Chewing gum is one of the major problems when it comes to waste disposal. While some trash can be easily cleaned with a broom or vacuum cleaner, gum is just so much harder to remove since it clings to whatever it gets stuck on. Although it is a small piece of junk, it causes so many nuisances, not to mention people who accidentally steps on it and most especially to janitors and community cleaners who find it hard to clean up gum which has already hardened on the pavement. And not only do you see gum disposed of improperly on the streets, you could also find them in schools, hotels, restaurants, park, and any place imaginable where gum could be dumped. In some cases, gum can be removed with the use of ice, gasoline, etc. However, that only works if it gets stuck on hair, clothing, sofas, carpets, etc. What about those stuck on concrete? Regular scrubbing will not do any good. Since pavements are abrasive, the gum just clings to it more, making it really difficult to extract. So, you end up with really dirty looking streets. There aren’t any laws either which makes throwing chewing gum on the road illegal. And because of that, people don’t practice the proper disposal of gums. And, the longer the gum sits on the pavement, the harder it is to remove. Not only do the gums look very dirty on the road, it also is a breeding place for bacteria. Those in charge of cleaning the gums on streets will surely have a really hard time taking them out.
After very careful studies on how to effectively remove gums from the pavement, a “Chewing Gum Removing machine” has been conceptualized. Although it wasn’t stated who invented the machine, a lot have already come up with their version of machines to remove gum, each having a unique feature which separates one machine from another. However, despite having their own features, they still have particular features in common. Presently, it isn’t as hard as before to eliminate gums from the pavement.
Concepts Taken in Inventing the Machine
Clearly, a machine will not be invented if the problem has not been studied and researched about thoroughly. A machine could not have been assembled if it had not been taken into deep thoughts. Although as mentioned above, each machine made by different companies have their particular features and edge to make it better than another similar machine. But only one question was put into mind to come up with such machines: “What is the effective way to remove chewing gum on pavements?” The function of each machine revolves around this question, which makes most of them similar in use. And with this in mind, they came up with a machine that could help greatly in cleaning up chewing gums, using very little effort, and most especially, time. More work can be done, and it does not have to take so much of a worker’s energy to finish up the work. He or she would still have enough left for more important work, other than just scraping the floors.
The following would be discussing the basic concepts which have aroused from the problem and question formulated. All of which are the basis of each and every chewing gum removing machine made.
Use of Steam
Everyone knows how hard it is to remove gum. Common scenarios would be on tiles, furniture, clothes, or hair. But then, for these types of situations, it is much easier than those on pavements. Mostly things seen at home can be pretty useful to remove the gum. We are most familiar with removing gums from clothing, which is using ice, which would harden the gum and would then be easy to remove. It also works with gum stuck on the sofa or carpets. Or maybe, solvents can be used too, depending if it will not damage the surface or clothing. All these solutions mostly work with less abrasive surfaces. These scenarios don’t need much effort to remove gum. Even without much scraping, it would be easily removed. On the other hand, gum on pavement is a totally different situation. Most likely, the gum becomes too hard, which makes it close to impossible to remove. And, at the same time, using solvents could be dangerous if not used properly or not handled with care.
Steam was then preferred to remove the gum. Depending on the type of surface, different pressures and heat of the steam is then incorporated to the equipment. Steam softens and dissolves the gum when it comes in contact (What You Need to Know About Removing Chewing Gum, 2005). Aside from the dissolving power of steam, it also helps in sanitizing the spot where the gum has been, since it eliminates the bacteria as you clean.
With this method, it is now easier for janitors to clean areas in the shortest time, allowing them to accomplish more jobs, and not having to spend most of their time on just a few spots of gum found on the pavement. The use of chemicals can also be eliminated, or if not, lessened, which would reduce the risk of unwanted accidents, not to mention the effects it has when it comes to the skin or when the fumes have been inhaled. Vapor from the steam, at the same time, is also environment friendly, since it does not emit any dangerous gases that could have harmful effects on people, animals, and most especially foliage.
Scrubbing is the most traditional and effective way of removing chewing gum on pavements. It is true that you solvents, chemicals, or steam can dissolve the bubble gum, but then, scrubbing is still required, since just dissolving the gum will not do any good. If the gum is not scrubbed right after it softens, it would just harden and you would have to repeat the process all over again. Or worst, you will not even get the chewing gum off the pavement. So, alongside using methods to soften the gum, scrubbing should follow to scrape it off the surface, before it hardens again, and would be impossible to remove if it hardens once again.
Although scrubbing will not take away everything stuck on the pavement. For sure, there would be a spot left, which is very hard to remove with just human strength. And, regular scrubbers wouldn’t be useful, since the bristles are not hard enough to scrape away the gum stuck on the pavement. So, steel brushes are mostly used to do the work more efficiently.
So then, the idea of scrubbing, while softening up the gum, comes into mind. It also saves times, since you will be softening and scrubbing all at the same time. But then, as mentioned, human strength is not enough to remove every bit of gum left. Machine power should be applied, which is why it is one of the concepts used to build the machine. With the help of mechanical power, less effort will be exerted, which would not tire the cleaner much, because we all know how tiring scrubbing can get. And, with the help of mechanical power, more gums can be removed in a shorter period of time.
Thus, softening the gum has been figured out, and scraping them off was also added to the ideas to effectively remove the gum, what’s left is how to take it off the surface for good. Softening up the gum and scrubbing the surface wouldn’t be any good if you don’t extract them permanently from the pavement. If you leave whatever has been scraped off the pavement, again, the gum will just harden over time, and it is as if you put your effort to waste. No matter how many times you try and scrape off the gum from the pavement, leaving them there would just be as if you never scraped it off. No matter how powerful your machine is in scraping, all would just be nothing without taking it off the pavement for good.
The idea of the vacuum was then incorporated. As you soften and scrub, the vacuum then extracts everything that has been scrubbed off, leaving no residue on the pavement, which is very important, since it would not have the chance to harden again. It would be the perfect chance to take out all the gum that has been scraped, since once it has been scrubbed off, the vacuum also works simultaneously to suck all of the softened gum. Again, it would take lesser time then to clean up a single spot, making it possible to clean more gums in a very short period of time.
Creating the Machine
With the said concepts above – steam, scrubbing, and vacuum – they were able to come up with a machine that could possibly do these things all at the same time. This is very possible to do with a machine since machines can do work simultaneously, more than a human can. For a human to complete the cleaning, he would have to do everything step by step. He would start with steaming up the gum first, then scrub, then vacuum. But with the aid of a machine, it wouldn’t be so hard to do everything at the same time.
The machine typically resembles an ordinary vacuum cleaner seen at home. It has a long tube which has steam emitter, vacuum, and scrub. All would work simultaneously to complete the cleaning. Some gum removing machines can have the option of adding solvents in them, which could help greatly in the removal or dissolving of the gum. All of these are placed in the nozzle, so it wouldn’t be necessary to change nozzles for every task to be completed. This is why it is very time-saving, since the machine is doing all the work for you. And time-saving is very important especially if you are cleaning a very busy street, full of people who constantly throw their litter in any place possible. Janitors would need all the time they need to clean as much trash as they can
Generally, the first step to get the bubble gum is to dissolve or soften it up for easier removal. This is where the concept of applying steam is applied. Steam vapor will be applied directly to the gum to soften it up. Although this process can be aided with chemicals that could dissolve the gum easier. But most of the time, it isn’t needed. A spout connected to the nozzle emits the steam vapor on the floor, which then soften ups the gum easily. But then, depending on the surface, the amount of heat or pressure of the water has to be considered. For tiles, anything with pressure above 1500 psi can ruin the grout (Chewing Gum Removal Using Vapor Steam Cleaners). Due to the very high temperature of the heat emitted from the steam vapor, this is mostly done when the crowd isn’t too dense to avoid any injuries.
Right after applying heat to the gum, a scrubber is placed to easily scrub the pavement, even while still applying heat. The scrubber is already mechanically powered, but still can be maneuvered by the operator for more convenience. The scrubbers, mostly used for pavements, are made of steel, since the ordinary scrubbers would not be enough to scrub off the softened gum off the pavement. It is convenient for the scrubber to be placed near the nozzle since it is far from the person operating the machine, making it safer for them to clean. If the scrubber is to be separated and detached from the machine, it would take longer for the janitor to clean. And, he will not be able to simultaneously apply heat on the gum while he scrubs, or else he can get very serious burns. If this was the situation, it would take more time then to clean the gums since you would have to apply heat, and then scrub separately. But, with it connected near the steam emitting nozzle, it would be more time saving, and a lot more chewing gum can be cleaned off the pavements.
First chewing gum removing machines don’t have vacuums installed in them. So, residues of the gum would remain on the pavement, even after cleaning. Leaving the scrubbed gum on the pavement is like you wasted all energy and resources to get the gum off the pavement. No matter how many times you try to remove it, if not removed permanently, then there is no sense in cleaning it further. So, there must be a way for the residue to be off the pavement, permanently.
The concept of vacuum then follows: while the gum is being softened and scrubbed, it would be better if it could get out of the way already. The vacuum can handle the work, but extracting every residue that gets scrubbed off the floor. In this way, the residue is newly scrubbed, free off the floor, and still soft from the continuous steam emitting. There is no reason the residues will not be sucked by the vacuum.
All these concepts, which plays very important roles in the extraction of bubble gum off the pavement is what makes up the machine. For all the machines that exist now, they revolve around these particular concepts. Without these main functions in the machine, it wouldn’t be an effective bubblegum removing machine.
Mostly, these machines are still bulky, although a lot of mechanical industries are creating gum-removing machines in smaller forms, but still giving the same performance and effectiveness.
General Specifications of Chewing Gum Removing Machines
Every chewing gum removing machine available in markets has their own specific features and unique specifications. But despite the genuine specifications it has, most have a common characteristic. First common characteristic they have is the amount of pressure they use. Most machines’ pressure ranges from 89psi-96psi. This mostly depends on the surface you are dealing with. For example, if the surface you are working on is tile, definitely grout will be present. So, a lower pressure should be applied to avoid ruining the grout. Probably the pressure to be applied would be near 89 psi. But then, if the surface is rougher or stronger than grout, it could reach to a maximum of 96 psi. So, the pressure present in each machine mainly depends on the surface it is intended for.
Next, the temperature of the steam vapor. Most machines have a maximum pressure of approximately 329 ºF. This also depends upon the surface to be worked on. If the surface is more sensitive to heat, then the temperature should be lessened to avoid ruining the surface. But then, if the surface is more tolerant to heat, and will not get damaged as much as other surfaces can, then, increasing the heat would be necessary. Since some surfaces are rougher than others, it is also a reason to increase heat to easily soften the gum, so as to easily soften the gum since it is harder to scrub off the surface.
Then, we have the detergent chambers. Since it is a cleaning machine, it would be very convenient if detergent is readily available to clean the area right after extracting the gum. It would be great for the disinfecting purposes, instead of using steam alone to kill bacteria. And, right after scrubbing the surface, it will not be necessary to go over the whole surface again to clean it up with detergent. As usually mentioned, the machine was made to be which could help in cleaning faster, meaning more work in very little amount of time. So, adding detergent chambers to use quickly use right after gum removal would be very handy to minimize the time you can spend to going back all over again to completely clean the surface.
And last but not the least, trolleys. Let’s say you already have the equipment to help you get through work simultaneously, but the problem is the machine lacks mobility. If the machine is really intended to cut time in cleaning, then lacking mobility of the machine ruins its main function. If you have to carry the machine every now and then to change places, it could be very difficult, and not to mention, time consuming. So, it is best that they are mounted on a trolley for mobility. You wouldn’t have to carry it around after you are finished on one spot, and transferring right after (Figure 4).
Figure 3. (Atlanta Gum Removal). Gum-removing machine mounted on trolley. Note. From Atlanta Gum Removal. Copyright 2009 by Atlanta. Reprinted with permission.
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KLEENJET MEGA 1000CVG. (n.d.). Daimer Industries. Retrieved June 13, 2009, from http://www.daimer.com/steam-cleaners/kleenjet-1000cvg.htm
What You Need to Know About Removing Chewing Gum. (2005). Article Base. Retrieved June 10, 2009, from http://www.articlesbase.com/sales-articles/what-you-need-to-know-about-removing-chewing-gum-947557.html