February 12, 2024

West Michigan Store Using Robots to Clean Floors

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A convenience store and gas station company based in West Michigan is getting help from a robot to keep the floors clean.  

J & H Family Stores has more than 10 robots being used to assist employees with cleaning.

Keith Davison and other customers at the Coopersville location are starting to get used to seeing the robot moving around the store.

floor cleaning robot cleans convenience store gas station floors

“I have been in here a couple times and I’ve seen it. It’s pretty wild,” Davison said. “I don’t really think it phases many people they just, it’s just there going around doing its thing.”

The Cobi 18 robot, nicknamed WALL-E at the location, has been cleaning the floors since it opened more than a year ago.

The robot is equipped with sensors and can navigate around customers and objects, according to Zachary Thorne who works in maintenance at the Coopersville store.

"He’ll make his own way through the aisles and whatnot. He’ll stop for people. Just makes it a lot simpler than sitting here mopping having to move out of the way for customers. It’s just a lot more efficient,” Thorne said.

J & H has more than 10 robots now working in its store.

“With him out doing the floors, other employees have time to focus on basically anything else whether that’s helping customers or cleaning up the drink area, bathrooms,” Thorne said.  

The U.S. Headquarters of ICE Cobotics, the manufacturer of the device, is in Zeeland.

Mike DeBoer, the president of the company, is seeing growing interest in the technology.

“In 2021 we started developing the Cobi 18,” DeBoer said.

“It can do sweeping and scrubbing in a single pass and it also has the capability of doing dust mopping if you want it to.”

An employee needs to plug in the robot to charge and change the tanks but the device handles the rest.

“These locations like this truck stop application. They’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they have heavy foot traffic so it’s really difficult to keep up with the soil load.” DeBoer said.

The company said the device helps with the repetitive task of cleaning, especially at a time when workers can be hard to find.  

“Cobi just helps out here to help the team and make a contribution,” DeBoer said. 

You can read the original article here.

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