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|  In PractIce  |  Facade cleaning A mobile autonomous unit, complete with generator, water supply and A special high-pressure fan nozzle delivers up to 100 percent more impact lances. Photos: Waterkracht than conventional nozzles. Environmentally responsible graffiti removal and facade cleaning no match for boiling hot water One service provider was looking for an environmentally friendly way to remove graffiti and clean facades. His search took him to the Netherlands where he found an innovative and surprisingly effective solution. R&W Gebäudereinigung is a family-run building cleaning able solutions. “The products we use have to reflect our attitude business based in Ahlen, just east of Dortmund in Westphalia. and what we want is to make our work as environment-friendly Established in 1969 by Friedrich Obring, the company is now as possible and give back to nature. That is why we avoid using run by Jan Wolfs (30), the founder’s grandson, who took over last chemicals where we can,” Jan Wolfs emphasizes. An innovation year. R&W has made a considerable impact on the local cleaning by Dutch company Waterkracht helped the Ahlen-based company industry and is solidly anchored in the local business community. fulfill this ambition: The all-new Colorado 350 pressure cleaner Wolf intends to maintain the momentum: “Sustained, healthy removes graffiti by means of a patented boiling hot water handling market growth,” is how he defines his goal for the coming years. technology, which is based on applying boiling hot, clear water at He intends to achieve this by focusing not only on the existing a pressure of up to 500 bar (over 7,250 psi). core activities, i.e. maintenance, glass window and facade clean- R&W had tested other approaches before ultimately settling on ing, floor stripping, winter servicing, and janitorial services, but good old boiling hot water. Dry-ice blasting initially seemed prom- also by covering additional market niches. Graffiti removal is one ising, delivering satisfactory results with relatively little residue. and it is becoming increasingly challenging: “Paints and coat- Procurement and storage of dry ice, however, created other chal- ing manufacturers are more and more creative, too, and coming lenges. Sand-blasting also proved to be an effective method, but it up with good protection solutions,” owner-manager Jan Wolfs came with a tendency to damage surfaces.“Damage to the surfaces explains. to be cleaned is not something we want,” Wolfs emphasizes. “And the acquisition costs are quite high. You need a compressor, which Getting rid of graffiti the sustainable way by itself costs as much as a pressure cleaner.” The Dutch system Public buildings, bridges, noise barriers, bus stops – so many offered a compelling overall package: Short set-up times and great places covered in graffiti. In most cases it is an eye sore that dis- cleaning results, without any risk of damage or need for chemical figures the host structure, and many communities wish to get rid cleaning agents. This was especially important to R&W. “Not only of them. Initially, R&W resorted to cleaning chemicals for their from our green point of view, but also in terms of execution. The removal, all the while keeping their feelers out for more sustain- chemicals must be reclaimed; you need to precisely account for 56 GLOBAL CLEANING | ISSUE 2016


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