The Coronavirus Crisis, Deep Cleaning, and 3D Printing

By on April 17th, 2020 in Ideas

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Tennant’s Micro-Rider Floor Scrubber [Source:  Tennant ]

Tennant’s Micro-Rider Floor Scrubber [Source: Tennant]

Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi dive into deep cleaning and the place of 3D printing therein.

Every workday millions of non-home workers spend the hours between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM performing their occupational tasks in an office they often share with other coworkers. After they leave for the day legions of cleaning workers commence their occupational tasks, cleaning the building. Commercial cleaning involves a wide range of specialized machines and equipment provided by leading companies such as Tennant, Nilfisk/Advance, Tornado and Ecolab.

Commercial cleaning equipment typically includes vacuuming and shampooing machinery for carpets, scrubbing and polishing machines for floors, and soap-dispensing systems for both bathrooms and building cleaning applications. All of the necessary machines and equipment require assembly of subcomponents, many of which require regular replacement.

“Wash your hands and clean surfaces often,” is what we have been hearing about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During the COVID-19 crisis, Chris Killingstad, the President and CEO of Tennant, issued a notice to a concerned cleaning community that he remained confident they could continue to secure the needed parts consistently. With 3D printing capabilities, all such firms could improve their ongoing equipment design capability and better ensure the availability of necessary assembly and replacement parts.

Deep Cleaning

Tornado’s Pac-Vac 6 Roam [Source:  Tornado ]

Tornado’s Pac-Vac 6 Roam [Source: Tornado]

During the coronavirus crisis, a new term has entered increasingly into the vernacular – “Deep Cleaning”. Although it isn’t clear technically what that term specifically means, whether it includes more comprehensive or more frequent cleaning, this new level of cleaning “intensity” is going to require improved equipment and more replacement parts. 3D printing can play an important role in satisfying both needs.

Cleaning Labor Demand and Employment

Cleaning is labor-intensive and the work is demanding.

Our firm represents two major cleaning firms that have traditionally found it very difficult to attract and retain employees despite good compensation and full benefit packages. The current unemployment situation should provide a good source of new workers for this burgeoning industry.

R&D tax credits are available for new and improved cleaning equipment and component parts.

EcoLab’s Quaternary Disinfectant Wipes [Source:  EcoLab ]

EcoLab’s Quaternary Disinfectant Wipes [Source: EcoLab]

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the now permanent Federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit that typically ranges from 4%-7% of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • Must be technological in nature

  • Must be a component of the taxpayer’s business

  • Must represent R&D in the experimental sense and generally includes all such costs related to the development or improvement of a product or process

  • Must eliminate uncertainty through a process of experimentation that considers one or more alternatives

Eligible costs include US employee wages, cost of supplies consumed in the R&D process, cost of pre-production testing, US contract research expenses, and certain costs associated with developing a patent.

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the PATH Act, making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit has been used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax for companies with revenue below $50MM, and startup businesses can obtain up to $250,000 per year in cash rebates applied directly toward payroll taxes.


Now more than ever we are all more focused on cleaning. 3D printing product and service providers should consider more participation in this now critically important industry. Let’s help clean up COVID-19, for good.

By Charles Goulding

Charles Goulding is the Founder and President of R&D Tax Savers, a New York-based firm dedicated to providing clients with quality R&D tax credits available to them. 3D printing carries business implications for companies working in the industry, for which R&D tax credits may be applicable.

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