Home>INDUSTRIAL CLEANING>Industrial Equipment & Services>Rags to riches: cleaning up in the manufacturing sector

Rags to riches: cleaning up in the manufacturing sector

27 June 2018

Simon Justice, manufacturing marketing manager at Kimberly-Clark Professional, explains how selecting the correct wiping solution in manufacturing environments can affect key performance indicators (KPI’s), improve productivity, increase operational efficiencies and reduce waste

Within the UK manufacturing sector, the wiping market is worth around £85 million. Of that, the disposable rag market is the largest category at around £20 million, but it is declining at around 5% a year. The rest of the UK wiping market consists of non-woven cloths, paper wipers, laundered rags and saturated wipes.

The fact that some customers continue to use rags is mainly down to habit. They have generally been in the industry for many years, so have always used rags, but are also not aware that there are better alternatives. Companies don’t always realise that cloths or wipes can create an opportunity to improve efficiency and quality within their production environment. 

Rags remain popular across all sectors, but more traditionally in industries that are what we would call ‘dirty’ or ‘heavy’ manufacturing. Sectors such as aerospace and other process critical environments have moved away from rags, as protecting their processes at every stage is essential. Rags can contain contaminants from their previous use and introducing those contaminants into a critical manufacturing process can be costly.

There will always be a demand for traditional rags within parts of the manufacturing sector, but as companies become aware of better alternatives that help them improve process efficiency, then the demand for rags will continue to reduce.

Making the right wiping solution choice can impact your KPIs

The recent ‘Who Would You Hire?’ campaign from Kimberly-Clark Professional encourages a transition from rags and laundered cloths to products specifically engineered for particular industrial cleaning tasks – and challenges customers to apply the same rigorous standards they use in hiring an employee to 'hiring' a wiping solution. Why? Because it’s a decision that can really impact critical KPIs.

With long-standing cleaning contracts, specifiers and decision makers in manufacturing facilities can often become oblivious to the poor standards of cleanliness of their laundered cloths. In contrast, engineered cloths deliver a clean, consistent and high-quality experience every time.

And specifying engineered cloths can enhance productivity too. While employees are sorting through inconsistent and often unusable piles of rags, they could already be on to the next job if they used more durable, absorbent cloths.

Improving cleaning efficiency while cutting down on waste and costs

The results of laboratory tests conducted in July 2017 showed that engineered, embossed cloths absorb 40% more oil than rags and absorb it five times faster. They are not only more efficient when compared with rags, but also deliver significant and measurable environmental sustainability benefits, reducing disposal waste by up to 78% against average rag usage.

Thick and durable, without tearing or falling apart, embossed cloths absorb two times faster, and two times more than rags. Designed for superior removal of the toughest, most ingrained, dirt, oil and grease across all types of surfaces, embossed cloths provide bulk and extra scrubbing power for tough cleaning tasks without tearing or falling apart. 

The new WypAll ForceMax is the toughest cleaning cloth in the WypAll range, featuring Kimberly-Clark Professional’s trademarked Hydroknit technology that blends recycled cotton fibres, soft, absorbent cellulose and tear-resistant polypropylene. The cellulose component allows these wiping cloths to absorb water quickly and effectively, while the tear-resistant polypropylene fabric soaks up more than its own weight in oil and grease. The result is a durable solution with a softer, more cloth-like feel, which can be used wet or dry.

Selecting the correct wiping solution in manufacturing environments can positively affect KPI’s, enhance productivity, increase operational efficiencies and contribute to an improved environmental sustainability story through the reduction of waste. Taking all those benefits into account, if your current wiping solution was interviewed, would it get the job?