In the recent past, it was common practice for American companies to outsource many production and manufacturing operations to China and other countries. However, rising costs of manufacturing in other countries has led to “reshoring,” meaning that many of these operations are coming back to the United States.
With this resurgence of manufacturing operations in the US comes the resurgence of industrial flooring, such as those in factories and plants, and the need to keep these facilities and floors clean. Understanding industrial flooring and how to care for it can be very profitable to cleaning service providers and those in the cleaning industry.
Industrial flooring can be similar to other types of floors, but there are a few key aspects that must be considered. Industrial flooring will usually be made of vinyl tile or concrete, and the floor will get a significant level of heavy traffic, which will cause a higher rate of wear and tear. Industrial floors are also typically much larger than floors in other types of facilities. Equipment and chemical selection are key in industrial facilities.
Due to the large size of industrial facilities, equipment selection should be geared toward higher productivity equipment. Large walk-behind sweepers and automatic scrubbers are necessary investments in such cases.
The sweeper in an industrial facility should be a battery-powered, walk-behind model, capable of picking up all types of debris (sand, metal scraps). An advanced air filtration system can also be very helpful in areas where dust is an issue, which is common in many industrial facilities. The sweeper should be matched in terms of productivity (how many square feet it can clean) to the size of the facility.
An automatic scrubber is the most important piece of equipment for effectively keeping industrial flooring clean. The scrubber can be either a walk-behind or ride-on unit, depending on the size of the facility. A large cleaning path (26-33 inches) is recommended in such large areas, and a large chemical solution tank (30 gallons) can also be helpful when cleaning large areas. It is also important to consider the steering radius and maneuverability when cleaning tight spaces around industrial equipment.
Chemical selection is also important and should be customized to the specific facility. Depending on the type of facility (and the corresponding soil type), traffic, and maintenance program, different cleaning chemicals should be used. In facilities with industrial grease build-ups or food service facilities, degreasers are necessary to break down the grease. If the floor mainly sees foot traffic and fork truck traffic but no grease build-up, neutral cleaners and all-purpose cleaners will be sufficient for daily cleaning.
With the return of industrial operations to the US comes the opportunity for many cleaning service providers and others in the industry to gain the business of keeping these facilities clean. Having the knowledge of how to properly care for these types of facilities and industrial flooring is key to capitalizing on these opportunities.
For more information on cleaners and degreasers for industrial facilities, visit our Degreasers webpage.