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Teaching Design and Technology

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4. Design a device that will allow the inside and outside surfaces of windows to be cleaned from the inside only. Compare projected costs with that of a simple hand held squeegee type window cleaner.

Need for problem- Cleaning solutions for cleaning windows of tall buildings.

Cleaning exterior surfaces can be a dangerous .Traditional window washing methods, such as boatswain’s chairs require workers to hang unsteadily over the side of tall buildings and this leaves them vulnerable to injuries. This is a slow process which constantly requires cleaners to make adjustments before moving on to clean new sections. These adjustments are time consuming which reduces worker productivity. Equipment must meet regulation standards and repairs and replacements often add to additional expenses.

Problem- This case examines the design of a device that can be useful to clean window surfaces, such a device will serve use to clean surfaces from the inside only, which will be useful when cleaning windows of tall buildings, therefore it must be:

  •  Easy to manoeuvre
  • Has acceptable safety and quality characteristics
  • Is durable and requires little/no maintenance
  • Is able to clean surfaces with little effort
  • Is reliable.

Possible solutions:

  • Outside squeegee held with magnets from the inside ( so that when the window is opened, the squeegee can be placed against outside of the window pane).
  • Design a window that can be tilted, to provide access to inner and outer surfaces.
  • Design a water tank to be attached on the outside surface of windows with a push button, so that water can be released.
  • Design a robotic device that can clean inside/outside surfaces of windows.

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A simple hand held squeegee costs between R90.00-120.00.                                                                   (Derived:


  • Designing a robot would exceed costs (also time consuming, would require lots of product research and implementations)
  • Since we have to design a device that will allow the surfaces of windows to be cleaned; designing a window with rotary motion would not be sufficient to solve the problem, cleaning would only be an advantage to windows that can rotate and would require windows that cannot rotate to be replaced. This would exceed costs and cost building owners time and money.
  • Using a squeegee with magnets would be effective and would save time on cleaning both the inside and outside surfaces instead of only cleaning one, however it exceeds costs t that of a simple hand held squeegee.
  • Designing a water tank to be placed on the top of windows would be effective, however when water is released on the outside surface, it will not be wiped/polished; it is likely that stains will remain on the outside surface.


 A simple squeegee consists of a straight handle attached to a channel with clips and sponge/micro fibre cloth with a strip of rubber attached at the end.

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