With around 250,000 square meters of glass surfaces, many of which are located in difficult-to-access areas, Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport places the highest demands on window cleaning pros. The fact that the cleaning must be completed in short timeframes due to the large volume of passengers makes their job even more complicated. In order to quickly and effectively bring the shine back to the airport despite these complex requirements, the responsible cleaning company GCS Gesellschaft für Cleaning Service mbH & Co. Airport Frankfurt/ Main KG has recently been using a new cleaning tool – and with plenty of success: Stingray by UNGER.
Frankfurt Airport is one of the biggest in Europe. With a total surface area of 20 square kilometers, it is regarded as an independent district of the city on the Main. More than 60 million passengers use the airport each year.
The two main terminals are highly frequented. Between 160,000 and 200,000 passengers pass through the terminals on a daily basis. In recent years, the older and bigger Terminal 1 has undergone a myriad of modernizations and now has a brand new boarding gate. The many huge glass surfaces are the architectural highlight of the terminal.
Due to the permanent environmental influences, the glass is exposed to extreme levels of contamination. It is also touched by many people on a daily basis, something which results in unsightly fingerprints.
Regular and thorough cleaning is important in order to keep the terminal in an impeccable and presentable condition, on the one hand, and to guarantee a clear view to the outside, on the other. Klaus Ewig, head of the window and façade cleaning department at GCS, explains that the job poses many challenges to the professionals: “We clean the glass up to three times per week and work continuously for eight hours each time. Since people are gathered in the terminal at virtually all times, our timeframes are, as you may expect, short. What’s more, many of the glass surfaces, such as those on conveyor belts and doors, are extremely difficult to access. We are often confronted with significant problems if we attempt to use traditional cleaning tools, such as squeegees, washers, chamois etc.”
According to Ewig, cleaning the approximately 250,000 square meters of glass requires a great deal of time and effort: “That’s why we made the move towards the Stingray system by the window cleaning specialist UNGER – mainly for removing fingerprints but also for cleaning mirrors and indoor windows. We were impressed by the numerous benefits of the system at the 2015 CMS Berlin trade fair. We currently use up to 20 UNGER Stingrays.”
Thanks to the innovative indoor window cleaning system, spraying and cleaning can be completed in just one working step and the window and the frame can be cleaned at the same time with the microfiber TriPad. An embedded spraying system ensures that the cleaning fluid does not drip. This guarantees that there is no need for extensive reworking. Users can clean the glass surfaces much faster – by up to 25 percent, as a study has confirmed.* “Given the huge amounts of glass surfaces that we have to clean in Terminal 1, that is an enormous economic advantage for us”, adds Ewig.
Another crucial factor in the decision to make the move towards Stingray was the extremely comfortable and flexible use, as Ewig reveals: “Many of the glass surfaces in Terminal 1 are difficult to access. They are either located at great heights or are obstructed by objects, such as seats and luggage. Thanks to the extendable modular pole system of UNGER Stingray, we are now able to reach heights of up to four meters and to access all areas without having to move awkwardly around bulky objects. It is no longer necessary to use tools, such as ladders – something which is also a safety bonus.”
The ergonomic product design provides additional value added when it comes to working comfort. Thanks to the triangular form of the microfiber TriPad, users can reach the corners of glass surfaces much more easily than before. The triangular poles also sit perfectly in the hand, make maneuvering much more comfortable and guarantee that they can be used with both hands – for safe and fatigue-free working. The physical strain is spread equally across both shoulders and arm areas. Muscle strains caused by working too much on one side, for example when using a cloth and a spray bottle, are avoided. “Even glass surfaces on conveyor belts or doors – the cleaning of which would normally require endless bending down – can be cleaned with Stingray without any great strain”, adds Ewig and goes on to explain: “We are always looking for ways in which we can improve our working ergonomics in order to avoid staff shortages (and extra costs).”
Frankfurt Airport is a pulsating small city that never sleeps. People are gathered in Terminal 1 at almost all times. When completing their work, window cleaners must not only be considerate when dealing with passengers, but also guarantee that they are not at any risk from the cleaning chemicals. “Using UNGER Stingray offers tremendous advantages when it comes to health protection and occupational safety”, continues Ewig. “The pouch containing the cleaning solution is located in the device. An embedded, shielded spraying mechanism reliably protects both the user and people in the vicinity from inhaling the spray mist.”
“When deciding to make the move to a new cleaning tool, it was important that our employees could immediately understand the product and its operation. That was definitely the case with UNGER Stingray”, says Ewig. The refill pouch with the extremely efficient cleaning agent can be replaced in a matter of seconds and is immediately ready to use. The spraying system is batterypowered and can be simply triggered by pressing the activation button on the pole.
Stingray not only brings the shine back to glass surfaces; it is also possible to use the system to professionally clean other materials, such as stainless steel, as the experts at GCS have impressively demonstrated at Frankfurt Airport: “We use Stingray to clean the surfaces in elevators, amongst other things. Of course, that is not the actual core area of application of Stingray, but even stainless steel can be effectively cleaned with the cleaning tool”, concludes Ewig.
*Compared to traditional cleaning methods with a spray and a cloth (Source: “Indoor Window Cleaning Time and Consumer Survey”, 16.07.15, Sabine R. Mück, Hygiene Consult Mück)