B+N Referencia Zrt. has been cleaning several healthcare institutions in Hungary. The management has a strong focus on automation and robotics – as Imeonline, the professional platform for healthcare executives revealed.
Imeonline.hu asked the experts of B+N Referencia Zrt., Zsuzsanna Nagy, Director of the Hygiene Business Unit and Péter Zalka, Research & Development Manager about the latest innovation in professional healthcare cleaning and hygiene. Nagy highlighted that B+N is present in 11 hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation facilities delivering health cleaning including the complete cleaning and disinfection of high priority hygiene areas (operating rooms, laboratories). This number is expected to increase in 2022. The expert added that further improvements of the R&D department make the prevention of hospital-acquired infections more effective, thus significantly increasing patient safety.
Technology fighting infections
“To provide high-quality service and maintain order and cleanliness, a smooth and cost-effective cleaning system is required. Our research and development department is constantly working on new procedures, thus contributing to the fight against healthcare-associated infections.” – Nagy explained.
The efficiency of the cleaning is greatly increased by the cleaning robot developed by B+N Zrt. which currently works in five key health care institutions, as well as in sports facilities and at the Budapest Airport.
The robot, named Robin, increases the efficiency of the operator’s work as well by cleaning large areas. It is suitable for cleaning corridors, communal areas, warehouses and 1,500 sqm of hard-surfaced areas combined of 2-300 sqm sections, which can be cleaned with disinfectants and scrubbing. It automatically calculates the access route to the area based on a pre-programmed cleaning map. During operation, it requires constant supervision, thus an operator must always be within sight. One technician can supervise up to three or four robots.
How does Robin work?
In the morning, the operator fills it with disinfectant and then accompanies the robot to the cleaning area. The operator collects the pieces of rubbish, empties the bins, cleans the edges and the areas under the furniture, while the cleaning robot carries out the disinfectant mopping of the open areas. When the wastewater tank fills up, the robot stops, sends a message to the operator’s phone and, after draining the wastewater and refilling the disinfectant tank, resumes work exactly where it left off. If the battery level drops, the operator drives Robin to the charging station. When executing a route plan, the robot slows down and avoids unexpected obstacles, so it does not endanger patients or equipment.
Replacing the workforce is no goal
The question arises: can manual cleaning be replaced by the cleaning robot? Zsuzsanna Nagy’s firm answer is no. The robot cannot perform every moment of cleaning. However, while the robot is cleaning up hundreds of sqm, our colleague can focus on performing non-automated tasks. Handling, charging and controlling the robot accounts for up to 20-30% of the working time of control colleagues.
Péter Zalka, head of R&D, stressed that the aim was never to completely replace the workforce but to support human work and increase the efficiency of cleaning. The robot’s practical cleaning capacity reaches 500 sqm/hour, one electric charge is enough for three hours of operation and one water charge is enough for one hour.
With monitored robotic cleaning, service quality increases
“Another important benefit of the development is that robotic cleaning can be monitored. Thanks to this, we always know exactly when, what and how the robot cleaned up in a given area. If a detail of the cleaning map is missing, we’ll find out what happened. This also means a serious change in the operation of the company, because if our robot under-performs and we know the reason for it, we can decide based on the available data whether it is worth using the robot in the given area. Since cleaning can be tracked at robot-, area- and company levels, the quality and value of the service we provide is increasing.” – Zalka added.