Contributed by SpaceVac.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, dust proved to be a common method of spreading viruses — potentially raising the risk of infection. Dust would grab hold of the spikes on the outer layer of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which could then spread throughout a facility.

This was concerning, but for many businesses, dust and other materials in the air can raise a number of other potential issues; anything from cross-contamination in the food chain to highly-explosive combustible dust igniting. This material is always found at ground level though, with dust circulating in the air and settling in high-level areas — making its removal difficult.

One business that understands the need to keep on top of dust removal is IKEA. With over 100 retail locations across the U.S., the chain’s iconic blue buildings are instantly identifiable.

The inside of IKEA’s retail stores are just as recognizable, with a network of corridors leading visitors through different rooms. Overhead, the stores channel all of the power and lighting cables through a network of overhead trays. While this helps to keep cabling safely away from visitors, these trays would fill with dust — leading to overheated cables and an increased risk of fire.

This particular issue was highlighted by the facilities management team at Samhall, a cleaning contractor in Sweden, as they worked in IKEA’s chain of Swedish stores. Upon commencement, the team identified the need for the annual cleaning of cable trays to remove the hazardous material.

Previously, a team of five was employed to take apart the displays and clear a path for a lift platform to elevate a worker to the level of the trays to remove the dust. The method brought with it a number of issues:

  • The task was very expensive. Multiple staffers were required to complete each clean, in addition to the expense of bringing in access equipment.
  • Cleaning work would often take days to complete, making it a highly inefficient way of completing this work. As man hours piled up, cleaning work became a very expensive process.

By introducing a new product to their cleaning arsenal, the cleaning team significantly improved the efficiency of their work. That product was a high-level cleaning solution called SpaceVac.

SpaceVac is a very simple concept. Utilizing a set of interconnected carbon fiber cleaning poles — paired with a range of angled cleaning heads and different cleaning tools and brushes — the system allows operators to easily reach and clean from the safety of the ground floor. The range includes a gutter clearance system, as well as products for internal cleaning and cleaning within ATEX-certified combustible atmospheres.

With a low profile and light operating weight, the system allowed cleaning teams to quickly and easily navigate their way through the store. Utilizing the company’s internal cleaning system, the team was able to instantly revolutionize its cleaning work in less time and at a substantially lower cost.

Introducing SpaceVac into just one site, Samhall was able to save over €200,000 euros (roughly $242,000) and countless man hours — savings that led to SpaceVac becoming a mandated part of in-store maintenance for every IKEA store across Sweden.