Monday, February 12, 2018

iLife A4s Robot Vacuum

The iLife A4s is my first try at a robot vacuum. This little unit is a great equivalent to the Roomba. After using for a few days we've had great success with this little unit. Here are some of the high points.


  • iLife A4s has a 3" height which means it goes under many items in the home including your couch
  • Pick up is great. On the first use we filled the hopper even picking up a charge cable and old receipt for a purchase.
  • Battery life seems to be good so far running for over an hour at a time and still having battery life.
  • Although it doesn't have WiFi or Smart connect, it does come with a remote that allows you to turn on and off without having to bend down and turn on.
  • It has programming to preset when you want the unit to run.
  • This unit is also considerably quiet and shouldn't disturb daily activities.
  • Has a HEPA filter
  • Also comes with spare brushes and filters.
  • The best part would have to be the price. This unit can be purchased on Amazon for $199.
  • The only time it got stuck was running between 2 anti-fatigue mats between the stove and sink, it was tight area and the ledge was slightly over 1"
  • The other caution I would give - be sure to pick up any cables or small items that could get picked up as it may very well end up around the brush or wheels.

At the end of the day if you are looking for a good robot vacuum that is well priced and does the job I would recommend trying the iLife A4s.

The question becomes could this unit be used commercially. As many of my post deal with contract cleaners and commercial cleaning I have thought about this. One could use for this unit in a small office to reduce cost. I would consider this unit as a good spot vacuuming tool. It could be placed in an office and set to clean every night for a few hours picking up the small items. This would not eliminate the need for a full vacuum but for the nightly spot vacuuming could be a great option for a small office.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Faculty managers: 3 things you need to do to prepare for cleaning automation in your facility.

As a facilities manger, you understand the need to keep your facility clean but also to remain on budget, while working with your staff. As a veteran in the cleaning and maintenance industry for the last 20 years I have seen several major changes that impact the industry and people who run or work maintaining facilities. The robotics industry is the next major shift and I have found 2 articles that point to how close this shift is. 

The first article entitled Robotics RX by Dr. Steven Dalton found on cmmonline focus on the benefits of using robotics in health care. Since many facilities are facing an aging work force, shortage of labour, and rising cost of labour the robotics industry can help address many of those needs. Not to mention safety of employees when working around those who are sick, and needing to be their first line of defence. The article also points to the benefits of having access to more data which is an ever growing depend in this information age. 

Photo of intellirobot from taski taken from YouTube 

The second article entitled Clearpath: A Waterloo-Based Startup Is Making Waves in Robotics found in the globe and mail focus on a start up that has created robotic technology for delivery of goods. The article points to how this technology can by used in public areas and not interfere with pedestrians or moving traffic. It also points how the technology is being purchased and used by various other companies in manufacturing of other robotic devices. 

Based on the information in these articles and my experience in the industry I would have the following 3 recommendations you should seriously consider before purchasing any more equipment for cleaning and maintaining your facility. 

Maintain your equipment. Robotic intelligent equipment is coming soon, maintain what you have instead of purchasing new so that you are ready for this new technology. 

Train your staff. Robotic cleaning equipment doesn’t mean less staff it means different requirements for your staff.

Use technology. Weather you are a manger or employee the day is coming when technology will be a part of you’re everyday job, learn to use it now and be ready for tomorrow. 

Starting today you need to start training staff on technology, and not be afraid to incorporate technology in your cleaning and maintenance system.

My name is Phil Tessier and I am currently taking the social IMC course from coursera, I am also a 20 year veteran in the cleaning and maintenance industry spending the last 6 years selling equient and supplies with Romco in Ottawa. Feel free to reach out to me and connect with me @zphilt1.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Granite Polishing

Waxed floor before stripping
Here's another interesting project we had. Granite is a nice product as it is one of the hardest natural stones available so a floor can last a long time with the proper care. This particular client had been waxing his floor for the last 15 years and placing matting in the winter. Stripping the floor proved interesting.

As the finish on a polished granite floor is hard and shiny floor finish will adhere to it but once stripper is introduced most of whats on the floor comes off with much ease. In fact for the amount of finish that was on the floor this was probably one of the easiest stripping jobs I have ever done.

Stripped floor
1) we applied Time Out Plus floor stripper diluted at 1:10 and allowed it to sit for 10 minutes before stripping with a 3M high pro pad.

2) Rinse the floor well and allow to dry.

Applying Granite Polish Cream
3) Using the weight floor buffer with full weight ( about 225lbs) and Ecolab Granite Polishing Cream slowly buff a section 10'X10' adding water to the cream to create a consistent slurry.

4) Wet vac slurry when finished.

5) Flood floor with clean water to remove all residue and wet vac it up.

6) Give a final rinse and allow to dry.

Finished Product
7) Buff floor with white pad to remove any remaining residue and admire.

NOTE - If the floor does not have finish on it presently and you want to clean it up a little then you can alternatively use a tile and grout cleaner on the initial step. Also keep in mind that as granite is a natural stone the finished product will differ from location to location as well as under different lighting.

Finished Product Under Different Lighting Conditions

Though this is the process we used and the final product was what we had hoped for I was recently sent this video from Ecolab which shows the process done slightly differently and appears to be just as effective. Enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Polishing Marble

After stripping floor
Recently I had the opportunity to polish marble in the lobby of a hotel. The program is fairly easy and the results are great. Client had waxed the floor and was looking for a better more permanent solution. Here is a quick step by step of what we did.

1) Strip the floor to remove all topical coatings

Prepping floor with 1st compound
2) Using Mighty Max swing buffer ( Unit is a weighted buffer with over 75lbs of extra weight) we applied the Marble Prep 1 compound to the floor adding water as we went.

3) Vacuum slurry with wet dry vac and rinsed floor thoroughly.

Prepped Floor

4) Again using Mighty Max buffer we applied the Marble Polish 2 compound to the floor. This is a wet product which add more water to. We work the product into the floor for about 30 mins.

Finished Product
5) Vacuum slurry with wet dry vac and rinsed floor thoroughly.

6) Buff floor with white pad to remove any residue left behind.

Thing of beauty
7) Admire the finished product.

The final step is now maintenance. All the client has to do is on a monthly basis buff this floor with a 6000 grit diamond polishing pad and once a year using a little marble polish paste to shine the floor up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Study On Laundered Towels Finds E. Coli, Tetanus

Study On Laundered Towels Finds E. Coli, Tetanus

Dr. Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist known as “Dr. Germ,” spends his days digging into the unseen — uncovering the world of germs, pathogens and bacteria everyone knows exists but prefers not to think about. 

Gerba’s recent study of hospital cleaning towels shows why the world of pathogens we live in is something that should be on the minds of jan/san distributors, building service contractors and in-house service providers — especially in hospital settings, where at any given time, approximately one in every 20 patients acquires an infection from these tiny dangers.These infections cost the U.S. healthcare system as much as $147 billion each year, according to the Journal of Medical Economics, and can lead to these patients paying the ultimate price — their lives. 

Recently, Gerba turned his microscope on the microfiber and cotton cloths used to clean hospital rooms. He found that the very tools being used to wipe germs away could be spreading them around. 

The study selected 10 Arizona hospitals at random, and collected three clean cloth or microfiber towels from each location. It also collected samples from the inside surface of the bucket used to soak the towels in disinfectant. He then tested the samples for bacteria. What he found was surprising: 93 percent of the laundered towels used to clean hospital rooms contained bacteria — ranging from E. Coli to total coliforms (bacteria indicative of fecal matter) to Klebsiella, all of which could result in hospital acquired infections (HAIs).“Some cloths actually had E-coli in them after supposedly being cleaned for re-use in hospital rooms,” Gerba says. “E-coli was the main one, but there was a number of other bacteria known to cause HAIs, as well.” 

The study points to insufficient laundering practices as one culprit, but also revealed that 67 percent of buckets with disinfectant used to soak cloths contained viable bacteria, including spore-forming bacteria, which can cause botulism and Tetanus. 

“It is concerning to think that the very processes hospitals use to prevent the spread of bacteria may actually cause it,” Gerba says. 

In a separate companion study, Gerba learned that laundered cotton towels can actually reduce the strength of hospital-grade disinfectants by up to 85.3 percent. The key concern is how to keep microfiber and cotton cloths effective for the longest period of time. 

Steven Attman, co-owner of Acme Paper & Supply Co., Inc. of Richmond, Va., explains the study shows that there’s a breakdown occurring caused by the chemicals being used and microorganisms being left behind after laundering. 

All of these study findings point to the need for hospital cleaning staffs and infection control experts to rethink their current cleaning practices and products. One way distributors can help healthcare facilities curb cross-contamination is to introduce alternative products, such as wet wipes, disposable wipers and disposable microfiber. 

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