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Continued: Who is the biggest floor-cleaning equipment maker in town?

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 10, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Nilfisk contacted media outlets and issued a news release proclaiming it had unmasked Tennant.

Nilfisk announced that Tennant’s activated water cleaned no better than plain tap water. But Nilfisk got its hands slapped on that one for violating an NAD rule that prohibits companies involved in the ad group’s proceedings from using rulings for promotional purposes.

In a separate spat this fall, Tennant withdrew an appeal of a German court ruling over allegedly misleading ads about its hot-selling, chemical-free floor cleaners. The withdrawal let stand a June 2013 decision in favor of competitor Alfred Karcher GmbH & Co. The German court ordered Tennant to change the language of its ads. Tennant maintained the German court erred.

“In September, we announced our decision to channel our resources into new product innovations, and we withdrew our appeal” concerning Tennant’s ec-H2O chemical-free cleanser,” Tennant spokeswoman Kathryn Lovik said in a statement. “This technology is based on the established science of electrolysis.”

She added that Tennant is introducing new technologies and products at a “robust” pace.

About direct competition with Nilfisk-Advance, Lovik said: “To the extent that Nilfisk sells cleaning equipment, they are a competitor to Tennant Company but not in the area of sustainable cleaning technologies.”

Nilfisk begs to differ.

On a recent tour of the huge plant in Plymouth, officials talked about their new “green” class of hybrid-powered industrial sweeper-scrubbers that use half the fuel and increase battery life for several types of machines.

Also, the company says its “ecoflex” technology allows machine operators to switch between water-only and various-level detergent modes as required by the job. It uses up to 70 percent less water.

“We line up well with our products,” Barna said. “The recent results give us confidence that our way can work.”

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

  • related content

  • Nilfisk-Advance U.S. President Jeff Barna with an Advance CS7000 hybrid floor cleaner being built at the Plymouth factory. Danish company Nilfisk-Advance, a low-profile competitor to Tennant in the floor-cleaning business for years, is bigger than Tennant. Its U.S. operations, located just a few miles from Tennant’s headquarters, have grown sales faster than the market or Tennant over the past 16 months.

  • Nilfisk-Advance U.S. President Jeff Barna with an Advance CS7000 hybrid floor cleaner being built at the company’s Plymouth factory. Danish-based Nilfisk-Advance has been a low-profile competitor to Golden Valley-based Tennant in the floor-cleaning business for years.

  • U.S. President Jeff Barna’s assessment of Nilfisk-Advance when he arrived “was along the lines of us being a company that consistently demonstrated an ability to not live up to our potential.”

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