Cleaning the future: thoughts from the managing director

Company

Michael Mathews is one of Australia’s leading cleaning equipment experts, with more than 15 years in the industry.

As Managing Director of Conquest Equipment Technology, Michael shares his insights regarding the future of floor cleaning technology following the ISSA trade show in Chicago.

Australia’s commercial and industrial cleaning market is not the largest on the global stage, but that is precisely why it is so exciting. Where the European and North American markets struggle to adopt practices to newer technology, Australia is uniquely positioned to adapt and adjust cleaning processes as technology continues to develop.

The goals of the cleaning industry have always remained the same: creating safer, healthier, and pleasant environments. As the tasks remain largely the same, development is heavily focused on commercial and industrial cleaning equipment. Trade shows like ISSA showcase the emergence of advanced power sweepers and power scrubbers to the global market.

The simplest changes are often the most effective. Lately there has been a swing toward specially designed brushes, rather than the traditional pads, that clean better and last up to a hundred times longer than current solutions. Small changes like this continually improve efficiency and lower the cost to businesses.

Reducing manual labour and developing eco-friendly options are also areas under constant development. SquareScrub’s DoodleScrub, winner of the Innovation of the Year Award is a prime example of how manufacturers are addressing difficulties faced in commercial cleaning.

The DoodleScrub, known locally as the Nano Edge, allows cleaners to scrub around and under tight fixtures from a standing position.

Manufacturers have once again turned their attention to developing automatic scrubbing machines and floor sweepers that do not require a human operator. Autonomous or ‘robotic’ cleaning was an area of intense development in the 90s, when technology had not yet matured to meet the requirements of the professional cleaning industry.

Full robotic cleaning is still a way into the future, and Conquest is working with leading international manufacturers to see what the ideal solution will be for the Australian market. The switch from human-operated to robotic cleaning will be a gradual. Machine pre-programming and semi-automatic functions for trickier tasks will become more common, until technology allows equipment to safely navigate spaces autonomously.

The human cleaner is as relevant as ever, though it is likely that the role of the worker will change from one of manual labour to one of technical operation.

But the one of the most exciting announcements for Australia’s cleaning industry came after Chicago. The ISSA announced that the Cleanscene and Ausclean Pullire trade shows would merge under the ISSA banner to form the ISSA Cleaning & Hygeine Expo from May

This is the major cleaning event that the Australian industry has been calling for, says Michael. With the backing of the ISSA’s international resources, Australia’s small but advanced commercial and industrial cleaning market will have the opportunity to connect with leaders in the global market, and how ideas and products are being developed on the world stage.

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