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From rags to riches

10 July 2019

In an industrial setting, cleanliness is crucial to productivity, quality and the well-being of employees. MEWA Textile Management explains why the advent of recyclable, rentable industrial cleaning wipes is changing the situation for the better

Many argue that cleanliness is a true sign of perfect standards in the workplace and in particular, on the factory floor or workshop. After all, if a factory isn’t clean, it’s likely that their processes and output are far from perfect too.  

In reality, managers and employees have so much to think about, that keeping industrial machinery and the environment clean is, probably, bottom of their list.  

Factories and plants are naturally a greasy environment with oils and coolants often dripping onto surfaces and floors; which in turn makes for further issues as workers tread in the spillage and spread the liquid into other areas of the factory. Keeping such areas clean and safe can be a challenge.  

A clean working environment is crucial to efficiency. A clean manufacturing facility not only saves time and money, it also protects the health and well-being of employees. Ultimately, a cleaner and more efficiently run factory improves the quality of products being produced and therefore makes for happy customers.

Health and safety

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the UK lost 30.7 million working days in 2017/18 due to work-related illness and workplace injury. A responsible and structured cleaning process with health and safety in mind should have great importance amongst all manufacturers.  

An efficient cleaning process can also increase hygiene levels by reducing waste; further contributing to a healthy workforce. Managed waste disposal also reduces overall costs as well as mitigating potential health and safety fines.  

Traditional cleaning methods

Many industrial companies use rags or the well-known blue roll for all of their cleaning processes. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach, these rags and rolls are expected to clean up oil or chemical spills, safely remove metal filings, wipe down machinery, clean hands and more. Lacking absorbency, an absence of specialty and an expectation too high of their capabilities, rags and rolls often leave the workplace cleaner, but certainly not clean. Add to this, that these items aren’t recyclable, means the environment is impacted too.  

There are alternatives…

Thankfully, there are options available in the form of industrial cleaning wipes and oil-trapping mats that are superior in quality and effectiveness, and are recyclable and rentable. They act like dense sponges that soak up oil or other liquids and are said to be far more absorbent than traditional materials. 

Unique materials for different uses

MEWA have developed a range of industrial cleaning wipes that are suitable for different needs within the workplace. The range is described as highly-absorbent, also taking into account the varying surfaces that need to be cleaned by offering different weaves of cloth for different surfaces and needs.  

MEWA also offers an oil-trapping mat that actually absorbs up to three litres of engine oil, solvents or other liquids. Flexible in nature, the mat can be placed in any area where drips, leaks or spills might occur. It soaks up liquids and holds them in its special fibre core, keeping the surface dry. Many companies have relied upon oil pans to collect the waste oil, but these can get in the way of the workers and aren’t always suitable for smaller spaces.  

Re-usable, recyclable and rentable

Soiled wipes and mats are placed in a collection container and at an agreed schedule, MEWA collect the containers and deliver fresh wipes and mats without any interruption to the customer.  The used wipes and mats are then thoroughly cleaned in an eco-friendly way, checked for tears and damage and once approved, put back into service – a circular economy.

The washing of the products is in compliance with all legal environmental protection and disposal requirements. In fact, the oils and fats contained in the mats are separated, processed and used for heating and drying further contributing to the reduction of energy consumption.  

This interesting new approach to cleaning is one that we believe will save money, increase productivity, improve employee well-being, reduce injury risk, enhance overall quality and allow staff to focus solely on their work without the worry of a dirty working environment. And of course, a clean and efficient factory will only serve the right impression to any customers or visitors to the factory floor.

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