Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

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Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby medic427 » October 25th, 2011, 8:37 pm

It has been a long time since I posted. Mainly unfortunately because I have been busy with other things and not much to contribute in the way of new ideas. That is until now. I wanted to post after I had the great experience of using a steam cleaner. A professional version from Walmart. The unit is 93.00 dollars and it even sterilizes. I got the idea after those stupid late night steamer commercials to get a real one. I got a McCoullough and it whacked my whole bathroom's mildew on the sink. Kitchen also. I am only bringing this up to you guys because if you can build this unit at less than 100.00 dollars. I think the replacement for the Mint and all Scooba type robot Vacumns would be a steam cleaning robot version of those. The steam cleaner I just purchased is here. http://goo.gl/pFXb6 The only problem is it draws 1500Watts. I know many of you are retired Engineers or much wiser in the Tech World. You actually have a full background in Electronics theory etc.

I only wanted to bring this up because if any of you guys are inventors or innovators. I think after using over 128.00 in cleaning supplies per month and not denting the Bathroom. The film floor having dirt in between the tiles. No matter how many time I sent Scooba over it. That is my laziness for 1.5 years of just dispatching Scooba. One hit with the Steam and scrubbing for 10 minutes. Then it was over with completely for that dirt. The best part though is that I did not spend any money on any cleaning solution. I think that if you guys from IROBOT are reading this. If you can make a robot steam and scrub. Which IMHO you would give people the cleanest floor ever!

I will always love my Roomba but, this is my last Scooba :).
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mfortuna » October 26th, 2011, 6:58 am

I always though if Irobot or someone else could come up with a way to prevent an AC cord from getting tangled they could develope an AC powered carpet cleaner. I think a cord under constant slight retract could work but the room may have to be prepped prior to a cleaning mission.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby sageman » October 26th, 2011, 12:24 pm

with neatos navigation capibilitys it could be done as neato will know where cord would be and if it would be stuck
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one day many years from now a person will say "right I'll just ROOMBA downstairs" instead of hoover
oh wait I already do :)

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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby roboroomba » January 2nd, 2012, 10:09 am

Here is the topic of a design for one I came up with,

http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14577
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby adama » February 23rd, 2012, 1:03 am

mfortuna wrote:I always though if Irobot or someone else could come up with a way to prevent an AC cord from getting tangled they could develope an AC powered carpet cleaner. Carpet Cleaning Adelaide I think a cord under constant slight retract could work but the room may have to be prepped prior to a cleaning mission.


Any time you get your carpets properly cleaned you have to move all the furniture any way... so nothing new here.
So this begs the question if you have to move all the furniture then wouldn't you just do the steam cleaning manually unless you also had a furniture moving robot.... not likely at this point in time...
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mydavidoff » May 30th, 2015, 4:26 pm

I registered extra for this thread which is the only one sensible when you search for "steam cleaning robot" on google:

I've been searching for a steam cleaning robot (say, based on the successful Roomba) for months, but all that seems to be out there are mediocre "sweep and swiff the dirt all over the place" Braava-type and Scooba-type robots with their significant flaws (in my experience, common sense). I've even contacted various robot companies, incl iRobot, why they don't have one for sale. All to no avail.

So, in case one of you "entrepreneur type engineers" see this post, maybe you can consider the following input and then reply if you feel you or someone else can do it. My concept is different to the one linked in this thread (but I haven't made a graphic):

1) It would be fricking simple! Eg take the chassis and navigation logic of a newer Roomba model, or straight the Scooba as base.
2) If you didn't take the Scooba, add a 500 ml water tank and heater unit from an off-the-shelf cooking steamer which is flat enough to fit in the chassis.
3) If you didn't take the Roomba, add the brush, or better, one similar to the existing one.
4) About 1 cm before the brush, build an exit for steam to come out: a long narrow slit, not a round fuel-tank-like exit.
5) About 1 cm behind add a role/drum/cylinder, and 1 cm or so behind this, another role/drum/cylinder.
6) Buy a roll of antistatic cleaning towel, and have it roll from the front drum to the rear drum in a controlled fashion (later: speed-adjusted based on detected dirt level or based on user selection for the room to be cleaned).

That's it already! Simple in concept, and simple in implementation when you compare it to the complexity of the Scooba!

So, our steam-cleaning "Streema" would move forward using the existing Roomba logic and navigation (incl return to charge base):
- Each new floor meter would first be "hit" by a stream of steam, the hot vapor loosens dirt (as normal in steam cleaners)
- then it would be "hit" by a hard, nopped rubber brush that rotates say 500 times/min, like the brush on the newer Roomba. That power brushing does the rest of loosening tough dirt.
- then it would be "hit" by a slim "band" of cleaning towel (no more than 1 cm at a time, I'd suggest, the slimmer the better). This cleaning towel wipes off all the loosened dirt - like in every manual household steamer.
- However, the fact that the "endless" cleaning towel roll is electrically moved from the front drum to the rear drum, you always gonna clean with a clean piece of towel!

In a robot, this last idea is important: When you manually steam-clean you change or wash out the towel after a small area, or you're dirtying the rest of the room with the dirty towel, right? So, when we let a robot do the cleaning, who's going to change or wash out the towel during cleaning?

No one. Hence the critical idea with the "endless" towel roll. Think of those hand-drying towel containers you find in some restaurants etc, where you turn a wheel to get a clean new part of the towel for yourself. Here, we'll just do it automatically. As said, later maybe even based on user's choice, or per dirt detection (similar to Roomba).

*************

So, who wants to build me this simple steam cleaning robot?
You just got a HUGE business idea - if you're the right "entrepreneur type engineer"?
(If you aren't, this was your today's entertainment)

I can guarantee that EVEN IF at some point iRobot offer a steam cleaning robot, it won't be as clean and advanced as what I have in mind. And not as simple to maintain and as cheap to produce: change towel roll when all moved to rear cylinder, and add water for steam. Oh!

Replies welcome.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby robocleaner » May 30th, 2015, 5:38 pm

The problem remains as to how you're going to carry/generate enough energy to boil the water that makes the steam. Batteries of any current type just aren't going to cut it.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mydavidoff » May 31st, 2015, 1:14 pm

Thanks for your reply - oddly I haven't been notified of it by the forum...

Energy, yes good point! Do you know more, how much energy is required to produce steam? For 20 min please (even manual steam cleaners can't do it longer).

If you tell me how much energy it needs, I may be able to say how to get it :mrgreen:
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mydavidoff » May 31st, 2015, 5:12 pm

The absence of a robot steam cleaner on the market, and our need for one, made me look further into quick solutions.

In short:

- Use sth like this for navigation: http://store.irobot.com/irobot-roomba-8 ... d=28516906

- And sth like this for steam cleaning: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001LYFBHG

- And this as ONE site to find a solution how to produce steam pressure on the go: http://batteryuniversity.com/

Just note that you don't necessarily need to use electricity to produce steam ...

:cheers:
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby robocleaner » May 31st, 2015, 7:13 pm

The OP suggested 1500 watts, so broadly speaking, in battery terms, assuming 10 mins for the water to boil and 20 mins running time, that’s 1500wh/14.4v=104Ah/2=52Ah. That means you would need the equivalent of 15 conventional 3500mAh Roomba batteries just to generate the steam. Those batteries alone weigh roughly 11kg, so you’d need a good few more batteries just to move this colossal white elephant around...

What alternative power source did you have in mind?
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mfortuna » June 1st, 2015, 6:58 am

Propane or Butane is a possibility but there is the issue with CO and safety systems to shut off the flame.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby robocleaner » June 1st, 2015, 11:13 am

TBH, the Propane/Butane thought did cross my mind too; it's powerful and cheap to implement, even with safety flame and oxygen depletion cutouts - as RV heaters and cookers readily demonstrate.

And then I thought of a Roomba, with a boiling, pressurized water vessel riding on top... if it didn't explode under pressure (as happened to me with a domestic steam cleaner when the valve outlet blocked with an impurity), it would either be setting fire to your curtains or melting the Roomba beneath.

I really can't see this happening, but lets keep the ideas coming... it's an interesting proposition!
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mydavidoff » June 9th, 2015, 6:47 am

Guys (?) you're not thinking outside the box. We HAVE two steam cleaner units and two steam cooker units, in the year 2015 everything seems to be super safe (in Europe at least, ultra high fines and strict independent checks before going to market). Three of the steam units produce steam within 10 to 15 seconds, the other unit (from 1987!) takes 7 min. Based on my own product concept you DON'T need pressured steam (it would be pressured by the way we use it). Thus simple steam production is sufficient.

All our units run on the mains, true. But based on my information, it certainly is possible to produce steam on the go in a unit as small and flat(!) as the Roomba etc. In fact, I'd love to work with an engineer to create a prototype, although that's not my business at all.

Once you've used a steam-cleaning robot, you'll be thinking of it as "normal" as you're now thinking of vacuuming robots - which, 10 years ago, you couldn't even imagine. That's life.

Anyway, I called up iRobot about it, apparently they don't even have one in the making. Like I posted here elsewhere: iRobot is much BEHIND, in my opinion. All marketing, next to no new innovation. Scooba? A joke! Braava? Spreading dirt around the house. How nice!

Conceptually, to produce Scooba was much more difficult than to produce a "Steeama". My Steeama concept is simple and effective.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mfortuna » June 9th, 2015, 7:45 am

My years old Scooba and Mint (pre-Braava) work fine. The Mint picks up a surprising amount of dust and will touch up a floor nicely in mop mode. It is not going to clean sand or deep stains, that is why I have a roomba and scooba.

BTW, the roomba 880 took first place in a recent Consumer Reports test. That implies they are not that far behind.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby Brett » June 9th, 2015, 9:09 pm

mydavidoff wrote:... Conceptually, to produce Scooba was much more difficult than to produce a "Steeama". My Steeama concept is simple and effective.

You speak like a marketing man that won't listen to his engineers.
"I have the product name sorted, the logo and the marketing campaign... all you guys need to do is invent batteries that deliver 5kWh and weigh less than half a kilo and we are sorted!"
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby robocleaner » June 10th, 2015, 7:43 am

Brett wrote:You speak like a marketing man that won't listen to his engineers.
"I have the product name sorted, the logo and the marketing campaign... all you guys need to do is invent batteries that deliver 5kWh and weigh less than half a kilo and we are sorted!"

LOL. :lol:

mydavidoff wrote:We HAVE two steam cleaner units and two steam cooker units... Three of the steam units produce steam within 10 to 15 seconds...

Which specific brand of product are these that you're thinking of? Steam is simply boiled water, and to boil water that fast requires a huge amount of instantly deliverable energy.

mydavidoff wrote:Based on my own product concept you DON'T need pressured steam (it would be pressured by the way we use it). Thus simple steam production is sufficient.

Pressurised steam is simply boiling water in a closed vessel so that the steam can be ejected in a chosen direction. If you don't pressurise the vessel, the steam simply rises upwards into the atmosphere. But that's just a minor irrelevant technicality to the main issue at hand...

The fundamental problem is as Brett humorously points out; it's the vast amount of portable energy required to boil the water. The quicker you want that water to boil the more energy is required.

I can't see how you intend to carry the vast amount of quickly deliverable energy required in a compact, lightweight, portable format.

That's probably why iRobot dismissed any idea of a steam-cleaning robot before it even left the first brainstorming session.

Perhaps you need to share more of your "product concept" for the rest of us to contribute more effectively? You clearly have this concept already worked out in your head.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby third_deg » June 11th, 2015, 4:55 pm

I've enjoyed reading this thread.... great responses :)

And yes you are absolutely right. Idea was brought up in brainstorming at iRobot.... any random engineer in the room, then walks to the whiteboard jots down a couple of eye popping numbers (showing the power needed just leads to more discussion.... so generally we simply show in $$$$$$ and weight)

Conversation ends, and other solutions are found.

As already mentioned really need wall power. CyPhy (Former co-founder of iRobot's startup... Helen Grenier) has a micro-filament that she uses for tethered drones that would actually work very nicely when combined with nav.

Unfortunately the so thin you can barely see it wire would lead to lots of tripping lawsuits I'd have to imagine, plus breaking the filament, or the connectors attached to it, etc etc...

Again, I enjoyed reading because we at least covered in broad strokes all of your ideas at some point (Including butane)... So I always like to see smart people like all of you in the forum discuss.

Always required inventing something outside of what the company actually does.... makes it hard.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby mfortuna » June 21st, 2015, 11:28 am

The answer to this is years away but I believe someday fusion will be perfected and eventually miniaturized. There is already talk of trunk sized fusion reactors. Once those are perfected then they will shrink in size, perhaps enough to be used in household robots.

I worked with this really brilliant radio telescope PHD at MIT when I contracted there last year. We discussed fusion and he mentioned what is interesting is fusion development is tracking compute power development. Eventually computers will be powerful enough to solve the details. But of course, shortly after they may take over the world.
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby rchou » December 15th, 2017, 6:17 am

it's nearly 2018. no steamrobot yet in these 8yrs?

a tip on power, let it reach boil and first steam on AC mains, then it can go running around on battery. that's over 2/3rds less battery power required, roughly speaking. even better, it can have a separate steam chest after the boiler like was common on steam engines to maintain constant steam pressure in accelerations, uphill or idling; this way more steam can be pre prepared on mains itself. or it can go back to mains in 5minutes, still better than nothing. am pained no one even prototyped it yet.

got 2 this year, bissel for kitchen & karcher 2kW for heavy duty. had i come across medic427 back in 2010, my mum would have departed much later. old house dust, grease, pests, parasites are a heavy load on ground floor open homes. i would'nt be surprised it affects the minds of many many retired folks in suburbia too, periodically. spider neurons can talk too while you're sleeping, i guess.

2 cents,
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Re: Steam Cleaners are the next step in cleaning Robots.

Postby Brett » December 15th, 2017, 8:19 am

I think you misunderstand the physics. You can indeed pre-heat(boil) the water beforehand, but it is no good simply wondering around keeping a small quantity of water on the boil - the steam is an energy transfer mechanism. The apparent cleaning is from the blast of heat energy as a sustained blast of steam condenses on the target surface. That energy stream is simply inconceivable even with battery tech envisaged in the next few years. It's going to take battery tech two orders of magnitude better/smaller/more powerful to have a chance.

This is quite apart from the other questions as to the suitability/desirability/appropriateness of the idea - is steam cleaning something that should be done that regularly?
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