As a world leading manufacturer and innovator of cleaning solutions we have seen increasing demand in robotic adoption when it comes to facility cleaning. From autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) which are widely used in industrial applications, to now autonomous mobile robots (AMRs); the difference between the two is that AMRs are fitted with sophisticated on-board artificial intelligence (AI) systems that enable AMRs to not only follow complex processes and make intelligent decisions about how to proceed on a task, but also to safely navigate in dynamic indoor spaces.
Adopting a robotic solution helps deliver value not only for employers and employees, but also for customers. The increasing demand for businesses to implement a robust and stringent cleaning program from a health and safety perspective is important for customers, employees and employers across all industries.
Approaching a robotic floor scrubber as a ‘Co-Bot’, also known as a collaborative robot doesn’t mean a business is replacing existing cleaning staff; rather it’s about the reallocation of labour allowing custodial staff to spend more time on high-touch, high-value tasks that only humans can do. Embracing robotics can also mean staff are more engaged in their roles and eager to take on different responsibilities and expand their skillsets to include robotics training and machine management.
Why health care?
Cleanliness has always been essential in health care… But today, with the rising risks, expectations and standards, all healthcare organisations are being impacted and recognise the critical need to adjust to heightened cleaning demands. Common operational cleaning challenges facing healthcare facilities today include:
- Protecting the health and safety of patients, staff and visitors.
- Cleaning high traffic areas.
- An over-extended cleaning team.
- Enhancing facility image.
- Inconsistent floor cleaning.
All these pain points can be addressed through the deployment of robotic floor cleaning machines.
Facility cleaning that includes frequent and consistent floor scrubbing plays a key part in the cleaning protocols of healthcare facilities. As hospitals operate 24/7, regular cleaning of high traffic areas become an operational challenge during peak hours. With the rise of cleaning expectations, it means a growing task list to be completed each shift. Site managers and cleaning staff are then left with the dilemma of whether they should clean the floor or focus on high touch surface areas. Robotic floor cleaning is emerging as one means to support enhanced cleaning performance and protocols, helping healthcare organisations unlock consistent cleanliness and operational efficiencies. T7AMR Proof of clean and coverage is visible and validated in the form of Tennant customer dashboard reporting. Implementing a co-bot approach will mean that healthcare facilities can be more confident in their cleaning program; floors are consistently clean, whilst high-touch disinfection and sanitisation are addressed.
With hospitals known for long hallways, otherwise known as long ‘dragway aisles’, it means that when it comes to floor cleaning, the job can become monotonous and repetitive in nature. Staff are less engaged, and areas can be missed. Instead of having the cleaning staff manage and operate a machine solely, it allows staff to focus on high touch point cleaning, such as door handles, railings etc., particularly to address the cleaning challenges due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 driving landscape shifts
The NSW public health system is world-class. It is the biggest public health system in Australia with 228 public hospitals and 114,000 dedicated staff (FTE) who make up the health workforce. Each year, NSW Health cares for millions of people and oversees investment worth billions of dollars in patient care, building, equipment, technology and research. Wyong Hospital had been using the Tennant brand of equipment for several years, however with the COVID-19 pandemic heightening cleaning demands and efficiencies from a health and safety perspective, there was an opportunity to expand the fleet.
The changes brought about by the pandemic have prompted some Environmental Services teams to respond to the changing needs and look to robots to help address several key challenges.
The Tennant solution is different
Choosing a technology partner in Tennant Australia to deploy a T7AMR unit can realise a lower dollar investment versus an annual labour cost input while being able to achieve consistent cleaning results with the same if not higher quality expectation. Ensuring that the T7AMR can be seamlessly scaled across future buildings or additional wings to maximise its return on investment is also an important consideration for healthcare facilities.
Facilities are having to find efficiencies to free up and/or reallocate labour for the new tasks and provide proof of cleaning. The T7AMR provides a reason-to-believe with its cloud-generated reporting from detailed route heat maps generated on a daily and weekly basis.
“The T7AMR footprint was ideal for [the] Wyong Hospital site from a safety perspective with busy corridors, receptions and common areas,” said AMR Specialist, Keegan Hendricks, who leads the Technical Advisory Centre (TAC) of Tennant’s robotics unit and also AMR deployment training.
Tennant customer care and dedicated AMR support
The Tennant ‘Care for Customer’ system ensures Tennant provides an unparalleled customer experience across the entire Tennant journey. Part of the T7AMR customer value proposition is dedicated service support and that’s why we implemented our Technical Advisory Centre (TAC) in 2020.
Each and every Tennant AMR delivered is provided with full TAC support which means pre and post deployment with comprehensive on-site operator training on how best to setup and utilise the T7AMR as well as continued assistance with reporting and analysis. A dedicated TAC manager oversees all Tennant AMR customers to ensure every part of their robotic journey with Tennant is supported — from setting up the machine to deliver optimal performance, to ongoing support and troubleshooting when required.
Tennant Australia works closely with our Global Product Management Team in North America and continuously looks to bring new and innovative products into the Australia and New Zealand marketplace. One of our major focus points for 2021 and beyond has been the expansion of our AMR family to ensure we have a suite of robotic (cleaning) solutions suitable for different customer needs, applications, and environments. Our dedicated robotics team is passionate about our customer’s robotic journey and strives to ensure the Tennant customer experience is fully supported.
Tennant Company has deployed more than 5000 autonomous floor scrubbers and currently has three robots in their line, including the T380AMR, the T7AMR and the recently launched T16AMR. With these three models, Tennant has a robotic cleaning solution for customers of all sizes. The robots have a variety of modes, but most operators opt to teach the machine themselves by driving the robot on the desired route, which is then repeated autonomously.
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