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Shock wave based cleaning method for wet barefoot areas

IGF 19949 N

Due to increasing health awareness and growing need of the population for “higher quality” recreation, the area of wet barefoot areas in Germany is constantly increasing. For the approx. 25,000 small and medium-sized (SME) cleaning service providers, the cleaning and disinfection of these wet, barefoot floor coverings therefore represents an economically very attractive future market. Mineral floor covering materials are generally used for these areas.

In particular, stubborn mineral deposits that occur in thermal spas and brine baths, in addition to skin grease, sweat residue, cosmetics etc., are difficult to remove. The daily maintenance cleaning and disinfection of wet barefoot areas is therefore very time-consuming and requires up to five work steps. This results in high time and personnel requirements or a low effective area output.

Therefore, the aim of the research project was the realization of an efficient maintenance cleaning method for wet barefoot areas based on radial shock waves: The removal of soiling by radial shock waves in water is based on the controlled application of mechanical energy into the interfaces water/soiling and soiling/floor covering.

When radial shock waves hit these interfaces, acoustic energy is converted into mechanical energy due to difference in acoustic impedance between water and soiling or soiling and floor covering. The input of mechanical energy leads to a “blasting off” of the soiling from the ceramic floor covering.

Within the project, a functional model of a mobile cleaning device for shock wave based cleaning of wet barefoot areas was developed and a cleaning and disinfection procedure was realized.
The developed functional model is a combination of a shock wave laboratory unit and scrubber-dryer with roller brush head. With two applicators for shock wave generation, that were moved synchronously on an elliptical track, it was possible to treat a track with 20 cm width by shock waves and roller brushes without application of cleaning agent.

With the developed shock wave cleaning device it was possible to achieve, even without the use of cleaning agents, by combining the shock waves with the brush mechanism a significantly higher dirt removal rate than with a scrubber-dryer with cleaning agent, irrespective of the type of brush used and the type of tile treated. Due to the resulting elimination of the working steps “pre-wetting” and “complete removal of detergent residues” as well as the possible subsequent disinfection (elimination of separate application of disinfectant), an optimized cleaning device can achieve an effective area performance of approx. 40 % higher than that of a classic scrubber-dryer.

The research report is available on request from the
wfk – Cleaning Technology Institute

The IGF-pro­ject 19949 N of the re­search as­so­ci­a­tions Europäische Forschungs­ge­mein­schaft Reini­gungs- und Hy­gien­etech­nolo­gie e.V., Cam­pus Ficht­en­hain 11, 47807 Krefeld, was sup­port­ed via the AiF with­in the fund­ing pro­gram „In­dus­trielle Gemein­schafts­forschung und -en­twick­lung (IGF)“ by the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ic Af­fairs and En­er­gy (BMWi) due to a de­ci­sion of the Ger­man Par­lia­ment.