Humber College has gone high tech when it comes to cleaning with the addition of a new autonomous floor scrubber at the North Campus.
Spencer Wood, director, Facilities Management with Humber, said the college was looking for a way to clean the floors a bit more during the day, especially during the winter when lots of salt and dirt gets tracked in. They had a machine for that purpose, but it had to be driven by a cleaner and was typically only used in the evenings and at night when there were less people around.
When Humber’s cleaning contractor BEST Service Pros said it had an autonomous machine, the college wanted to check it out. It’s been in use for three months and Wood said they’ve been pleased with it.
“I think it’s the future, frankly,” said Wood. “We’re happy with the experience.”
The way the machine works is that a cleaner first needs to ride it along a route so it can be added to its memory. After that, the machine is brought to a location that needs cleaning and it starts its route.
It’s equipped with sensors for safety purposes so, for example, if a person is in its way it will stop. If it encounters an issue, it sends a text message to the cleaner who can swing by and address it.
Mike Tung, BEST’s general manager for Ontario, said the autonomous aspect of the machine means that instead of requiring someone to operate it full time, it can be co-managed by the team meaning that operator is now free to focus on other cleaning while it works. It’s also smaller and more agile than previous models, which allows it to get into spaces those machines couldn’t.
It’s proving to be a popular attraction as it cleans. Wood said those on campus get a kick out of it, taking pictures and asking questions about it.