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.


 

 

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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.

Electrical safety of Cleaning Equipment

Cable Integrity

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Always check by sight and touch (before plugging in and switching on!) for any nicks or imperfections – report any issues and DO NOT USE.

Check for any tears or cuts to the cable and if there is any damage, and certainly if any copper cable is visible, DO NOT USE the appliance and report it for repair & replacement of the cable.

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It’s not worth taking the chance – FIT A NEW CABLE!

Damage can occur when:

• Cables are caught on skirting boards, around door frames or other obstacles
• Cables are stood on, wheeled across or slammed in doors
• Cables are caught under a rotary machine, or a cylindrical brush  scrubber drier, causing the cable to break – this can be a significant safety risk, especially when using a scrubber drier with water.
Be careful and vigilant & follow best practice guidelines with regard to cable handling.

We always recommend the use of an RCD (Residual Current Device).

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• Did you know that it takes only a fifth of a second for a strong electric current flowing through your heart to kill you?
• Think about if for a moment: if you’re using a rotary buffer  and you accidentally slice through the cable, the electricity has to go somewhere.
• If the machine has a metal case, you’re holding on to it, and you’re standing on the ground, there’s a very high risk that your body will form a “short circuit” – the path of least resistance for the current to flow through.
• It takes just the blink of an eye for a current that’s doing you a favour by powering your machine to change its mind, zap through your body, and kill you.
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• One way to reduce the risk is to use an RCD (residual current device), which automatically shuts off stray currents before they can electrocute you, cause fires, or do other kinds of damage.
Typical issues associated with plugs

Over heating / burned

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Damaged plastic casing

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Plug with no top & no earth in use in a public area with a real danger of electrocution for any user.

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Attempted DIY connection with exposed wires hence PAT failed.

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In all cases DO NOT USE the machine.

Replace the plug correctly and ensure the correct fuse is used.

Plugs and sockets

For plugs and sockets, keep an eye out for the following:

Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights – they are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems

Badly wired plugs – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug

Overloaded sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating

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Cables and leads

The risks with cables and leads include:

Getting frayed and damaged – make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary

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Being badly positioned – they shouldn’t be anywhere that they could be tripped over, or near water, cookers or other sources of heat

Running them under rugs or carpets where they can wear through without anyone noticing – position them elsewhere

Keep your electrical equipment in good working order

Follow the guidelines below to make sure your electrical items are safe to use:

Maintenance

Electrically powered machines, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors, such as buffers and scrubber driers, should be serviced once a year by a qualified technician.

Plugs, sockets and cables

Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:

• Make sure you can’t see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead – change the plug properly

• Make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug

• Only use one adaptor per socket – don’t plug one adaptor into another and try to  keep to one plug per socket
Fuses

When you’re fitting or replacing a fuse, it’s important to use the right fuse for the machine to make sure the fuse doesn’t overheat.

Check the user manual or look for a sticker on the machine to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse:

> 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse

Between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse

< 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse

Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of fire.

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Thermal overload protection

Electric cleaning machines are fitted with a thermal protection device.

If the machine stops working, switch off and remove the plug from the wall before investigating where the fault lies.

Inspect the brush (if a rotary or scrubber), floor tool (if a vacuum), vacuum hose and any tubes for debris.

In the case of vacuum cleaners, if the floor tool, tubes and hose are clear, replace the dust bag and clean the filter. Restricted air flow causes vacuum motors to over heat and trip out.

Be careful and observant when using vacuum cleaners that you don’t pick up items that may block the hose or tube, restricting airflow.

Sometimes very resistant floors and coarse, aggressive pads can produce significant friction, resistance and heat and thermal overloads kick-in to protect motors from burning out. Use the right pad / brush / speed of machine and chemical to avoid any mishaps.