International Event Offers Glimpse at Future of Clean
- Innovation Trends for the Cleaning Industry
After a short hiatus, industry experts from all over the world once again flocked to the Netherlands to learn about current jan/san trends and get a peek at technologies that are driving the industry forward. Trade shows often provide attendees a glimpse of where the industry is heading, but Interclean Amsterdam 2022 seemed to exceed every expectation.
Traditionally held every other year, the event temporarily went virtual in 2020 but resurged out of the pandemic with a vengeance. Interclean Amsterdam hosted nearly 700 exhibitors representing 47 different countries in 2022, cementing its reputation as the world’s largest cleaning trade show.
“We can look back on four very successful days with a positive vibe in the exhibition halls. Everyone was extremely happy to finally meet each other again in person,” says Robert Stelling, director of Interclean Global Events. “We received many positive responses from business contacts who were pleasantly surprised with the international nature of the exhibition, and from exhibitors who were able to make many more contacts or close new orders.”
Attendance at Interclean Amsterdam was equally as strong. Roughly 26,000 cleaning and hygiene professionals from 125 different countries attended this 28th bi-annual event. To accommodate the traffic, booths were strategically organized throughout nine different halls at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center. An outdoor arena was also set up to allow for demonstrations of large equipment.
Attendees weren’t shy about sharing their excitement of being back in-person at the event. One end user was quoted as saying Interclean Amsterdam was, “simply the best exhibition I ever attended!”
The reaction wasn’t a surprise, seeing as Interclean Amsterdam showcased thousands of cleaning products, all with the intention of innovation and technological advancements. Distributors in attendance agreed that the event was a great opportunity to gain exposure to new innovations, sustainability trends and technology that will support the needs of their end user customers moving forward.
According to Interclean Amsterdam organizers, 64 percent of attendees reportedly went to the show looking for more information on machines, and 62 percent were looking for equipment trends. These attendees didn't leave disappointed. A robust offering of robotic technology satisfied curious onlookers in both categories.
In 2018, the cleaning robot market was reportedly predicted to double from $2.09 billion to $4.34 billion by 2023, but the trend moved quicker than anyone thought. Markets and Markets now reports that the cleaning robot market, which already hit an estimated $8.9 billion in 2021, is projected to reach $24.8 billion by 2026. These stats make it easy to understand why nearly every equipment manufacturer present was displaying a robotic option.
Seven of these lucky manufacturers were able to go outside their booth to fully demonstrate their robots (an autonomous machine that performs a task without human control) and cobots (collaborative robots — artificially intelligent robots that perform tasks in collaboration with human workers) in the Robot Arena. Here, attendees found answers to productivity needs, including how using technology can help create more efficient cleaning strategies.
One popular machine highlighted longer run times, larger tank capacity, a tight turning radius and wide cleaning width — all perfect for tackling large areas.
Observers agreed that there are huge productivity advantages to utilizing robotic equipment in large spaces, and the technological advancements made in recent years add to the sales benefits. One end user referred to it as “set-it-and-forget-it equipment” because incorporating robotic floor equipment has freed up staff to successfully tackle other tasks.
Looking to duplicate the productivity advantages of using robotics in large spaces, manufacturing exhibitors focused their sights on perfecting smaller equipment.
“There is a trend toward equipment that can move seamlessly below tables, get closer to walls and reach more areas,” says Peter Kwestro, global business development director at Gausium. “We have 500 R&D engineers dedicated to creating equipment that satisfies this need.”
To that end, Gausium demonstrated an autonomous scrubber — specifically designed for medium or small spaces — that uses artificial intelligence to detect and target spills and stains. It also incorporates scrubbing, damp- and dust-mopping, and will autonomously charge and refill water at its workstation. The robot was recognized as the winner of the Innovation Award in the Smart Technologies & Digitization category (see sidebar).
“We received the award because the equipment auto-senses spots,” says Kwestro, “but we already have new equipment that goes a step further to auto-map facility spaces.”
As illustrated by the new equipment on display at Interclean Amsterdam, the technological advancements in robotics are coming fast and furious. This is expected to be a growing category for distributors as the months and years go on.
The global pandemic has led to ongoing scrutiny of cleaning and disinfecting procedures in all facilities across the globe, but none more than in healthcare, where healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) continue to be an issue. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital patients in the U.S. have a startling 1-in-25 chance of contracting an HAI from their visit. Statistics from European hospitals are even higher.
To buck this trend, education was provided to Interclean Amsterdam attendees via the Healthcare Cleaning Forum and Healthcare Cleaning Lab. After strong attendee turnout at the inaugural 2018 event, organizers brought back the popular healthcare theme, featuring daily presentations and demonstrations stressing the importance of cleaning and hygiene for safe and healthy environments. Presentations on cleaning’s impact on infection prevention, international disinfection guidelines, the push for sustainability, the importance of evidence-based interventions, and new technologies drew large crowds to the one-day Healthcare Cleaning Forum.
“I learned so much during the fair’s keynote sessions,” says one environmental services expert from the United Kingdom. “Add that to the takeaways from the breakout sessions and I have truly innovative cleaning solutions to bring back to the clinics at home.”
Outside the lecture hall, the Healthcare Cleaning Lab attracted show attendees throughout the four-day event. Daily, live demonstrations focused on cleaning and hygiene techniques that are specific to healthcare settings, complete with a mock hospital room to showcase techniques.
That same space held daily presentations, as well as three lively debates. The first was a panel discussion focusing on the pros and cons of single-use and reusable wipes, and protective clothing in healthcare. With so much focus on both infection control and growing sustainability initiatives, this debate covered a lot of ground, and attendees participated in a strong question-and-answer session at the end.
One attendee on hand commented that the debate “gave me a lot to think about,” and he was looking forward to learning even more from the next two — one on the pros and cons of disinfecting with ultraviolet light, and the second on the importance of clean air and how to improve it.
“I am proud of the Healthcare Cleaning Forum where we bridged the gap between infection prevention and cleaning,” says Stelling.
Innovation Trends for the Cleaning Industry