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Autonomous Robots Add Sustainable Shine for Global Manufacturer

January 10, 2024 9:01 AM by Tennant Company

Posted in Sustainability Robotic Cleaning Machines Cleaning Challenges

Autonomous Robots Add Sustainable Shine for Global Manufacturer

As a world-class producer of cutting-edge equipment and technologies for the agriculture and construction sectors, CNH Industrial knows the role innovation plays in solving the world’s greatest challenges. So, when the company recognized a need to drive cleaning efficiency, they seized the opportunity to leverage next-generation autonomous commercial floor cleaning machines to deliver a unique advantage.

Finding a more efficient path to enhanced cleanliness

Despite 40 hours of weekly cleaning and intensive chemical use, the floors at the CNH Industrial Parts Distribution Center in Lebanon, Indiana were not consistently meeting CNH’s high standards of cleanliness. “We had an operator tied up on the machine all day and we weren’t getting the quality of clean we wanted,” says Facility Manager Neil Dellinger.

Eager to enhance cleanliness while cutting down on chemical usage and labor expenses, the local team set out on a mission: Find a way to reliably meet cleaning standards while redirecting valuable labor resources toward revenue-generating activities within the warehouse operation.

How robotics helped CNH with sustainability goals

Dellinger’s interest in exploring alternative floor care solutions led him to investigate Tennant’s fleet of autonomous robotic cleaning machines. A demo of the Tennant T16AMR proved the potential of robotic cleaning. “We were interested in learning more about floor care solutions that leverage robotics and this gave us the opportunity to figure out the best way to implement this technology moving forward,” says Dellinger.

Equipped with Tennant’s ec-H2O NanoClean® technology, Dellinger saw how the T16AMR could combine autonomous floor scrubbing with a detergent-free solution—helping to drive more effective cleaning, save money through labor efficiency, and support sustainability in cleaning by reducing chemical usage in daily floor care.

Setting the cleaning machine up for success

Impressed with its capabilities, Dellinger decided to make a place for the T16AMR on his team, purchasing a machine for use at the CNH Lebanon site.

Tennant partnered with Dellinger and the facilities team at CNH to ensure a successful implementation of the T16AMR, conducting rigorous pre-work and thoughtfully pre-planning routes before the machine was installed. Dellinger also coached his team on the importance of ensuring everything was in the correct place and aisles were kept clear—which significantly reduced machine assists to maximize the cleaning productivity gains.

The importance of human-robot collaboration in cleaning

Team members initially looked at the T16AMR as a gimmick, but the machine quickly won them over with its reliable autonomous cleaning—even earning the nickname “GhostRider.” Clocking 38-44 hours a week, today the robot keeps millions of square feet spotless without using a drop of harsh chemicals in the process.

With dozens of hours freed up from manual floor cleaning, the facilities team at the Lebanon site was able to redeploy its staff to add value through cleaning in the plant’s packaging area and productivity in the warehouse soared.

Astonished by the impact the robot has had on his operations, Neil encouraged other plants to follow suit on his investment.

Building on this success

Dellinger is proud that his investment in robotic floor cleaning has paid off. “We are very happy with the T16AMR,” he says. “Our floors are a lot cleaner, plus the machine doesn’t require any chemicals to clean the floor. This machine does align well with our sustainability values.”

With the success of this first robotic cleaning machine, CNH Industrial has already ordered additional T16AMR robotic commercial floor cleaning machines with ec-H2O NanoClean technology for other North American facilities. As the company pursues its goals of driving innovation and sustainability across its operations, CNH is looking at other opportunities to leverage autonomous systems, deploy battery-operated machines, and implement chemical-free cleaning.

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