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T1, T2, T3… Rising Challenges of Indian Cleaning Industry

An airport is often the first introduction to the country. A good airport would signal a new India, committed to join the ranks of modern industrialised nations,” said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during the inaugural address. Making a committed effort to maintain the cleaning standards at all times is one of the major impediments for India’s progress. Keeping the T3 clean is a challenge for everyone associated with it. In fact, the cleaning and maintenance of T3 began much before it commenced operations. Three years back, when this project began, multiple contractors were working simultaneously to complete the Terminal within the stipulated time of 39 months. At the time when the floors were being laid, the lighting connections being fitted, the elevator shafts being designed… the cleaning had begun. For the first time many of the construction contractors found it impossible to continue working without cleaning the surface area they were working on. Parallel construction on a single site is a modern development which ensues completion of time-bound projects. Debris and blocks of wet cement made their way into the various systems being installed, forcing the contractors to constantly clean the area. This was where an industrial vacuum cleaner came to their rescue and for the first time construction contractors found the necessity to clean and also use a cleaning machine at the project stage. The use of vacuum cleaners for purposes other than housekeeping and industrial has opened up new markets for cleaning equipment. Many of the equipment bought at the time of construction are now being shifted for use at other projects or are being used for maintenance at T3.

Said Venkateswarlu Kota, Manager-Purchase, Siemens Ltd, New Delhi, “Given the 39 month-time frame and parallel construction, the debris and dust generated at the site made it imperative to constantly clean our area of operations intermittently. Siemens has installed the seven-kilometre long in-line conveyor belt. We were at work, so were the other civil contractors and the dust generated constantly tampered our operations. The area surrounding the conveyor belt could still be cleaned using simple cleaning tools but the dust accumulating on the belt area needed appropriate cleaning. It was then that a Dulevo representative offered us the industrial vacuum cleaner which was useful in removing all sorts of construction debris.”

Initially, Siemens purchased two machines and found them very useful. Thereafter, as the work progressed, they procured two more. Siemens has also been given the contract to maintain the conveyor belt for the next five years. “Since we had already experienced the unrelenting performance of the cleaning machine at the time of construction, we have confidently bought another 10 machines for maintaining the conveyor belt at T3. We found Dulevo machine quite economical. “Apart from the quality, the availability of the machine was instant and did not have lead time between the order placement and delivery. If we wanted it as early as tomorrow, it would be delivered to us.” The machines were purchased from one of the distributors of Dulevo India, Kruger & Brentt, New Delhi.

“We have not outsourced the maintenance of the conveyor belts as yet. We identified few of our workers, who were at work during the installation, for the maintenance operations. Dulevo provided the necessary training to operate the machine. Even though, there could be discrepancies in the handling of these machines by our workers as they are not from the cleaning or maintenance field, it is important that our own people maintain our installations,” says Venkateswarlu. Setting another record at T3 is ThyssenKrupp Elevators that has installed around 77 elevators, 93 travellators and 39 escalators (few of which are yet to be commissioned). “Yes, we too required cleaning equipment at the project stage and post maintenance,” said M P Gunjkar, Deputy General Manager-Field Operations, North Zone, ThyssenKrupp Elevator (India), the and Project Head at T3. Usually the conveyor transport devices like elevators, escalators or moving staircase and walking machines or travellators are installed post construction.

In the case of T3, the installation of the systems began even before the entire building was erected. Hence, there was much dust all around which required constant cleaning. “We had to engage in both manual and mechanised cleaning using a heavy duty industrial vacuum cleaner. We bought the Dulevo machine to clean the controller, machines, car tops, shafts… everywhere.” The main criteria of selecting these machines were its capacity to pick up even wet cement droppings falling into the pit. “We looked at the wattage, the suction capacity and even the motor. In fact, this machine has a double motor. At that time we did not have time to look for an even higher capacity machine and worked with whatever was available. We looked for vacuum cleaners through Google search. The Dulevo machine works on 2700 watts and we had bought seven of them at the project stage and now it will also be used to maintain our machines. Around three or four will be retained here for maintenance while the rest will be moved out to other airport sites. At present, our men have been trained by the equipment supplier to operate the industrial vacs and they are also doing the maintenance.”

This is the first airport project of ThyssenKrupp where industrial vacuum cleaners are being used to keep the project site clean. “In the future too in such projects we would be looking at using cleaning machines. Earlier, we used blowers but it is not possible to do so at T3, as it will spread the dust all over and with most of the areas being carpeted, industrial vacs are ideal.”

“For travellator cleaning, we have purchased specialised machines from Karcher that will clean the pallets and the steps. Out of the four, we have received one which is already in operation at T3 and it is satisfactory. They have provided us the chemicals to do away with stains. We are procuring Diversey R3, R7 and other chemicals for cleaning the railing and other areas. Besides, cleaning agents we are also using telescopic tools for cleaning. The elevators installed at T3 are state-of-the-art eight tonne hydraulic lifts, one of the few such installations, in India. Similarly, the 180-metre travellator is the longest in Asia in any premises. It takes three minutes and 20 seconds to go from one end to another.

“Cleaning equipment has come in handy and had speeded up our cleaning processes, especially with the time constraint we had for commissioning. Cleaning has always been bothering us and this time the industrial vacs and escalator cleaning machines have eased up our job. We will be handing over the cleaning machines to the service provider who would be doing the cleaning part.”

Apart from direct purchase of industrial vacuum cleaners for project cleaning by GMR, Forbes Pro machines like RS501 vacuum ride on sweeper, CS110 ride on sweeper, CS70 ride on compact sweeper; high pressure cleaning machines and GS-83 industrial vacuum cleaner have been deployed at T3.

Another major record created at T3 is the service contract being awarded to multiple agencies. Five service contractors – All Services Under One Roof, A2Z Infrastructure, Lion Services, Impressions and Updater Services besides Appletree which will be maintaining the façade. While Sonia Gandhi asked during the inauguration of T3 ‘Can we keep it clean?’, Dr Manmohan Singh said, the new Terminal which has brought together several service providers will prove their capacity to coordinate across agencies… and work as a united team.

The Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport that went on stream in July has opened up the floodgates for the Indian Cleaning Industry. While the infrastructure itself has established new global benchmarks in India, the massive structure spread over 5.4 million sqft has created immense opportunities for the cleaning industry too.

The sixth largest terminal in the world, constructed in 39 months makes it one of the fastest built terminals in aviation history. It has a capacity to handle passenger traffic of 34 million per annum and 650 flights a day. The new terminal building comprises a range of world class features and facilities designed to provide enhanced passenger comfort and convenience. The glass high roof ‘canyon’ corridor connects the domestic and international wings of the integrated terminal. The most modern terminal, T3 boasts of advanced five-level in-line Baggage Handling System with a capacity to handle 12,800 bags per hour and 6.4km of conveyor belts; nine-level building featuring 78 aerobridges; longest travellator or walkway of 118m and more than 65 elevators; almost 20,000sqm of retail area; mall; 100-room facility for transit passengers; 25,000sqm office space; multi-level car parking with a capacity of 4300 cars and surface parking for 2,200 car; around 300 toilets; eight-lane approach road; 70 acres of landscaping outside the terminal and so on… All of these need to be cleaned and maintained regularly.

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