Robots: Humans' Dependable Helpers

Research and Development in Robotic Systems

Fully Automatic Facade Cleaning

© Fraunhofer IFF

Facade Cleaning Robot for Leipzig's New Exhibition Centre

The world’s first fully automatic cleaning system for vaulted glass halls has been in operation on the glass roof of the Leipzig Exhibition Centre since 1997. The vaulted glass hall is 243m long, 80m wide and 28m high at its apex. The total glass surface of 25,000m² must be regularly cleaned to preserve its transparent and light flooded character. The vaulted glass hall has an exterior steel structure. The glass panels hang a distance of 0.35m under the steel structure.

Cleaning Robot System Features

  • Uniform and high quality cleaning
  • Fully automatic operation of all systems (robot, cradle, etc.)
  • Operation (start, specification of areas to be cleaned) by hall supervisor

System Design

A cradle travels along the apex of the roof. It positions the robot and uses two hoists to lower it onto the glass or lifts it back up after cleaning.

Cleaning itself occurs during the robots’ downward motion. Each is navigated by two securing cables connecting them to the cradle.

The panes of glass are cleaned with broad roller brushes and retractable swiveling disc brushes. Thus, the areas behind the glass mounts can also be reached. Only warm, clear water without detergent is used for cleaning.