Robot technology is already in control of the cleaning market


By the end of next year B+N can work with as many as 100 cleaning robots. This year the turnover of B+N Referencia Zrt. may increase by even 10-15%, Csaba Szij, Deputy CEO of the cleaning company generating a 23.27-bn forint revenue and a 2.74-bn forint profit last year, said to Világgazdaság. Since in this sector labour shortage appeared 5 or 6 years earlier than in other sectors, in 2017 B+N chose to escape forward. In order to supplement the work of its 4500-strong staff, in the past two years B+N has invested hundreds of millions of forints into developing its own cleaning robot. The first 20 pieces will start their operation this year already, they will be in service at 2 facilities of Honvédkórház (at Róbert Károly Boulevard and Podmaniczky Street), Groupama Aréna and Budapest Airport.

According to Csaba Szij, by the end of next year they would work with 100 robots, however, their commercial distribution is not yet on agenda. The Hungarian development is supported by Italian production capacities, the management, loading and checking of the robot called Robin is expected to take up a maximum of 20-30% of the operating crew’s work time, which will result in increased efficiency. This is crucial because according to surveys, with the facility management sector included, we are talking about a  1500-billion forint market, out of which only cleaning technology activities themselves amount to 800 billion forints. However, despite the sheer size of the market, cleaning is still not a well-appreciated activity, in spite of the fact that it is a vocation requiring industry-specific knowledge, for example related to chemicals. According to the deputy CEO, the average age of the labour force is over 58 years, about 70% of the workers are women and the staff can be retained only through continuous pay rise.

As B+N’s head of Research and Development Péter Zalka emphasized: ‘The aim of the development was not to replace the entire workforce but to support human labour.’ The Hungarian developed cleaning robots can clean 1500 m2 per shift, an electric charge is enough for 3 hours of operation and a water reload is enough for 1 hour of operation. Altogether B+N Referencia Zrt. provides facility management, cleaning and gardening services in over 5 million m2, in 2600 premises, wrote