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Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport Invests in Cleaning Robots for Maintenance

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Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport Invests in Cleaning Robots for Maintenance

The arrival of 12.2 million passengers in 2023 at the facilities of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMM) prompted the acquisition of three robots with artificial intelligence to the cleaning team, which have the capacity to clean one million square feet of floor and thus maintain facilities in optimal conditions.

Aerostar Puerto Rico, the company that operates the airport, purchased three Nilfisk 500 models, designed by the Thoro Al company, at a cost of $220,000. The president of Aerostar, Jorge Hernández indicated that “the investment is added to the $7.2 million budgeted for cleaning work this year, which represents an increase of $1.4 million compared to 2023 when $5.8 million was budgeted for these purposes.”

The Executive explained that Aerostar has invested close to $47 million in cleaning and maintenance since 2013. The arrival of 12.2 million passengers last year, which according to the above represents 1.2 million more visitors compared to 2022, forces them to “strengthen the daily cleaning tasks and care of the white and blue floors, which characterize the facilities”.

For his part, Nelman Nevárez, Director of Operations at the airport, highlighted that the acquisition of this equipment does not replace human personnel. “We have had to look for advanced technology alternatives like this, which help us in this case to improve the areas and keep them clean and presentable for all our clients. It allows us to free up the resources we use in other areas, employees carry out deep cleaning and robots complement that process. In no way does this replace what human resources are. Human resources will always be needed in these functions,” explained Nevárez, who assured that 110 cleaning employees work at the airport daily.

At the same time, the operations director of the LMM airport mentioned that the Nilfisk 500 robots can sweep, map, clean spills and can act as vacuum cleaners. Likewise, they can work in two ways: autonomously – if programmed – or manually, directed by a person.

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Each robot will have a different route. One of them covers the public area from the hotel to the Jet Blue terminal and also covers the baggage claim area. Another will cover terminals A and B. Meanwhile, the third will clean terminals C and D and the connector between them. Between all the surfaces, there are one million square feet of terrazzo floors, it was reported.

Aerostar assured that the autonomous robots are equipped with an orientation system that uses sensors to determine the places through which they should travel. They even have the ability to avoid humans, they stop if someone touches them, hits them, or climbs on them. Also, they use the mechanism of text messages to the operator to notify any situation, such as if someone interrupts the work if they need water, soap, or if they finish their work.

Nevárez indicated to questions from THE SPOKESMAN that “we do not rule out that we may acquire more in the process because we are expanding and the space as such for cleaning could be greater. So we might acquire a few others in the next few years.”

The manufacturing company’s staff trained the Aerostar team to program the robots’ routes and functions.

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