The second part of this three-part article focuses on the new types of portable proportioners.

Similar to wall-mounted proportioners, portable dispensers can accommodate a wide range of chemicals for virtually any cleaning application. Once properly diluted, the cleaning product can be dispensed into bottles, buckets, autoscrubbers and, in some cases, directly onto the surface being cleaned.

One type of portable dispenser consists of a handheld unit onto which the custodian affixes a chemical container. A water hose is also connected directly to the handheld unit via a quick-connect fitting. The user squeezes the trigger on the handheld unit, mixing the water and chemical and properly diluting the solution. Janitors can then reuse the handheld unit and recycle the chemical container once it’s empty.

As is the case with wall-mounted proportioners, a metering tip regulates how much concentrate mixes with the water when using a portable proportioner. The metering tip is a small conical or cylindrical piece that injects the measured amount of chemical into the water. The opening of a metering tip can vary in diameter. The larger the hole, the more concentrated the end solution will be. Although the tip can be part of the handheld unit itself, distributors agree that having the tip as part of the chemical container is more common.

“The majority of systems have the metering tips built into the chemical cartridge,” says Martini. “It makes life simpler, because you don’t have to mess with changing dilution tips if you’re switching between different chemicals.”

Additionally, with the built-in metering tips, customers don’t have to worry about tips wearing out, because each container of concentrate comes with a brand-new metering tip.

“Having the metering tip in the handheld unit is old technology,” says Jim Smith, executive vice president of HP Products, Indianapolis. “The tip can become plugged up or the orifice can change in diameter, depending on the chemical you’re using, and that will alter the amount of chemical you’re getting.”

Another type of portable chemical proportioner gaining popularity is the disposable or self-contained dispenser. These systems are favored for their simplicity and ease of use. The entire system comes ready to use with a permanently attached head that connects the chemical container directly to the water source. Because these systems are typically sealed, workers cannot be exposed to the concentrated chemical. Once the chemical container is empty, workers can discard or recycle the entire system.

“With the self-contained units, you typically pull it out of the box, hook it up to the water source, and you’re ready to go,” says Smith. “It’s easy and convenient, and it doesn’t require any training.”

Self-contained portable proportioners are suitable for customers that use multiple cleaning products because they save custodians time.

“If a customer has four different cleaning products, I’ll give them four portable dispensers, so they can just grab a bottle and quickly go from glass cleaner to disinfectant,” says Sizonen.