Ask the Expert (Custodial Equipment)

How have advances in technology impacted battery-powered cleaning equipment?

The most notable recent advancement in battery technology has been the introduction of higher capacity cells. To differentiate between the terms cell and battery: A cell is the basic unit that contains the electrodes, separator, and electrolyte. An easily recognizable example of a cell is an AA battery, which is composed of a single electrochemical cell. The term battery (or battery pack) means a collection of cells, like if you were to add a number of AA batteries together. Higher capacity cells translate to longer battery runtimes.

Higher capacity cells in lithium-ion batteries have increased battery backpack vacuum runtimes to approximately 75 minutes. Longer runtimes allow cleaners to accomplish more on a single battery charge.

Another advancement in battery technology is an increase in the number of charge cycles a battery can undergo. Charge cycles indicate the number of times a battery can be completely charged and discharged until the battery fails or starts to lose capacity. We were able to increase the number of charge cycles to 850 in the latest backpack vacuum battery, helping cleaners get a longer overall battery lifespan.

Cordless cleaning is already much faster than cleaning with a cord. For example, when used in a cleaning system, a standard backpack vacuum cleans 10,000 square feet in one hour. A cordless backpack vacuum cleans the same area in just 42 minutes. The time saved can then be used to reduce labor costs or to reallocate labor and improve cleaning service.

The more battery technology advances, the more efficient battery-powered cleaning equipment will become. Look for improvements in runtime and charge cycles to get the greatest benefit from battery-powered equipment.

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management June 2018 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

Alex J. Wall is the lead industrial designer with Emerson Tool Company. Wall designs and develops products for the brands RIDGID, WORKSHOP, and ProTeam.