Housekeeping in industries
The decision to engage industrial cleaning equipment or services arise out of the necessity and urgency to implement solutions to factors decelerating the production process. Most industries in India, though are made aware of the industrial cleaning technology available at their disposal, are constrained by lack of cost provision and restraints in making an investment.
In the case of housekeeping, industries measure the cost of resources consumed, while in engaging industrial cleaning systems, they evaluate the methodologies that could enhance the competitiveness of the production process in the long run. Hence, an industry approaches both the needs differently.
Ajeet Lalwani, quoting the example of Industrial Jewels, a company engaged in jewellery manufacturing, said that when dust pollution emanating from the grinding process rose to alarming levels at the jewellery processing unit, the company instantly installed dust collectors to avert health hazard. “This is directly related to the production process and has a statutory binding too; hence, there are no two options to it.”
Probably it is not the same case with choosing a floor cleaning machine in a production unit. Definitely the consumer has to be appraised of the implications of engaging floor cleaning machines. One needs to enumerate its advantages and explicate its indirect relation to the production process or in short, convince the consumer on the need for such machines, he explained.
“At one end, many Indian companies are market leaders with global presence,” said Martin Frandsen, GM-India, Nilfisk-Advance. “And the awareness of cleaning properly is growing with companies beginning to see the great benefits these machines can offer. However, one factor which affects the purchasing decision is the almost nil returns on capital investments made on an equipment, at least for a few years.”
On the other hand, there is a league of such industries that still do not care much about maintaining cleanliness standards. Many dyeing factories visited by CIJ do not engage in any kind of daily cleaning. Ironically, mechanised cleaning is not understood. Stagnant colour pools below the dyeing table are a common sight in some of these units in Gujarat. These units are largely ridden with algae, moulds and contamination.
In the West, unclean facilities directly reflect on the quality of the products manufactured there, said Martin. “While there is no direct correlation, it simply emphasizes the professionalism and the perceived quality & consistency levels of the organisation.
“Moreover, cleaning in India is still looked upon negatively as a menial job; often, even the most basic understanding of cleaning is absent.”
Unskilled manpower is one other reason why industries today are looking at mechanisation besides increased awareness, said Ralph Sunil, VP-Administration, Essar Steel Ltd, Hazira. “Initially at Essar, we had over 70 people engaged in road cleaning but now along with machines, we have around 24 cleaning staff working on the premises. That’s a reduction beyond 50%.
“Cleaning machines with just a couple of people can bring about effective cleaning results. Big machines like road sweepers can work wonders.” At Hazira, road cleaning is usually taken up during the night which gives a fresh & clean welcome to all in the morning. “We have the Canadian-made \Pelican heavy duty water spray-suction-road sweeping machine. In the domestic range, we have TPS machines like the Super sucker vacuum machine and also the indigenously home-made mobile-tractor broom for cleaning the project areas where there is a lot of dust and heavy particles on the road.”
The steel plant also has a variety of machines like high pressure jets and industrial vacuum cleaners for industrial cleaning at the shop floor. In certain areas, the company has outsourced cleaning contractors who bring in their machines.
“Though we have imported machines, we would like to have local machines like the ones made by TPS and Kam-Avida. However, we could do better with more support in maintenance and spare parts. Despite spare parts not being an issue, the waiting period is inevitable with imported machines.” On a scale of 10, Ralph gives a 6 on 10 for the services provided by the suppliers.
“Cleaning & maintaining the cleaning machines is a key to obtain the desired performance and to extend the life of the machine. Indians have always been acknowledged for this. However, we still need to improve to be able to reduce the down time and man-hour loss,” said V. Baladhandayutham, Manager-Product Support, Roots Multiclean Ltd.
Besides spare parts, maintenance is important for any mechanical equipment. “A minimum of regular maintenance is required whether it is a premium product or a cheap low end product,” said Martin. The cleaning machines are generally easy to maintain, especially the premium quality products which have good design. Most manufactures deliver a user manual with the machine, but few read it and it is usually the first thing to get lost. The standard in India is to do with on-site training and commissioning, however, since the staff changes frequently, it is not always enough.”