should one make these choices? What factors should be taken into account? How can one access difficult-to-clean areas? Rajiv Bhatia, Country Manager & Director, Nilfisk India Pvt Ltd has all the answers.
Conducting a warehouse audit
Cleaning requirements are linked to the nature of the products being stored and the SOPs in place for serving customers. 24/7 operations, managing hazardous substances and any risk of spillages, density of traffic in aisles and different customers being served are key factors to consider.
Important cleaning parameters such as the type of flooring, height of warehouse and number of stackable racks, movement of material handling equipment and any other automation deployed for material movement have to be considered. Existing cleaning challenges will also impact our site survey planning and advisory for a warehouse.
Ideal warehouse cleaning methodology
- Optimal mechanical cleaning of the floor using scrubbers is essential to prevent infection spread as compared to manual cleaning, which only displaces dust from the floor to the racks. The mop spreads dirt (including any bacteria/virus) throughout the warehouse.
- Capturing spillages and vacuuming of vulnerable areas for dust containment is important. The nature of vacuums to be used is determined by the material to be collected and the power supply at the point of cleaning.
- Use high pressure washer cleaning of truck bay areas including parking & washroom cleaning.
- Sweepers for internal aisles are essential for pallet shavings, nails and high dust content. Sweepers are also advised for approach roads, parking and bay areas..
- To strengthen Covid precautions, use of steam cleaners in important congregation areas such as conference rooms, office spaces and pantries is advised.
All the above recommendations are dependent on resources available such as manpower, water, chemicals utilisation, turnaround time for areas to be cleaned, turning radius in aisles etc.
Area, power source and AI
Fulfilment centers would need high-productivity machines to cover larger areas. Delivery stations need compact, time-saving cleaning equipment with lower drying time, given the swift movement of traffic and inventory, apart from cleaning cycles with tighter turnaround time.
Battery operated machines are suggested due to the chances of trips and falls with electric operated machines, and risk of exposure to electrocution due to wire damage by material handling equipment.
With the introduction of autonomous machines using AI, many sophisticated warehouses in developed nations are now using IoT enabled scrubbers to operate without manpower in a ‘lights-off’ scenario. Such solutions shall be cost-effective in India, as the minimum wages climb and organisations become more sustainability conscious.
One machine, many advantages
Nilfisk CS7010 combines sweeping and scrubbing operations in a single pass:
- Better TCO by combining the operation of two machines into one
- Best-in-class brush pressure to clean rigid MHE tyre marks on epoxy or cement flooring
- Features like SmartFlow™ and EcoFlex™, saving chemical & water consumption
- Dustguard™ airborne dust suppression technology, reduces displacement of dust attributed to sweepers and lowers allergens in the air.
- Speed control prevents damaging goods stocked in sensitive areas, thereby making the usage driver-agnostic.
- ClearView™ sightlines and automatic speed reduction at turns for safer operation
- Wide variety of brushes to suit different types of surfaces
Aisle, rack and wall cleaning
Navigating between racks requires a compact and highly maneuverable machine for floor cleaning that can get the job done while effectively adapting to the requirements of such areas. We consider turning radius and machine ergonomics which provide the operator clear sightlines for cleaning such narrow aisles. The selection of the size of the scrubber needs to be suited to the configuration of the racks and ability of the scrubber to turn around or exit to the adjacent aisle.
For rack cleaning upto 2 m height, we suggest a backpack vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration for dusting stored products on racks and high-reach solutions for cleaning upto 12 meters from the ground, minimizing the need to use scaffolding to reach and clean, which is unsafe.
We have the Nilfisk High Reach Kit with powerful vacuum suction capabilities to reach high walls and ceilings which can reach upto 40 feet.