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Industrial Cleaning – Recovery, Recycling, Housekeeping

Industries use varied mechanised cleaning equipment – from ultra high pressure machines for cleaning spray paint booths and large industrial vacuums for removing cement or debris to general cleaning equipment for road & office areas.

“Most factories buy high pressure cleaners for general cleaning as well,” said Martin. “However, I still think there is a lack of knowledge in this field. I have visited many factories where they ask for a high pressure cleaner to clean washrooms, production areas and more. But, for all these applications, industries should invest a little more and buy a ‘hot water’ high pressure cleaner. Hot water will not only clean all these areas much better and faster but also kill germs. This is especially beneficial for the washrooms where many diseases could spread among the workers.

“In the production area, cold water cannot remove oil or grease. Only hot water can do the job. Further, in high pressure machines, many look at ‘how high’ the pressure of the machine is (bar). Sufficient pressure to “cut” through the dirt is of course important but the water flow is just as important, as you need ample of water to push off the dirt. Lastly, the companies should consider the number of hours the machine is being put to use on a daily/weekly basis. There are a plenty of cheap high pressure machines in the market but these are all meant for maximum one-two hour weekly operations and they will not last for long if the water supply is insufficient or the water is very hard. Expensive machines have what is called the ‘low speed pumps’ and give a much longer lifespan with zero or few maintenance requirements.”

“Training is all the more important in India because user manuals of equipment are seldom read and are probably the first things to get lost”

The cleaning process, machines deployed, chemicals mixed or the methodology adopted vary from industry to industry. Industrial cleaning is vital for hospitals and health clinics too. In hospitals, hygiene is integral to health and safeguarding life. Cleaning services for areas with unique hygiene requirements need highly developed cleaning techniques and well-trained, qualified personnel that only professional cleaners can provide.

Professional industrial cleaning companies supply a huge amount of cleaning solutions which are customised to suit the particular industrial needs. These cleaning companies also incorporate advanced methods for abrasion control and restoring machinery to its optimal working condition.

The methodology engaged to remove compaction of oil and dirt of the type formed on industrial shop floors is that of dry scarifying using a wire or nail brush in the scrubbing machine. A simple nylon brush will have no impact on the greasy surface. Post compaction, the loosened slime can be swept away easily, said Ajeet Lalwani.

Housekeeping usually uses wet scrubbing with suitable chemicals to disengage slime from the floor. Oil spills are common to most automobile and other engineering industries.

Housekeeping in a textile industry directly affects the production quality. Cotton fluff, the main raw material in any weaving unit, can inundate the entire production area if it is not curtailed at source. “The high capacity centralised vacuum system sucks in fluff from strategic points and collects them in 100-litre tanks,” said Ajeet. Vacuuming is imperative to this industry, as a miniscule cotton fluff during weaving could lead to the rejection of the entire lot of material produced.

Many factories ask for high pressure cleaners for cleaning washrooms, production areas and others. But for all these applications industries should invest little more and buy ‘hot water’ high pressure cleaners.

Enarcon India Ltd manufactures wings for windmills. These wings are taken up for painting and during buffing excessive dust are released. A centralised vacuuming system sucks the dust through the hose attached to the buffing machine thus arresting the spread of dust to other areas, said Ajeet.

Industrial cleaning such as cryogenic cleaning, commonly called with dry ice, a cleaning substance which does not leave any trace of moisture to its passage. This peculiar feature makes the system very suitable for cleaning in food industry and also finds wide use in cleaning electrical installations. Such professional systems that require the use of special machines are offered by specialised industrial cleaning companies that are increasingly developing equipment for preventive maintenance. This is done to ensure optimal degrees of hygiene and deep cleaning of industrial equipment within a few hours of work.

One of the most challenging aspects of industrial cleaning is tank cleaning in the production unit. A good cleaning company uses advanced methods like direct injection which results in overall cost cutting as well as complete product recovery with minimal downtime.

Ultra high power water jetting equipment ranging from 70 to 750HP in strength and a variety of combinations can be used for cleaning purposes. There are several other services also like drain and sewer cleaning, sludge management and catalyst handling besides others.

Manufacturers, wholesalers, exporters and those in any business that requires bulk storing, need warehouses. Warehouse cleaning becomes an exacting job because these are large buildings, which go up to considerable heights and so the surface to be cleaned is substantial. Warehousing cleaning without the aid of industrial cleaning machines can take days, depending on the size of the warehouse.

In the healthcare industry, mopping could be good for small areas but it will not remove the dirt and bacteria hidden in cracks, corners and between the floor tiles. Scrubber-driers and floor cleaning machines maintain the cleanliness and hygiene standards in the healthcare, hospitality and food processing industries.

The Government hospitals of Maharashtra recently made a statement in the press that it would be adopting mechanised cleaning and outsource housekeeping. In a recent interaction with CIJ, some of the leading deans expressed the need for battery operated machines for cleaning the long corridors of the hospitals.

Training in handling and operating the machines is one more aspect in industrial cleaning, as the machines involved are bigger and multi-faceted. Suppliers of imported machines, like in the case of Essar Steel, Canadian engineers come down to give essential training on the operations of the machine.

“A multi faceted training which includes operation and maintenance is vital to improve cleaning standards,” said Baladhandayutham. “We are working on this perspective which will help us to meet the customer expectations, motivate workers and enhance the quality of work.

“Nonetheless, setting goals and improvising cleaning methods in par with global cleaning technology would help the cleaning industry overcome the challenges of the Indian market. Moving from semi mechanised machines to fully mechanised machines, improving the quantity & quality of services, training the staff and retention of skilled staff would be the challenges facing the future of Indian cleaning industry. Indian industry has always proved that they are second to none and we are confident that we will move forward steadily,” he added.

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