The third part of this three-part article looks at other trends at ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam.

A lot of new products at ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam focused on improving janitor productivity, including many of the Innovation Award nominees and winners.
 
One way to boost productivity is with better training. The overall winner of the Innovation Award uses augmented reality technology to teach any worker — regardless of experience and expertise — how to use and maintain equipment.

After scanning the product in question with a smartphone or tablet, the user receives step-by-step graphics or video guidance on how to use or care for the product. If there are any problems, self-troubleshooting and remote support via live chat are available. Currently, this technology is being used on chemical dosing equipment, but it will eventually be applied to floor care machines and other products.

Many manufacturers focused on time savings as a way to improve worker productivity. In the restroom, this meant powering soap, odor control and urinal cleaning fixtures by ambient light rather than batteries. This results in a consistent power supply and eliminates the time janitors spend checking or replacing batteries.

Another innovation focused on reducing trips to the janitor’s closet by allowing workers to use one sprayer for multiple chemicals and by having the person carry these interchangeable bottles on a belt.

“There’s always a need for more productivity,” says Markus Häfner, export director for Werner & Mertz Group, Mainz, Germany. “There’s a need to look at how to save time and be more effective, while also reducing training costs for janitors.”

On the equipment side, machines continue to get smaller, with narrower decks to fit through tight aisles and doorways. In addition, scrubbers shaped like upright vacuums are a new way to quickly tackle spills; a hand-held scrubber allows operators to clean low and high horizontal and vertical surfaces.

All of these advances help janitors save time by automating cleaning tasks instead of using traditional manual products like mops and buckets.

For carpet care, more companies are introducing battery backpack vacuums. By going cordless, janitors can clean more space in less time. Battery technology is also being implemented onto canister models. Although not as common in the United States, these products have proven popular for Canadian distributors.

New to carpet care and also showcased in Amsterdam was the industry’s first walk-forward extractor. Not surprisingly, this innovation earned the Visitor’s Choice award for its immediate productivity gains.

These were just some of the innovations on display at ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam. It will be interesting to see how many of them will be featured at the North America show in Chicago this October. If distributors don’t see them this year, they can expect to find them in the years to come.