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The Exclusive Magazine for the Building Service Contracting Industry Since 1981
January 12, 2011

Stand-On Machines New Technology for Old Challenges

Written by  Richard Bodo

With all of the new developments in cleaning equipment over the past few years, certainly the most exciting technology to emerge is stand-on equipment. Stand-on equipment offers a number of advantages in operational costs, safety and productivity that will help you get the job done faster than conventional walk-behind or rider units.A key factor in looking at operating cost is productivity when compared to walk-behind units. Stand-on equipment offers a significant increase in productivity, cleaning speed and consistency of cleaning, due to the fact that the operator is standing on the machine and not walking.

The increased productivity of stand-on cleaning equipment benefits the customer in two ways. First, the productivity of the machine alone provides time, cost and labor savings. Secondly, the worker is more likely to be more productive after using a stand-on machine, since he or she is riding and not walking. Have you ever stopped to consider what is actually happening when an operator is walking behind a machine? If an operator runs a walk-behind machine for four hours at an average speed of 1.5 miles per hour, the operator will walk 6 miles (4 hours x 1.5 mph = 6 miles) before his shift is half complete. By riding instead of walking, the operator is fresh and ready to finish the rest of the shift.

In an effort to make their units seem more productive than they truly are, some manufacturers rely on "theoretical" speeds when referencing productivity. These figures base the maximum productivity on a speed at which no user can operate over an extended period of time. As an example, one manufacturer quoted three miles per hour for a walk-behind scrubber, which equals approximately 105 steps per minute for one hour!

When compared to traditional ride-on equipment, which has the operator in a seated position, stand-on equipment is still much more productive, especially in congested environments. In facilities like hospitals, where beds and wheelchairs may need to be moved during cleaning, stand-on equipment makes it much easier for the user to step off of the equipment to move the obstacles.

Stand-on technology is used in a variety of environments where productivity truly is a concern. For example, stand-on lift trucks used in warehousing have shown the difference in productivity between a stand-on and a riding piece of equipment when the operator is required to step on and off the machine, as they would while cleaning in a congested environment.

The forklift manufacturer who introduced the stand-on technology initially did not expect much in the way of sales, as they anticipated it would be much more of a niche product. After one year on the market, the stand-on equipment had overtaken the sales of their traditional seated rider lift trucks. Users quickly discovered it was much easier to step on and off of a stand-on piece of equipment than it was a traditional rider. Additionally, benefits were found in maneuverability and sightlines.

As an example, a stand-on scrubber is typically up to two feet shorter than a comparable walk-behind or a rider, which also makes them much more maneuverable. This allows stand-on scrubbers to safely and easily maneuver in classrooms, patient rooms, handicapped lifts moving between floors, and other tight areas that in the past have required workers to move fixtures for cleaning.

Let's face it, custodial closets and other areas that are often allotted to equipment storage are not generally large, wide-open areas. The small footprint on these units allows them to take up less space than a walk-behind or rider machine. This also makes it easier to fill and dump in these tight, congested areas.

Closely connected to the size of these units are the sightlines that the operator has while operating them. When the operator is standing upright, he can typically see within approximately 12 inches from the front of the unit and directly down the sides. This allows for safe operation in areas like schools where small children may dash around a corner and in tight spaces. Also, with the ability to operate next to walls, the operator can very effectively monitor how close they are, which in turn minimizes costly repairs to walls in your facility.

So next time you are faced with finding a new solution to the same old problems, consider stand-on technology, and you'll never have to walk behind again!

Richard "Bo" Bodo is the director of training at Windsor Industries and an IICRC master textile cleaner. An internationally published writer, Bo has more than 11 years of industry experience with a background in both chemicals and equipment. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last modified on April 06, 2016

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