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【爱马斯全球】智能化和数字技术将是未来商业清洁领域的趋

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健康、卫生、安全

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Digital technology and automation might have been slow to make their presence felt in the commercial cleaning industry, but adoption is now rapid given the cost and efficiency benefits delivered. In some cases, technology innovations are not simply being adapted to suit buildings—they are being designed into them from inception. As commercial cleaning enters the realm of Industry 4.0—incorporating the Internet of Things and cloud computing—it is not just those at the sharp end of the sector who must keep up to speed. Those who supply it can benefit if they too are ready to adapt.

自动化和数字技术进入商业清洁行业的进程虽然很慢,但一旦采用其在成本和效益方面的贡献是非常突出的。在工业4.0时代,技术创新不再仅适用于建筑业,在商业清洁行业,已经出现了将数字技术和自动化与物联网、云计算相结合的创新趋势。这也对行业高层及供应链各方提出了更高的要求。

The rise of the digital janitor

数字崛起

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“The future of commercial cleaning is autonomous.” So says Avidbots, a Canadian manufacturer that produces commercial cleaning robots. Not the most objective analysis, it could be argued, but the fact remains that floor cleaning is the fastest-growing robotic category in the U.S., according to Cleaning and Maintenance Management magazine.

一位加拿大商业清洁机器人制造商 Avidbots说:“商业清洁的未来是智能化。”虽然不是最客观的说法,但事实却是如此。根据美国《清洁和保养管理》杂志统计,清洁机器人在美国增长最为迅速。


It’s easy to see why. Up to 95% of the cost of cleaning a floor is labor, but commercial cleaning operators have already tried every strategy available to reduce manual labor costs. There is simply nothing left to cut, with contracts as flexible as they can be and margins on janitorial products as tight as possible, without endangering safety or quality.

这很容易解释,地面清洁成本95%是劳动力成本,尽管商业清洁运营商在最大限度的减少保洁产品的开销,但是收效甚微。


What robots are already able to achieve is often stunning. Take the example of the Hefter Robot cleaner, used at airports and hospitals in the U.K., which can cover 200,000 square feet per day. The robot uses lasers to navigate the cleaning area, keeps a log of which areas it has already cleaned, and can return to its docking station at the end to refill and recharge.

而机器人的出现改变了现状,机器人工作效率非常惊人,例如应用在英国机场和医院的豪孚特洗地机,一天就能够清洁20万平方英尺。这款机器人具有存储记忆功能、激光导航清理及自动充电功能。


Likewise, Serbot manufactures window-cleaning robots. Their Gekko cleans 15 times faster than human crews and can even eliminate the need for harsh chemicals through thermal technology.

Serbot制造了一款窗户清洁机器人Gekko,不仅清洁速度是普通清洁工的15倍,还能通过热处理技术减少刺激性化学物质的使用。


In healthcare, robots are proving their worth, solving the uncomfortable truth that manual cleaning solutions are often not working. More than 2 million secondary infections are transmitted through bacteria every year in the U.S., either through inadequate cleaning or pathogens that are developing resistance to chemicals. Machines such as theXenex, which uses UV light instead of chemicals to sterilize rooms, can be leased by hospitals to mitigate the expense.

有数据显示,美国医疗领域,每年有200万人通过病菌传播继发感染,原因之一就是清洁不彻底造成。通过使用紫外线杀菌技术代替原有的化学物质消毒,清洁机器人极大地解决了人工清洁不彻底而引发的健康安全问题。 


Increasingly, Integrated Project Development is designing robotic cleaning into building architecture, with sensors that anticipate the needs of on-site robots. At the same time, we have not yet reached the point where automation replaces humans entirely. We are developing robots that standardize human tasks and maximize their efficiency, but we still need humans to manage the machines, monitor their tasks, and maintain them in working order.

现在,更多开发清洁机器人的项目正在实施阶段,但可以肯定的是它不可能完全取代人类,我们仍然需要人来操控,进行机器的管理,清洁机器人只是让效率最大化的工具。

A caveat for janitors and cleaning staff

人工成本需要合理再规划

We cannot compete with robots for performance or efficiency, but neither should we provide any excuse for them to take over. One area in which commercial cleaning companies (along with healthcare, and food service) need to stay on top of their game is in safe sanitary practices to eliminate the spread of harmful bacteria. Implementing a robust hygiene system of barrier and anti-bacterial protection can reduce absenteeism by 13% by not exposing workers and customers to harmful pathogens or bacteria.

人工清洁与清洁机器人没有可比性,清洁机器人不能替代人。商业清洁公司连同医疗保健和食品服务都应该在预防细菌传播的技术上保持领先,通过技术的不断革新,形成强效抗菌保卫系统,保障工人的健康安全,减少因此造成的缺勤率。

Why the ‘Internet of Things’ matters…

“物联网”的重要性


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Robots by themselves are relatively limited in impact. Connect a fleet of robots to a network, however, and you have significant potential. This interface between connected smart devices is the basis of the Internet of Things.

机器人本身所带来的影响是有限的,但是把一队机器人连接到网络影响将是巨大的,而如何连接就是物联网要解决的问题。


Smart applications are an emerging trend in the commercial cleaning sector. Each new device introduces a marginal gain that solves a tiny problem, but can contribute to considerable cost-saving when applied over a multi-national organization.

智能化作为商业清洁领域的新发展趋势,终端仅仅是一个小的植入,但如果国际化,将会节约大量成本。 


Take, for example, the humble soap dispenser in the bathroom. In conventional janitorial service, a supervisor would check operation of all dispensers according to a routine-based cleaning system, and refill as required. That schedule may be adapted according to peak periods identified throughout the day, or according to the availability of the janitor. Now imagine a smart soap dispenser that sends an activity report to a cloud-based network with every press of its lever. When it is approaching time for a refill, it can send an alert to the management team, and give an accurate report detailing its use throughout the day. Instead of an inanimate object that needs attention, the commercial cleaning business now has an intelligent source of valuable data that can help reduce costs and increase operational efficiency.

例如放在浴室里的智能肥皂器。以往主管部门会根据常规清洗系统检查操作,生产肥皂。现在智能肥皂器可以统计用户使用习惯,并直接发送详细的香皂使用情况数据报告到网络,反馈给商业清洁公司,将大大降低运营成本。


A cleaning mobile management system allows commercial cleaning operators to monitor the status, performance, and cost of every device, not just in a single building but across a national network. Mobile pads or tablets mounted on cleaning carts for example, can tell operators where and what to clean thanks to a network of smart sensors that illustrate everything from fill level on waste bins and soap dispensers, to spills or hazards on walkways.

清洁管理员通过智能传感网络监视每个设备的状态、性能等。例如安装在清洁车上的移动垫或电脑可以及时告诉管理员哪里需要清洁。


The Intellibot machine used in schools, hospitals, and offices, for example, uses an Intelli-Trak wireless reporting system that sends real-time performance reports on the entire robot fleet, allowing the cleaning manager to have complete visibility of cost and progress.

在学校、医院和办公室使用清洁机器人,可以通过清洁管理器了解进度,控制成本。


This data can even be fed back to the distribution network to forecast the need for supplies and materials, direct traffic toward peak targets, or implement cost savings according to bulk orders.

这些数据甚至可以反馈给配电网络,以预测供应和材料的需求,将交通量达到峰值目标,或根据大宗订单实施成本节约。

Automation is good for distributors

智能化对经销商的好处

Somehow, the gradual overthrow of conventional practices by an army of robots could be good news. The demand for cleaning and maintenance supplies is, after all, increasing, and will reach reach $7.1 billion by 2019. How, you may be wondering…?

无论如何,智能化机器人颠覆传统是一个好消息。清洁和维护用品需求在不断增加,据统计到2019年将达到71亿美元。


Quite simply, a more efficient sector with lower operating costs leads to improved demand based on bigger budgets. Commercial cleaning operators still need supplies and support. Liberating parts of their budget with the help of a robot or two means they can invest more in the disposables, chemicals, and equipment to complete their tasks to a higher standard. Bear in mind that the majority of cleaning and janitorial supplies are still sold to end users by distributors. Only 3% or so is purchased through office supply, while 8% of the market has shifted to warehouse clubs, usually servicing smaller, independent users.

简单来讲,清洁效率的提高和人力成本的降低,将会有剩余资本用来购买更多处理物、化学品和设备。这其中,大部分清洁和维护用品仍然由经销商出售给终端用户。


And before we give the impression that all the innovation is happening on the service side, let’s not forget that suppliers and manufacturers too are constantly refining their products with better-performing, eco-friendly, and cost-effective resources.

不仅服务在不断创新、供应商制造商也在创新,这样就形成了一个良性循环。 

         Conclusion         

      结论       

Robots, automation, and smart applications will continue to revolutionize the commercial cleaning sector, but this does not mean there has to be some “rise of the machines” scenario. The janitorial sector is still highly accessible to the small, independent operator. Greater innovation—whether in the form of robotics or high-performance supplies—ultimately impacts the bottom line. Robots may replace feet on the ground in years to come, but businesses that embrace innovation will find it possible to thrive with a restructured operation.  

智能化将继续深入应用到商业清洁部门,但这并不代表一定会出现“机器人崛起”的场景,我们仍然需要不断创新技术。未来几年,机器人高效的工作能力将拥抱正在创新中的企业,展现出蓬勃发展的态势。


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