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The High-tech World Of Window Cleaning

Professional window cleaning has come a long way in recent years, embracing new ways of working to deliver even better results.

November 09, 2012
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What would you nominate as the greatest invention or breakthrough of recent times?Image courtesy of Unger

There are so many to choose from: The wheel, penicillin, the Internet, refrigeration, air travel and even sliced bread.

The list is endless and entirely subjective, making it the perfect subject for a dinner party discussion — or vehement argument.

The pace of change in terms of technology, science, engineering and industry is relentless, with upgrades and innovations being launched weekly — or so it seems.

Whether it’s a new consumer product, a different way to do business more efficiently or the latest “wonder drug,” nothing stands still for long thanks to the human desire to constantly create even better ways to improve our lives.

Modernization Through Materials

Professional window cleaners have adapted to cope with the increase of high-rise buildings in our cities and changes to safety regulations by embracing new methods and equipment.

Image courtesy of UngerWater-fed poles have emerged as the winning choice, allowing operatives to clean tall buildings and windows safely from the ground, alleviating the need to work at height.

For many years, window cleaners have had the choice of two types of pole system: Telescopic or modular.

However, telescopic poles tend to flex as they are extended, with a subsequent loss of control.

They also have some weight issues; for example, a six-section telescopic pole will always have six sections, as they cannot be removed.

So, even if you only need to use four sections to clean to the height required, you are still carrying the weight of six.

Modular systems, although better at extending without weakening rigidity, simply become too heavy as they are extended.

And, the extensions also add width to the poles, making them less easy to handle.

This presented the sector with a challenge: How can we create a water-fed pole system that will clean up to 65 feet in height but be both lightweight and easy to control?

Along with engineering and design techniques, combining the best features of telescopic and modular poles to create one solution using the right materials is crucial — and, one of the most ground-breaking materials known to man is carbon fiber.

What makes carbon fiber so amazing is its balance between strength, weight and rigidity.

In comparison to steel, it is stronger, more rigid and weighs considerably less.Image courtesy of Unger

First Impressions In Façade Maintenance

These incredible properties make it an attractive proposition for many different sectors, but probably the most well-known is Formula One racing, where it protects drivers thanks to its strength while allowing the cars to go faster because of its lightweight nature.

The opportunities for the motor industry are obvious: By reducing the weight of a car, it will inevitably use less fuel and, therefore, cut emissions and greenhouse gases.

However, carbon fiber is now also being used extensively in many different ways to create many different things — including bicycles, boats, airplanes, loudspeakers, violin bows, buildings and water-fed pole systems.

Smarter Window Cleaning

Using carbon fiber as a component in water-fed poles is a smart move because it delivers exactly what window cleaners want: A lightweight system that doesn’t compromise on rigidity.

These “next generation” poles provide a better balance between weight and rigidity.

Because the poles are lighter, they make the job of a cleaning operative that much easier and more comfortable, putting less strain on their bodies and enabling them to clean swiftly and efficiently.

Image courtesy of UngerThe fact that they are lighter also means that the operative is less likely to get tired as quickly, so they can clean a larger surface area then they could if using a conventional system.

However, just because carbon fiber poles are lightweight it doesn’t mean that they deliver less in terms of rigidity.

Even when extensions are added to increase the length and reach of the system, the poles do not bend or become unwieldy.

On the contrary, rigidity and control is maintained, allowing every corner and crevice to be cleaned thoroughly.

It’s clear that the use of state-of the-art technology and materials is not confined to a few select areas of service and industry.

The professional window cleaning sector is stepping up to the mark and adopting new ways of manufacturing in response to client and market demands.

Only time will tell what innovative new methods we will be using to clean windows in a few years.

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