Last year in Las Vegas, we asked people who came by our ISSA booth, “Why ProTeam?” Some answers were hilarious, like, "The decibels are so low, my German Shepherd doesn't bark" from Perry Shimanoff of Cleaning Consultant Services. Some answers were practical, like from Joanna Palumbo from Signature Cleaning Services, who told us, “I wanted a vacuum that wasn't going to break every several months.” (Check out the gallery at the end of the blog for more.)
This year, we have two new innovations for ISSA attendees: the new ProGen upright and the new GoFree Flex Pro cordless backpack. The ProGen’s easy maintenance and ergonomic design will improve upright cleaning while its HEPA-filtration captures harmful particles. The GoFree Flex Pro is the next in our line of cordless innovations - a lighter weight battery-powered backpack vacuum with longer runtime for even better productivity.
On the other fronts of cleaning, there are also exciting developments to make cleaning pros lives easier. There is software for managing the systematized cleaning program Team Cleaning, there is a new restroom cart system designed by janitors, and there are no-touch cleaning systems for a more hygienic clean than ever before. These types of innovations elevate our industry and bring it greater professionalism and respect.
When you visit the ProTeam booth at ISSA in Orlando next week, we want to hear what innovation means to you. What innovation has made your life easier, made you more efficient, or changed your cleaning forever? We will post your answer online so others can learn from your experience. When we share our knowledge, the whole industry gets better. Visit us at ISSA booth #701 November 5-7, and join the conversation about innovation.
ProTeam, the company internationally recognized for innovative vacuum technology, is featured in an educational video developed by ManageMen for the United States Postal Service (USPS). The video, “Polluting vs. Cleaning: The USPS Team Cleaning Pilot”, won a Bronze Telly Award in the category of Employee Communications from the 35th Annual Telly Awards Competition based in New York, N.Y.
USPS hired ManageMen in 2012 to evaluate their nationwide cleaning program using a sampling of 10 different sites. Based on their findings, ManageMen recommended that USPS adopt a team cleaning approach. “Polluting vs. Cleaning: The USPS Team Cleaning Pilot” is a before and after snapshot of the current nationwide transition to a team cleaning system.
“ProTeam products are a perfect match for team cleaning programs because of their efficient removal of health-harming pollutants from the indoor environment,” said ProTeam Vice President of Sales Rich Steinberg. “This video will be a valuable educational tool to teach USPS custodians the importance of cleaning for health.”
The Telly Awards was founded in 1978 and is today the premier award honoring excellence in local, regional and cable TV commercials. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.
ManageMen also won a second Bronze Telly Award for their video “How to be a Restroom Specialist” in the category Training for Corporate Use.
Q7: Is protecting cleaners another one of your goals with this upright?
A7: Yes. It’s just the right thing to do, both morally and financially. Cleaning professionals often suffer work-related injuries, and those injuries end up costing business owners a lot of money. It is a sad and unnecessary trend in our industry that we are working to change by designing vacuums with improved ergonomics.
Q8: What about the new upright is ergonomic?
A8: The contact point for an upright vacuum is the handle, so the handle of the ProGen is lighter than our previous model and fits the hand well to help reduce fatigue. It also has large rubberized wheels, so it maneuvers easily and smoothly. A couple months ago we were in Chicago with our sales team playing around with the ProGen and several units from other manufacturers, and we were amazed at how different the ProGen felt. Turning, going over thresholds, and cleaning under furniture were all surprisingly easy and didn’t take much effort. There are also small details that each make this vac a little more user-friendly. The cord stores in the front, and it has a low center of gravity to reduce tipping over. The powerhead has LED headlamps to light up the cleaning path in dark places. We listened to what our customers told us they want from an upright, and we innovated brand new features to try to raise the bar for upright technology.
Q9: It sounds like this vacuum is ready to be tested in the real world.
A9: It is. We have invested significant time and resources in developing the 12- and 15-inch ProGen uprights. The Carpet and Rug Institute gave it their Silver Level Seal of Approval, so we know that the soil removal, dust containment, and surface appearance change are up to high standards. Now we are excited to get them out in the field see what cleaning pros think.
ProTeam introduces the battery-powered GoFree Flex Pro backpack vacuum with longer runtime and lighter weight. Offering the same cordless freedom, the GoFree Flex Pro is 14 percent lighter than it predecessor, improving user comfort. Due to a more efficient motor, runtime is increased to approximately one hour with only 2.5 hours to bring battery back to full charge. Battery maintains 80% life after up to 800 charge cycles. The FlexFit articulating harness creates a secure, body-friendly fit, increasing range of motion and reducing fatigue. The new triangular shape stays balanced, keeping the center of gravity close and making the vacuum feel more like an extension of the body. Four Level Filtration w/HEPA captures 99.97 percent of particulates 0.3 microns or larger, including fine carbon dust from the motor, for improved IAQ. The GoFree Flex Pro includes a two-year warranty on the motor, battery and charger, three-year warranty on parts and labor, limited lifetime on molded body parts. Visit www.proteamnextgen.com.
ProTeam, the company internationally recognized for innovative vacuum technology, introduces an upgrade in cordless efficiency, the lighter-weight GoFree Flex Pro backpack vacuum with longer battery-life.
“In the coming years, the cleaning industry will continue to turn to cordless equipment to improve efficiency,” said ProTeam President and CEO Matt Wood. “We plan to be on the forefront, using the latest battery-powered technology to help our users save time and money.”
In field tests, ProTeam’s last cordless backpack, the GoFree Pro, saved one to 1.5 hours off a four-hour vacuuming shift. These efficiency gains were due to the freedom of being unrestricted by a cord and the elimination of cord management tasks. Offering the same cordless freedom, the GoFree Flex Pro is 14 percent lighter than its predecessor, improving user comfort. Due to a more efficient motor, its runtime is increased to approximately one hour.
“We want to make sure our GoFree Pro users benefit from the longer runtime and lighter weight of the GoFree Flex Pro, so we are also offering a motor upgrade,” said ProTeam Director of Marketing Jacalyn High. “With the more efficient motor, GoFree Pro users can improve their existing units.”
The FlexFit articulating harness creates a secure, body-friendly fit, increasing range of motion and reducing fatigue. Four Level® Filtration w/HEPA captures 99.97 percent of particulates 0.3 microns or larger, including fine carbon dust from the motor, for improved IAQ.
Try the GoFree Flex Pro and the new ProGen upright vacuum at ISSA Orlando 2014, booth #701. Learn more at www.proteamnextgen.com.
Q5: How are those repair times so short?
A5: We designed the brush roll to remove with the push of a button, no tools needed. There are also four access points to check for and remove blockages without tools. We wanted to eliminate the extra steps of finding the tools and looking up how to do it, so repair is very intuitive. An animated dashboard warns the user if there is a brush roller jam, blockage, or full filter, and the motor will automatically shut off if those warnings are ignored to prevent actual damage. It reduces the guesswork, so cleaning pros can focus on cleaning.
Q6: Then let’s focus on cleaning next. What can a cleaning pro expect when using the new ProGen?
A6: Expect the high-performance two-stage motor to create powerful suction and clean, not only the flooring, but also the air. Indoor air quality is very important to us, because it affects everything from a customer’s perception of a business to the productivity of the people who work there. The ProGen has dual post-motor HEPA media filters, capable of capturing up to 99.97 percent of allergens and asthma triggers down to 0.3 microns in size, protecting cleaners and building occupants alike.
Q3: Then you must have a reason to believe it will last.
A3: Many reasons to believe it will last. What we wanted the vacuum to do in the field, we tested for extensively in the laboratory. This means that latches, hinges, switches, and filters were put through many cycles of tests. Our engineers even set up the ProGen to vacuum a strip of carpet back and forth over and over again for hundreds of hours to simulate typical use. Additionally we placed 30 test units in the field for customers acceptance and suggestions for improvements prior to production.
Q4: So after all those tests, what can you say about the durability of the ProGen?
A4: I can say that it will withstand heavy-duty wear and tear, because of its high-impact molded plastic body. The units we tested ran an average of 800 hours between motor brush replacements. When it does need maintenance, as all vacs do, the maintenance is often fast and easy. For example, the design of the units allow for quick access to clogs, quick change of the power cord and brush roll removal and replacement can usually be done in a matter of minutes without tools.
Q1: ProTeam has been well known for lightweight backpack vacuums since inventing the first one in the mid-‘80s. After you are already famous for backpacks, how do you release an upright vacuum to the market?
A1: That’s a great question. When we approached the creation of a new upright, we knew that, first and foremost, it would be a ProTeam vacuum. Even though designing an upright is completely different than designing a backpack, if it says ProTeam, right away you know three things - it is going to be durable and built to last, it is going to remove fine particulate matter consistent with our “Clean for Health” slogan, and it is going to have the innovative design and technology to make cleaning pros lives easier. That’s why we’re in this business.
Q2: So tell me about the durability of this unit. How did you assure that your customers would get a return on their investment?
A2: We wanted to create an upright that may represent a slightly higher investment up-front, but provides years of reliable performance. ProTeam stands behind the durability of our products by providing a three-year limited warranty with the ProGen unit.
Ruben Rives is the owner and founder of H2Only Renewable Cleaning, a contract cleaning company dedicated to using only safe, effective, and sustainable methods. He has pioneered a chemical-free approach to cleaning in efforts to create a healthier indoor environment. This goes hand-in-hand with using ProTeam backpack vacuums to reduce dust and improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
“Dust is the mode of transport for bacteria,” said Rives. “So if you have less dust, the bacteria have no taxicabs to spread around the school.”
Rives’s staff cleans 20 facilities in the Southeast United States. Most of them are schools. Rives says that in settings with students pre-k to second grade, vacuuming is all the more crucial, because students spend much of their time working and playing on the floor.
Rives was introduced to backpack vacuums two years ago by cleaning consultant Rex Morrison who specializes in school environments. Previously, he used upright vacuums for carpeting and brooms for hard flooring. When his staff swept hard floors, he noticed they were doing more harm than good.
“If you use a broom, you’re not really picking up anything. You are just sweeping it into the air, and it’s going to settle later,” said Rives. “With the backpack, you pick up more dirt and dust faster. It’s very important that you pick up more dust because of allergies.”
ProTeam backpacks capture and contain dust in four levels of filters. Each filter captures different sized particles of pollen, bacteria, mold, and other impurities. The air that exits the vacuum exhaust has been purged of 99.97 percent of allergens and asthma triggers 0.3 microns or larger, leaving behind healthier air.
According to the EPA, environmental hazards pose a greater risk to children because their bodies are still developing. Due to their vulnerability, insufficient cleaning can cause serious health problems. Many scientific studies have linked IAQ to student health, academic performance, and attendance.
“We contribute to less absenteeism,” said Rives. “We contribute to healthier kids.”
For Rives, it all comes down to health - the health of the building, the health of the students and faculty who occupy it, and the health of his staff as they clean.
“ProTeam backpacks are easier to manage,” said Rives. “They are more ergonomic, so there is less strain for the people who wear them.”
Learn more about Rives’s approach to cleaning at www.h2onlyrenewablecleaning.com.