Hard Floor care tips based on traffic conditions

Dry soils such as sand, grit and dust are invariably found on hard surface floors. For the most part, their presence is not a significant problem. However, this can change significantly when people walk across and mobile equipment (trolleys, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc) roll over the floor.

These dry soils have sharp edges. Once people and equipment are introduced they can start abrading, eroding and otherwise damaging the floor and its finish.

The number of people and equipment travelling on a floor is referred to as “Traffic” and the amount of foot traffic on the floor will help determine the amount and type of cleaning and maintenance the floor will need.

Rotary buffer

To help cleaning professionals better understand the concept of foot traffic, the following guidelines may help:

Low Traffic: A low-traffic environment is typically a small office or retail store. Such a facility will have about 100 to 500 people walking through it each day. Daily sweeping/vacuuming may be required to remove light debris, dust etc but thorough (wet) floor maintenance may only be required on a weekly basis.

Medium Traffic: While some environments may fall into the high traffic category, medium sized buildings are considered medium foot traffic environments. These facilities typically have 500 to 1,500 people walking through them and will require daily cleaning.

High Traffic: Environments that include 1,500 or more people per day walking on their floors include facilities such as large office buildings, large station concourses, airports, hospitals and large schools and colleges. The floors here are continually under attack and will require floor maintenance multiple times throughout the day.

It is also important to realise that certain areas within a facility may have multiple traffic patterns. Invariably, lobbies and entries into retail stores can be high traffic areas while other areas within the facility may have medium or even low traffic.

To ensure proper floor maintenance, cleaning professionals must be clear which areas need the most frequent attention. This ensures the floors are properly maintained, reduces costs, and can help reduce the frequency of expensive floor restoration.

In all cases, variables such as weather conditions, the installation of entrance matting, etc., can play a role in the amount of care and attention a floor needs.

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Cleaning warehouse floors – a Health & Safety issue

Warehouses through their very nature are high risk locations. High level racking systems, fork lift trucks moving back and forth, pallets of goods at ground level and at height, and areas where lighting fails to adequately penetrate creating poor visibility.

It is therefore extremely important to ensure that suitable precautions are taken to maintain and enhance safety for all building users, and nowhere is this more important than by keeping floors clear of litter and free from dirt and spillages.

Slips, trips and falls remain the most common cause of workplace accidents, accounting for almost 1/3 of all major workplace injuries in 2012/13 (HSE statistics). Recent surveys highlight the fact that while slips and trips remain a priority concern for employers, few felt that organisations are fully effective at controlling the slip and trip risk.

To help companies overcome some of the issues associated with cleaning floors in warehouses and other industrial buildings, there is a wide range of sweeping machines available from various manufacturers and suppliers to meet a variety of needs and budgets.

Where large warehousing facilities exist, the Comac CS100/CS120 battery, diesel or bi-fuel (LPG) powered ride-on sweepers come in to their own.

Designed to easily collect solid debris as well as light dust, the CS100/CS120 is at the top of the range in terms of power, capacity, durability and heavy duty performance.

A debris hopper with a capacity of over 400 litres allows the CS100 to cover an area of up to 16,200m2/hour.

Once a warehouse floor has been cleared of solid debris, litter and dust, it is essential that the floor is thoroughly cleaned to remove residual liquid spillages, especially those of a greasy or oily nature which could pose serious slip hazards.

The Comac Ultra 100B is a scrubber drier compact in size yet innovative in its design and is perfectly suited to both maintenance and deep cleaning of medium to large sized areas.

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With a working width of 1,000mm and a solution tank of 200 litres, the Ultra 100B can cover an area up to 6,500m2 per hour. The machine has been designed to make the operator’s job as comfortable as possible and to be extremely user friendly for even unskilled staff.

The Ultra 100B also boasts excellent low noise levels thanks to the suction motor being fitted inside a double wall tank made of insulating polyethylene.

Maintaining the appearance, safety and integrity of warehouse floors is essential to meet strict Health & Safety regulations, as well as ensuring that the working environment is both safe and productive for those working there.

By using high quality floor cleaning machines, designed to meet the demands of today’s busy working environments, it is easier for a cleaning contractor or warehouse operator to meet those regulations and in so doing to maintain and enhance safety and to increase productivity.

For more information on the Comac range of sweepers and scrubber driers contact Simon Collins of Industrial Floorcare Machines (UK) by email at simon@industrialfloorcaremachines.com.

Top Tips for Maintaining Commercial Vacuum Cleaners

It can be easy to overlook the routine upkeep of your commercial vacuum cleaner, especially if you tend to be of the opinion “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The failure to keep up with the maintenance of your commercial vacuum cleaner can significantly diminish its performance. A neglected vacuum cleaner leaves behind dirt and debris, which results in a “dirty” clean. Ineffective cleaning sacrifices the health and hygiene of employees and building users.

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In contrast, a well-kept vacuum cleaner along with proper cleaning can improve the indoor air quality of the building.

Proper care of your vacuum cleaner will also lengthen its useful life and limit the need for replacement and parts. Give your vacs a little TLC to increase cleaning effectiveness, save money and enhance the image of the carpets and floors.

Properly cleaning commercial vacuum cleaners can deliver savings in ways you may have never considered. Following a routine maintenance schedule is the best way to ensure ROI on your equipment investments.

Check out the following tips to cleaning and maintaining vacuums:

Inspect dust bags regularly

At the beginning of each shift, check the filter bag before use. Change the bag when it is 2/3 full. Do not wait for the bag to become totally full, as this will restrict airflow and can diminish performance.

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Check micro filter compartment

Remove any dust and dirt. If the microfilter is visibly dirty or there is an odour when using the vacuum, change the filter.

Check motor and HEPA filters

If a HEPA filter is present, replace it when visibly soiled. Motor filters usually need to be replaced every 2 years or when visibly dirty, whichever comes first.

Check brushes/floor tool

Remove the brush, then clean any strands of hair or carpet fibres wound around the brush. Scissors work well at removing these fibres, but avoid cutting brush bristles.

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Keep tool storage compartments clean

Limit the transfer of dirt and allergens to clean areas and ensure that accessories perform as expected by keeping tools clean and in good working order.

Inspect suction hoses and electric cables

If you suspect a blockage due to lack of air flow, disconnect hoses and check for obstructions. If an obstruction is found, disconnect hose and re-install in reverse to pull the clog out. Check electric cables for any fraying or damage and replace when necessary.

Clean the tank (wet vacuums) 

Remove and empty dirty water from the tank, then rinse and let dry for optimal cleaning results. Thorough cleaning of the tank is especially important to avoid unpleasant odours.

Check squeegee on floor tool (wet vacuums)

Check for splits and cracks on squeegees before use. Damage to squeegees can cause streaking on floors and results in poor water pickup. The length of useful life depends on the types of surfaces cleaned.

In summary, when it comes to proloning the life of equipment and ensuring it works to its optimal standards, it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. Stay on top of regular maintenance for a clean that won’t disappoint and satisfies your bottom line.

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Cleaning and maintenance of stone floors

The first step in proper stone care and maintenance is to understand your stone’s geological classification and composition. This information will help you to identify what cleaning products to use and how best to care for your natural stone.

Natural stone is categorised into three basic geological classifications by their respective formation processes

  1. Sedimentary
  2. Metamorphic
  3. Igneous

Additionally, stones in each category can be either Calcareous or Siliceous.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate, a chemical compound commonly found in natural stone, shells and pearls. Calcium Carbonate is sensitive to acidic solutions so mild, non-acidic cleaners are recommended.

Siliceous stone, as the term implies, is one composed primarily of silicates, such as quartz, feldspar, mica, etc. As such, a siliceous stone is generally resistant to most acids found although acidic cleaners are still not recommended, as these stones may contain trace levels of minerals that are acid sensitive.

The following chart is a helpful guide:

Stone type table

To get the longest life and to preserve the beauty of natural stone, follow these simple tips:

Dust Mopping: Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit are abrasive and can damage natural stone.

Mats/rugs: Entrance matting systems or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimise the sand, dirt and grit that may otherwise scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is slip resistant.

Marble floor in hotel

Vacuum cleaners: If used, be sure the metal or plastic attachments or the wheels are not worn as they can scratch the surface of some stones.

Spills: Blot the spill with a paper towel immediately. Don’t wipe the area, it will spread the spill. Flush the area with water and mild detergent and rinse several times. Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth. Repeat as necessary.

Cleaning:

  • Clean stone surfaces with a neutral cleaner or stone soap and warm water.
  • An excessive concentration of cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
  • Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with detergent or soap solution and ensure the floor is dried.
  • For large areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors etc use a scrubber drier that will wash, scrub and dry in a single pass.
  • For even larger outside areas, a ride-on scrubber drier can be employed which will also be a more productive means of cleaning large areas.

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  • In outdoor pool or patio areas, flush with clear water and use mild bleach solution to remove algae or moss.

Cleaning Products:

  • Many suppliers offer products used for stone cleaning.
  • Products containing lemon, vinegar or other acids may dull or etch calcareous stones.
  • Scouring powders or creams often contain abrasives that may scratch certain stones.
  • Many commercially available rust removers (laundry rust stain removers, toilet bowl cleaners) contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid (HF). This acid attacks silicates in addition to other minerals. All stones, including granite and quartzite, will be attacked if exposed to HF.

Sealing

Sealing is a common step taken on some stones as an extra precaution against staining. In fact, the sealing products used in the stone industry are ‘impregnators” which do not actually seal the stone, but more correctly act as a repellent rather than a sealer.

Sealing does not make the stone stain proof, rather it makes the stone more stain resistant. When consulting with your stone supplier, you may find that many stones do not require sealing. However, applying an impregnating sealer is a common practice.

When considering sealing, remember that sealing the stone does not make the stone stain proof, it makes it more resistant to staining.

If a sealer is applied in a food preparation area, be sure that it is non-toxic and safe for use.

Consult with your supplier or sealing manufacturer specific to the type of sealer and frequency of use recommended.

Stain Identification Tips

Identifying the type of stain on the stone surface is the key to removing it. Stains can be oil based, organic, metallic, biological, ink based, paint based, acid based. If you don’t know what caused the stain, consider likely staining agents that may have been present. Here are some questions you should consider:

Where is the Stain Located?

  • Is it near a plant, a food service area, an area where cosmetics are used?
  • What colour is it?
  • What is the shape or pattern?
  • What occurs in the area around the stain?

Stain Removal Steps

Surface stains can often be removed by cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product.

What Type of Stain is it?

The following sections describe the types of stains you may have to deal with and the appropriate household chemicals to use and how to prepare and apply a poultice to remove the stain.

Oil-based (grease, tar, cooking oil, cosmetics) An oil-based stain will darken the stone and normally must be chemically dissolved so the source of the stain can be flushed or rinsed away. Clean gently with a soft, liquid cleanser.

Organic (coffee, tea, wine, fruit, tobacco, paper, food, urine, leaves, bark, bird droppings) May cause a pinkish-brown stain and may disappear after the source of the stain has been removed. Outdoors, with the sources removed, sun and rain action will generally bleach out the stains. Indoors, clean with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution.

Metallic (iron, rust, copper, bronze) Iron or rust stains are orange to brown in color and follow the shape of the staining object such as nails, bolts, screws, cans, flower pots, metal furniture.

Copper and bronze stains appear as green or muddy-brown and result from the action of moisture on nearby or embedded bronze, copper or brass items. Metal stains must be removed with a poultice.

Deep-seated, rusty stains are extremely difficult to remove and the stone may be permanently stained.

Biological (algae, mildew, lichens, moss, fungi) Clean with a recommended cleaning solution, generally containing ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide.

Paint Small amounts can be removed with lacquer thinner or scraped off carefully with a razor blade. Heavy paint coverage should be removed only with a commercial “heavy liquid” paint stripper available from DIY stores and paint centres.

These strippers normally contain caustic soda. Do not use acids or flame tools to strip paint from stone. Paint strippers can etch the surface of the stone; re-polishing may be necessary.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use of these products, and flush the area thoroughly with clean water. Protect yourself with rubber gloves and eye protection, and work in a well-ventilated area. Use only wood or plastic scrapers for removing the sludge and curdled paint. Normally, latex and acrylic paints will not cause staining. Oil-based paints, linseed oil, putty, caulks and sealants may cause oily stains.

Water Spots and Rings (surface accumulation of hard water) Buff with dry 0000 steel wool.

Fire and Smoke Damage Older stones and smoke or fire-stained fireplaces may require a thorough cleaning. When the smoke is removed, there may also be some etching (due to carbonic & other acids in smoke). Commercially available “smoke removers” may save time and effort.

Etch Marks (caused by acids left on the surface of the stone) Some materials will etch the finish but not leave a stain. Others will both etch and stain. Contact your stone dealer or call a professional stone restorer for refinishing or re-polishing etched areas.

Efflorescence (a white powder that may appear on the surface of the stone) It is caused by the deposition of mineral salts carried by water from below the surface of the stone. When the water evaporates, it leaves the powdery substance.

If the installation is new, dust mop or vacuum the powder. You may have to do this several times as the stone dries out.

Do not use water to remove the powder; it will only temporarily disappear. If the problem persists, contact your installer to help identify and remove the cause of the moisture.

Efflorescence

Scratches and Nicks Slight surface scratches may be buffed with dry 0000 steel wool. Deeper scratches and nicks in the surface of the stone should be repaired and re-polished by a professional.

 

Disc brush v. cylinder brush – what works best?

The long standing question of what method of mechanical cleaning system is best for scrubbing floors remains as unanswered today as it has always been.

So what are the key differences between disc brush and cylinder brush methods? And which one is THE BEST?

Cylinder v rotary brush

Rotary floor scrubbers, utilising the rotating disc brush system, are ideal for wet stripping, scrubbing and buffing floors.

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Scrubber driers using disc brushes work well on smooth surfaces and large walk behind and ride-on machines will save time in open areas whereas smaller compact machines such as the Comac Vispa 35B are better suited to more congested areas such as restaurants, school classrooms etc, where they effectively wash and dry floors and can even be used to strip wax from the floor.

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Disc brush machines offer easy to change, variably aggressive, pads or brushes.

These features make disc scrubber driers ideal for retail applications where pads are not only inexpensive, but offer a great deal of surface contact for scuff mark control and floor shine. For industrial applications, disc brushes often make sense because they deliver greater down pressure than cylindrical brooms, and heavily soiled floors benefit from heavy down pressure.

Cylindrical brush machines are great for uneven surfaces and floors with grout lines.

Cylinder brush machines such as the Multiwash and Nilfisk CA340 allow you to wet the floor, scrub and dry in a single pass and are particularly effective on non-slip safety floors and also for cleaning the grouting between tiles.

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Cylindrical brush scrubber driers, such as the Fimap Genie BS, will (wet) sweep small amounts of solid debris into a removable tray whilst also washing, and drying, the floor.

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In this event it is possible to eliminate the manual pre-sweeping of floors for greater productivity with less potential blockages in the squeegee section of the scrubber drier. In addition, there is often no need for a separate sweeper when a cylindrical brush scrubber drier will do the job.

Cylindrical scrub brushes keep less bristle surface in contact with the floor than disc brushes but they usually turn their brushes up to three times the rotation speed of a disc brush. This will often offset the greater surface area advantage that disc brush scrub decks offer.

Which is better? Both versions have a good rating on cleaning performance and both will clean your floor!

Disc scrub brushes have the advantage of lower initial cost and simplicity of maintenance. A disc brush will last longer and a replacement brush usually will cost less than a cylindrical brush. Cylindrical brush decks (as an option) will typically increase scrubber drier cost by £500 to £1000.

Cylindrical scrub decks eliminate the need to pre sweep your floor and may save the expense of true combination scrubber/ sweeper machines or separate dry sweepers.

It is fair to conclude that both systems have advantages over each other and both will deliver good cleaning performance, so ultimately it is the type of floor surface, the level and nature of soiling, and of course the budget that will influence the final decision.

Squeegee Blades – The Right Choice

Scrubber driers apply detergent and water to the floor, utilising scrubbing brushes or abrasive pads to loosen ingrained dirt and debris and then remove the suspended soils and liquids with vacuum suction having collected the dirty solution via a squeegee channel.

This last part in the process determines how much solution is removed from the floor – and how much is left behind, and squeegee blades have a massive bearing on this.

A poorly made, incorrectly chosen, or badly worn squeegee can cancel out the most successful scrubbing job. A squeegee blade that fails to seal against the floor surface will leave behind water, soap, soils, oils and more.

Squeegee types

No single squeegee material is best for every cleaning application. Economy gum rubber is suitable for smooth, even floors with light traffic; premium natural rubber provides consistent performance and exceptional results on a broad range of conditions; polyurethane is ideal for applications that require oil and chemical resistance.

To function effectively as a floor squeegee, a material needs a particular set of characteristics: relatively high resilience, low modulus, high tear strength, and high resistance to wet abrasion.

• Resilience allows rubber to absorb impact, then regain its original shape

• Modulus refers to the weight or mechanical force required to deform a material

• Tear strength indicates how well a squeegee can resist damage from foreign objects

• Wet abrasion measures how long a material lasts under constant rubbing

These factors vary by cleaning conditions, such as type and condition of the floor surfaces, soil types and the amount of soil.

Machine maintenance including correct adjustment of the squeegee blade inclination as well as operator skill also affect performance.

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There are 3 types of squeegees blades commonly used for scrubber driers:

Linatex®, urethane and gum.


Linatex®

Linatex squeegee

The all-round best performing and longest lasting squeegee blades are made from Linatex® premium natural rubber and are red in colour.

Linatex® premium rubber is a 95% natural rubber that exhibits outstanding resilience, strength and resistance to cutting, tearing and abrasion. With more than 80 years experience in handling aggressive materials, Linatex® is still ranked as the premium wear resistant rubber for sliding or wet abrasion service.

It is a unique and patented manufacturing process that gives Linatex® its extraordinary physical properties and outstanding performance. The Linatex® process, unlike other processes, causes minimal mechanical disturbance to the molecular structure of the finished rubber, resulting in significant cost benefits to the user.

Linatex® works well with chemicals and won’t swell like gum rubber. Linatex® squeegees have excellent flexibility for more consistent seals and water pickup, as well as rip-resistant durability for long-term wear.

These blades would be the best choice in applications where the floor is uneven or not smooth and where there is an oily environment.

Floor squeegees made with lower quality rubber are sold for less than those made from Linatex®. They also deliver lower performance, require more frequent adjustment, and wear out much sooner. Despite its higher initial price, the total cost of ownership over time makes Linatex® a more economical choice for many customers.

In side by side tests, taking careful measurements with calibrated instruments, researchers at the Midwest Rubber facility in the US document the performance of floor squeegees. They evaluate multiple materials on a variety of surfaces, with different brands and models of scrubber dryers, and with diverse types and amounts of soil.

Each time, they test for one or more of the characteristics listed above. For most applications, Linatex® meets more of those criteria than any other material.


Polyurethane / Urethane

Polyurethane squeegee blades offer many advantages over rubber alternatives including:

  • An increased life span
  • High abrasion resistance
  • High cut and tear resistance
  • Improved chemical and solvent resistance
  • Improved surface contact
  • Linear cut edge

Urethane squeegee

Chemical-resistant and very durable, urethane squeegees work especially well in industrial environments with oily or rough floor surfaces and on old or uneven floors, grates or environments with sharp debris.

They are typically the most expensive blades, but they will last a very long time in the correct application.

They are usually opaque in appearance.


Gum Rubber

Gum rubber squeegees work very well in situations where the floor is smooth and even like shopping centres, hospitals and other public spaces. Gum rubber squeegees ensure maximum water collection on smooth and tiled floors, leaving them dry and safe for pedestrians.

Gum rubber squeegee

Gum rubber squeegees will wear faster than the other types of squeegee blades but are usually the least expensive.

They are not recommended for oily environments. Gum rubber absorbs oil and the material will begin to lose its structural integrity, becoming very wavy, and the cleaning ability will be lowered.

They are typically white or tan in colour.

Gum rubber squeegees


A simple change in squeegee type can bring benefits to machine operators, building managers, businesses, and their customers. In fact, it can help meet many of the challenges facing our industry:

Daytime Cleaning

A squeegee that leaves a clean, dry floor in one pass creates safer, healthier, more comfortable environments for employees, guests and customers.

Productivity

Materials that keep their shape under heavy use require fewer adjustments, allowing staff members to accomplish more cleaning in the same amount of time.

Sustainability

Longer lasting squeegees require less frequent replacement, which reduces waste; and natural rubber is a renewable resource with infinite potential.

The bottom line

A floor squeegee represents a small fraction of the cost in any scrubber drier. It even costs less than other consumables such as detergent, brushes or floor pads. But it makes all the difference in how a floor looks and feels after the machine is put away.

To find the right floor squeegee for each application, consider physical characteristics, performance, and total cost of ownership. Base purchase decisions on research data rather than habit or initial price. Matching the material to the job will help you improve scrubber drier performance, reduce long-term costs, and increase customer satisfaction all at once.


 

 

What are the vibration risks associated with operating cleaning machinery?

Activities such as operating a fork lift truck, rotary buffer or ride-on scrubber drier can cause fatigue, insomnia, headaches and shakiness with symptoms similar to those that many people experience after a long car or boat trip.

After daily exposure over a number of years, these same whole-body vibrations can result in a number of health disorders affecting your entire body including permanent harm to internal organs, muscles, joints and bone structure.

The risks linked to long-term exposure to strong or high frequency vibrations depends on the type of stress experienced, whether this is skeletal or muscular, or even to the vascular and nervous systems.

There are two main classifications of vibration:

Hand-arm vibrations (common to rotary buffers, walk-behind scrubber driers and ride-on machines)

Rotary buffer

Whole-body vibrations (specific to ride-on machines)

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1. Hand-arm vibrations: ISO 5349-1

It is well known that vibrating hand tools and therefore exposure to high frequency vibrations interfere with blood circulation (vascular effects) and nerves signals (neurological effects – sometimes resulting in partial paralysis of the thumb’s radial nerve), thereby causing a tingling sensation, loss of feeling, numbness and a characteristic blanching or whitening of the affected parts of the hand-arm system known as “white-finger”.

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Exposure to the vibrations of heavy tools (the most typical example being the pneumatic drill) may damage the osteo-articular system (resulting in arthrosis or bone decalcification).

It is important therefore to consult the Use and Maintenance booklet for any piece of equipment being utilised to see the level of vibrations transmitted to the hand-arm system.

Check the level of vibrations transmitted to the hand-arm system (expressed in m/s²) and, if possible, choose the one with the lowest level. The level of vibrations should be measured in compliance with ISO 5349-1.

2. Whole-body vibrations: Jolts ISO 2631-1

The whole-body vibrations of a person are commonly called ‘jolts’. When these are very strong or prolonged, they may lead to spinal problems mainly relating to bone and muscular disorders.

Vibration energy waves, much the same as noise, are transferred from the energy source – a hand tool or vehicle – into the body of the exposed operator. This is then transmitted through the body tissues, organs and skeletal systems of the individual before it is dampened and dissipated.

The symptoms of whole-body vibration are not so readily recognisable and are often mistaken for other unrelated conditions and ailments. The health outcomes are non-specific and can be difficult and extremely expensive to identify, manage and control.

These factors should not detract from the fact that employees, and in particular professional drivers, can suffer debilitating ill health effects from whole-body vibration exposure.

The most common medical conditions experienced through long term exposure to whole-body vibrations are:

  •  Spinal column complaints are perhaps the most common issues associated with the long-term exposure to whole-body vibration, where the back is especially sensitive to the 4-12Hz vibration range
  •  Digestive system issues are often observed in persons exposed to whole-body vibration over a long period of time. This is associated with the resonance movement of the stomach at frequencies between 4 and 5Hz
  •  Cardiovascular system effects resulting from prolonged exposure to whole-body vibration at frequencies below 20Hz. These result in hyperventilation, increased heart rate, oxygen intake, pulmonary ventilation and respiratory rate.

Fortunately the human body can tolerate certain levels of vibration energy but when exposed over a long period of time it begins to deteriorate and fail causing a disruption in the body’s natural processes and systems.

The health effects experienced by employees vary considerably and factors such as situation, age, lifestyle (smokers), posture, ergonomic design and resonance all have an influence on the ill health effects of the vibration exposure.

The problems may be caused through the incorrect position of the operator (resulting from bad machine use habits) or a machine design that fails to take into account the basic principles of ergonomics.

The onus is on the employer to know the vibration exposure that their workforce is exposed to, including the magnitude of vibration, distribution of the motion within the body, and the frequency, direction and duration.

Check the level of whole-body vibrations (expressed in m/s²) in the machine Use and Maintenance booklet and, if possible, choose the one with the lowest level. The level of vibrations should be measured in compliance with ISO 2631-1. Ensure the machine EC declaration states that it has been designed in compliance with directive EN 12100, and that the principles of ergonomics have also been applied.

The level of hand-arm vibrations of Comac scrubber driers, sweepers and single disc rotaries is certified by an accredited laboratory to offer the highest reliability of the declared values.

Battery maintenance for floor cleaning equipment

Choosing the right battery for your scrubber drier or sweeper, understanding proper battery maintenance and educating machine users are just a few important ways to ensure the safe, uninterrupted operation of your floor machines, and are key to getting the biggest return on your battery investment.

So what battery technology do you choose?

Deep-cycle batteries, whether they are flooded, AGM or gel, are the best choice for cleaning machines because they are optimised for deep discharge, characteristic of regular machine operation.

batteries

Flooded versus sealed (AGM or gel) technology is a decision based on budget or environmental regulations at an individual location. Flooded batteries cost less and have a longer life-cycle, while sealed AGM or gel batteries are maintenance-free but have a higher price. Preference really depends on one of these two requirements.

Battery box

Maintaining water levels is the key to maintaining flooded batteries. Despite the multitude of challenges impacting the floor cleaning industry today, equipment inefficiencies due to the failure of watering deep-cycle flooded batteries shouldn’t be one of them.

watering systems

Single-point watering systems are gaining in popularity as they make maintenance of deep-cycle flooded batteries quick and easy. With a battery watering system, staff can fill a complete set of batteries in less than 30 seconds.

Regardless of which battery technology you choose, it’s important to remember that a battery is only as good as the maintenance it receives. Proper maintenance of deep-cycle batteries will provide maximum performance and longer life extending your overall equipment run times and return on investment.

A common problem often encountered is users who have let batteries discharge too far. This can shorten the life of batteries and it is so critical to avoid this, and some manufacturers now have an electronic ‘low battery cut-off system’ that prevents this from happening.

Following a few simple maintenance steps ensures that your machine’s deep-cycle batteries will provide optimum performance levels day in, day out.

Tips for Proper Maintenance:

Safety

The safety precautions and procedures outlined below should be followed whether handling flooded lead acid (FLA) or valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) such as AGM or gel batteries.

‐Always wear protective clothing, safety glasses and gloves when handling and/or performing battery maintenance

‐Never add acid to a battery

‐Keep batteries clean and dry

‐Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries

‐Charge only in well ventilated areas

‐Avoid skin contact with the electrolyte

‐Always use insulated tools

Charging

chargers

‐Charge after each use and follow the manufacturer’s charging instructions

‐Before charging, ensure the electrolyte level is above the plates in flooded batteries

‐Tighten vent caps before charging

‐Do not interrupt a charge cycle

‐Never allow batteries to freeze and never attempt to charge a frozen battery

‐Avoid charging at temperatures above 120°F (49°C) and always keep batteries away from heat sources. High heat kills batteries.

Watering (flooded batteries only)

‐Add water only after fully charging the battery (unless plates are exposed)

‐Check with the manufacturer regarding proper electrolyte fill levels

‐Never allow the electrolyte level to fall below the plates

‐Use distilled water

Cleaning

‐Clean the battery terminals and cable lugs regularly with a solution of baking soda and water using a wire brush. It is imperative to properly maintain the entire connection in a flooded battery because corrosion at either end of the connection can  cause high resistance and potential battery failure. Rinse with water and dry.

‐Thinly coat all connections with anti-corrosion spray or silicone gel to resist corrosion

Torque

‐Tighten all wiring connections as per the manufacturer’s specifications

‐Do not over-tighten as this can result in breakage of the battery terminals

‐Avoid under-tightening as this could lead to terminal meltdown

‐Make sure there is good contact with the terminals

Storage

There are important steps that should be followed when storing batteries for an extended period of time.

‐Completely charge batteries before storing and monitor every six weeks while in storage

‐Batteries gradually self-discharge during storage. AGM batteries self-discharge at a much slower rate than flooded batteries. Be sure to monitor voltage every 4 to 6 weeks. Stored batteries should be given a boost charge when they are at 70 percent state of charge or less.

‐Store batteries in a cool, dry location avoiding areas where freezing or very hot temperatures are expected

‐Keep batteries fully charged to prevent freezing

‐When batteries are taken out of storage, recharge them before use

‐Avoid direct exposure to heat sources, such as radiators or heaters

Gaining a clear understanding of the various deep-cycle battery types and maintenance practices ensures that your battery-powered floor machines will continue to operate at peak levels of performance and reliability. With proper care and maintenance, an initial investment in deep-cycle flooded, AGM or gel battery technology can be extended as well as keeping the total cost of ownership to a minimum resulting in more uptime and greater profits for your company.

When it comes to battery maintenance, the bottom line is that with proper maintenance, batteries can serve users for years to come.

How a Vacuum Cleaner Works

When you sip a drink through a straw, you are utilising the simplest of all suction mechanisms. Sucking the drink causes a pressure drop between the bottom of the straw and the top of the straw. With greater fluid pressure at the bottom than the top, the drink is pushed up to your mouth. ­

The same basic mechanism is at work in a vacuum cleaner, although the execution is a bit more complicated.

Let’s look inside a vacuum cleaner to find out how it puts suction to work when cleaning up dust and debris.

Vacuum cleaner

As can be seen, the standard vacuum cleaner design is very simple, but it relies on a host of physical principles to clean effectively.

It may look like a complicated machine, but the conventional vacuum cleaner is actually made up of only six essential components:

  • An intake port, which may include a variety of cleaning accessories
  • An exhaust port
  • An electric motor
  • A fan
  • A porous bag
  • A housing that contains all the other components

When you plug the vacuum cleaner in and turn it on, this is what happens:

  1. The electric current operates the motor. The motor is attached to the fan, which has angled blades (like a planes propeller).
  2. As the fan blades turn, they force air forward/upwards, towards the exhaust port and via the dust bag where dust and debris will be retained.
  3. When air particles are driven forward, the density of particles (and therefore the air pressure) increases in front of the fan and decreases behind the fan.

This pressure drop behind the fan is just like the pressure drop in the straw when you sip from your drink. The pressure level in the area behind the fan drops below the pressure level outside the vacuum cleaner leaving an area of low air pressure below the fan, and near the floor (this is the ambient air pressure).

This creates suction, essentially a partial vacuum, inside the vacuum cleaner. The ambient air pushes itself into the vacuum cleaner through the intake port because the air pressure inside the vacuum cleaner is lower than the pressure outside, as air always moves from areas of high pressure to comparatively low pressure. This is the process that will remove dirt from the floor.

Because the fan has created an area of low pressure near the floor, air from the floor is going to move in to fill that space, due to how air pressure works. Sometimes, very small particles of dirt and dust will be lifted by the low pressure area as well. In addition to this, air takes larger, loose particles of dust and dirt with it using friction.

As long as the fan is running and the passageway through the vacuum cleaner remains open, e.g. no kinks in the hose, no blockages etc, there is a constant stream of air moving through the intake port and out the exhaust port.

Many vacuum cleaners, in addition to using a fan, also use a rotating brush that sweeps the floor. Sometimes, this rotating brush is powered by the same motor that runs the vacuum cleaners fan, although many commercial specification vacuum cleaners such as the Sebo BS36 Comfort, will have twin motors, one to power the fan and the other to power the brush.

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Occasionally, this brush will be powered by being pushed back and forth across the floor instead. Either way, this brush serves the purpose of loosening trapped dirt and dust particles stuck in the carpet that would not have been picked up by the air pressure, and moving them to the surface, or even into the air, where they will be picked up easily.

Once the vacuum cleaner has sucked in air and dirt particles, the high pressure area directly above the fan — remember, air travels from comparatively high to low pressure areas — causes them to continue to move upwards. At this point, the air and dirt particles enter the vacuum cleaners porous bag. This bag is porous enough to allow air to pass through easily, but dense enough to trap dirt, dust and any other larger particles that were on the floor. After exiting the bag, the air leaves the back of the vacuum cleaner, passing through an exhaust filter, leaving any dirt that came with it trapped in the bag.

Repeated applications of a rotating brush tend to loosen all dirt after a while, as well as trapping larger particles completely in the bristles and lifting them where they can be more easily sucked up into the vacuum cleaners porous bag.

With the simple principles described above, floors are kept cleaner.

Cleaning Sports Hall Floors

Cleaning sports hall flooring is an essential part of regular maintenance. Not only will it make the floor look more visually appealing, but it will also extend the timeframe between scheduled floor sanding and refurbishment.

sportshallandcourts

We recommend our 5-step process for cleaning sports hall flooring:

1. Always pre-sweep floors

The most important way to protect the floor is to dust mop / sweep on a daily basis to remove grit, dirt and other dry debris. This dirt can otherwise act like sand paper on the floor seal causing erosion over time.

Begin with a pre-sweep of the floor to remove all dry grit, dust, fibres and hair. Doing so will make the actual cleaning of the hall far easier.

Avoid using dust mopping systems that use oil based or even water based treatments to hold and retain dust. These can leave a residue behind, trapping dirt which can then scratch the finish and which could be slippery and potentially dangerous.

Use a scissor mop or V-sweeper that will trap and hold dirt without any chemicals, and cover a larger area than a flat mop.

scissorsweepsportsfloor

2. Make sure you DO wet clean the floor

Athletes perspire. Perspiration, or sweat, and body oils are high in protein and salt which will build up over time. Solvent based cleaners and too little water will not break down the residue and can lead to a dull, slippery floor. Wet cleaning of some type, either mopping or automatic scrubbing combined with the proper wood floor cleaner, will remove these films.

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3. Always use a scrubber drier when possible

Mopping is fast becoming a thing of the past, especially in large areas like sports halls, due to limitations on productivity and how damp the floor remains.

Using a scrubber drier leaves the floor drier and much cleaner. Depending on the size of machine you use, a sports hall floor can be clean and dry within 45 minutes with very little effort.

As long as the floor is in good condition and there is a quality finish, there is no concern about moisture or weight issues when cleaning hard wood sports floors.

Using a scrubber drier is a great way to clean a wooden sports hall as wood doesn’t like having too much water left on the surface as it will begin to expand if the water is soaked up by the wood.

A scrubber drier will leave the floor almost dry after passing over the floor. Remember, always use as little water as possible for cleaning hardwood sports flooring.

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4.  Use the right products on the floor

Do not throw any and all types of cleaners at the floor in an attempt to solve an issue. This will only result in damage to the finish and/or the wood itself. Use a cleaner recommended by the flooring manufacturers / contractors for any wet cleaning you perform.

A good cleaner would generally be an alkaline based cleaner along the lines of Granwax Sportsclean or Junckers SYLVA Cleaner.

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These will help remove all traces of grease and the dirty marks that are left on the floor and on the sports lines. Sometimes it might be necessary to apply the floor cleaner in higher concentration as a pre-spray leaving it for a few minutes in order to remove all black rubber sole marks.

5. Preventative maintenance – Protect the floor!

Hardwood sports flooring is designed to withstand many types of activities. However, furniture such as chairs, certain types of equipment and hard plastic or metal casters can damage the floor.

Make sure everyone that uses the floor takes appropriate steps to keep the floor protected during events.

There are many types of floor covers and mats that can make protecting and cleaning hard wood sports floors much easier.

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Use large barrier matting to protect the floor from grit and water. Clean and replace the matting regularly.

Finally, check ventilation and heating systems to prevent condensation and use cleaning products without wax content.