By Bill Griffin
Let me take you on a ride into the future. That’s after five hours to New York City, six hours to Paris and two hours to Verona. I’m a little sore and don’t smell all that good, but I am here where many of the cleaning machines and technologies we use are developed and shown long before they make it to your local janitor closet and that why, every few years I make the journey to this historic Italian city.
Officially the show is known as Pulire 2011 – The International Exhibition for the Production of Cleaning Technologies, unofficially I call it the Floor Care Equipment Show, because a lot of what of you see here relates to hard floor care. In true Italian custom many of the booths have food, cheese, and wine alongside the latest equipment. Many countries are represented with product exhibits from Italy, Brazil, Germany, India, Australia, Singapore, and China, with three booths in the USA Pavilion (Crown Matting, Marantz Ultrasonics and Lloyd’s Duct Cleaning Equipment).
Let’s talk about what was new at this year’s show.
*Vapour cleaning equipment continues to make strides in equipment design and function, one company is making a machine that can be used for carpet cleaning and also has a backpack model that injects dry steam under a microfibre flat mop for hard floor cleaning. www.polti.com
*A German company displayed a spinning brush on an extension pole with a water treatment system for cleaning building exteriors, windows and solar panels. www.lewi.de
*A water to disinfectant spraying system that uses tap, add two grams of table salt, set the bottle on small plate that electro-chemically activates the solution and in two minutes you have a natural based (safe) disinfectant solution. www.toucan-eco.com
*Karcher Equipment, which owns Windsor, has copied the Chariot style and is now offering several stand up units in its gray professional line.
*Green isn’t everywhere, but the overtones of the sustainability movement were visible and promoted in many booths.
*One company, Adiatek, introduced a chemical free auto-scrubber that utilises ozone to activate the water.
Technology Coming to a Janitor Closet Near You
Certainly not today, but it’s only a matter of time before the items I’m highlighting here make it to your local distributor and finally to your cleaning closet.
Anti-Microbials for Odour and Micro-Organism Control
Genesis Bio Sciences displayed its ‘biosanseries’ of products, which includes microbial and anti-microbial products. It’s ‘e card’ product is designed to kill odours and prevent cross infection related to sanitary napkin disposal units. Product features include: effective against a broad range of bacteria and virus, including Hep B, Hep C and HIV; effective as a fungicide and an insecticide; effective for four weeks; pleasant fragrance; all natural plant extract formula; effective in lined and unlined units; totally biodegradable product; and inexpensive and easy to use. www.biosanseries.com; www.genesisbiosciences.com
Hi Tech Bio Disinfection
One trend I saw was new ways to clean and disinfect patient rooms in health care facilities. Multiple companies are exhibiting systems for spaying a disinfectant solution, mist or fog on to surfaces after cleaning for disinfection purposes. One system known as the clean cube uses H2 O2 and claims 99.99% bio disinfection. www.professionalservicesrl.eu
Vacuum Cleaners with Expanded Capability
I saw several vacuum cleaners on the display that offer new and interesting capabilities. One company introduced a vacuum cleaner that has a floor pad attachment to give the machine polishing capabilities (www.lodetti.net). Another company exhibited what looks like a vacuum cleaner but is actually a micro-scrubber with a hose and hand tool that can be used for spills, furniture or windows. (www.lindhaus.com). Another company offered a unit with UV capability for killing germs in the carpet.
They call them scrubber dryers here, but we know them as auto-scrubbers. The latest trend is in size reduction. Many companies are now offering an upright vacuum cleaner size machine that can get under beds, toilet and partitions. In my mind these small machines not only now open up the use of auto scrubbers to all types of areas where a big machine doesn’t fit, but they in reality signal the end of the line for the wet mop. It’s only a matter of time. We can’t keep using dirty water and call it cleaning. www.lavorpro.com
Solar Panel Cleaning Detergent
Here’s a specialised detergent for cleaning solar panels, the maker claims it has special ingredients that make it a protectant with anti-static capabilities that prevents dust accumulation, leaves no film on the surface after cleaning and can be used with manual or mechanical washing systems. www.dianos.net
Riding Dust Mop and Wet Mop Cart
Battery powered and runs for six to eight hours per charge and travels at up to 5 miles per hour. Can tow a wet mop pail on a trailer or trash bin and other items with a quick disconnect hitch. Made in the the US. www.danetechnologies.com
Floor Pads that Clean with Water Only
You knew this was coming, one more threat to the chemical companies. The times they are a changing. Synclean Services offers an entire line of floor pads for scrubbing or polishing that need no chemicals, water only. www.syncleanservice.com
Indoor Window/Glass Cleaning Pole System
On the show floor at least two different companies proffered lightweight carbon extension pole systems with a micro fibre pad head for indoor glass and wall cleaning. The system allows the user to reach 20 to 30 feet with the pole yet control water application while providing effective cleaning action of a microfibre pad. www.baudoin.nl or www.vipclean.it
Good and not-so-good news for Italian supply marketplace
There is good and bad news in the Italian Cleaning Supply Market, according to AFIDAMP Servizi SLR, sponsor of the show. Here’s a few facts and figures:
*Italian sales of cleaning equipment, chemicals and related supplies in 2010 ($1.4 billion) is up slightly over 2009 ($1.1 billion).
*Chemical sales, which represent 19% of the market, were down 3% in 2010 compared to 2009 sales
*Machines, which represent 33% of market, were up 8% in 2010 compared to 2009
*Paper products, which represent 27% of the market, were about the same in 2009 and 2010
*Mop/Fibre sales were down 4% in 2010 compared to 2009
*Detergents represent more than 70% of the chemical market, with disinfectants being a very small percentage of sales
*Show sponsors expect roughly 20,000 visitors this year, up by 2000 from 2009.
*There are 50% more floor equipment exhibitors this year compared to 2009, with most of the new exhibitors being from Turkey, Germany and France.
*70% of the floor care equipment made in Italy is exported to other countries.