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Facade cleaning robot makes its way to UAE

by Devina Divecha on Jan 27, 2013

The Gekko in action at the World Future Energy Summit.
The Gekko in action at the World Future Energy Summit.

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A Swiss firm that produces mobile robot systems called Gekko, showcased its wares at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

These products can be used to clean solar panels as well as building façades. The Gekko Solar specialises in solar panels, the Solar Farm robot is used for solar plants and can clean up to 3,000 square metres per hour, and the Gekko Façade is for buildings with glass and stone surfaces. It climbs using suction cups, while cleaning the surface with its brush.

In an interview with fmME, Marcel Niederberger, head of sales and marketing, Serbot, said whether for solar panels or buildings, the robots operate on the same principle.

The façade cleaning robot is able to work on horizontal surfaces as well. While the robots that work on solar panels are now ready for commercial use, the building façade cleaner is undergoing final tests before being released to the market.

The robots are suited for any size of property or business, Niederberger said. He added: "We also have small-scale customers – cleaning companies who invest in these. Then they have a lot of customers where they go from one roof to the other."

While it currently needs to be controlled by a human through wireless remote control, Serbot is looking at making it completely automated in the future. "There are sensors around the robot, so it cannot fall off the roof. But we’re thinking about how to make it a fully automated solution. Because really, with high-rise buildings it makes sense to have a fully automated robot, but this is still being developed," revealed Niederberger.

He added the robot works in difficult cleaning situations, making it ideal for the region. "There are many buildings in this area where you have fantastic architecture, but nobody thinks about cleaning. There are areas where you don’t have access to the building through conventional methods – this is where the robot really makes a difference."

The Gekkos also have a very low water consumption cleaning technique, making it a sustainable offering from the company.