FM newsroom – robotics, cleaning. Automation and robotics are actively shaping the way we think about facility management and maintenance. For years now cleaning robots can help supplement human staff to keep a facility clean and neat. But does every facility need a cleaning robot? Here are four fundamental aspects to consider before investing.
Duncan McLennan, senior product manager for robot developer Avidbots explained to Janelle Penny, Editor-in-Chief at Buildings.com what building owners and facilities managers need to know about investing in cleaning robots. The expert recommended considering four fundamental things before choosing and buying the right one.
Robots struggle to do things that change on a regular basis. A robot can do the same thing a million times in a row on a car assembly line with no problem, but to dynamically adapt to changing conditions is a big challenge. If there are even minor changes in your facility, it is important to choose a fully autonomous cleaning robot that can adapt the way it drives and navigates based on changing environments.
The availability of labour is a problem seemingly everywhere, and that can be an argument for investing in a robot because it can step in when humans aren’t available. Robots can also step up the quality of cleaning in areas where it would be hard or impossible to station a person in a particular space around the clock to achieve a higher level of cleanliness. If a facility needs to up the quality of cleaning or be cleaned more often FMs often have to supplement their existing team by bringing in a robot to assist.
Match the machine to the application
One robot can’t do everything. There are machines in all sorts of different formats and sizes, and matching the machine to the application is really important. FMs should choose a developer company that conducts detailed site visit assessments to determine whether it makes sense to deploy a robot at a particular location. It is better to involve professionals to define what kind of robot does your facility – let it be a school, an office, an airport or a hospital – require to perform a certain function.
Keep an eye on the innovations
The expert encourages people to take a look at what’s out there today. “Maybe you tested a robot five years ago and had a bad experience, which I’m sure some people did. Five years in some things isn’t a very long time, but five years in robotics is like a million years. Things change really quickly, so stay on top of it. Keep your eyes and ears open”- McLennan told Buildings.com.