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.

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.

innova55_aVispa at Akeman

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.

Warehouse floors – forklift truck tyre marks and their removal

A clean and tidy industrial floor will improve the aesthetics of any warehouse and also satisfies safety requirements demanded by H&S bodies.

In order to keep industrial floors in the best possible condition it is important that a good cleaning programme is implemented.

Sweep floors clean

It is important that industrial floors should be well maintained and kept clean and free of any loose debris that could otherwise abrade the surface. Use large brooms, scissor sweepers or where size and budget permits walk behind or even ride-on sweepers for large warehouse facilities.

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Remove grime

Depending upon the size of the floor, the use of a mop and bucket for small areas is viable but for deep cleaning and certainly for larger expanses of floor area, a scrubber drier is better suited to remove any grease, spillages or general grime.

Rubber tyre marks

A major problem in maintaining an industrial floor is the tyre marks left behind from forklift trucks.

These marks become more apparent and troublesome when a light reflective floor is involved, and can detract from the aesthetic appearance and reduce the performance characteristics of the floor surface.

Warehouse floors

The removal of ingrained tyre marks can in many cases be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Therefore it is strongly advisable that a cleaning programme is put in place to manage the situation.

Forklift Truck Tyres

The most common forklift truck tyres are made from a universal rubber compound. This type of tyre will leave marks on concrete floors.

There are two types of “non-marking” tyres available and these should be considered for use where tyre marking becomes a problem.

“White” tyres are made from synthetic rubber with white silica gel or resin instead of carbon. The white tyres have a grey-white appearance, can cost up to 25% more than the universal carbon tyres and have about 90% of the life of the universal tyres.

They can also have a heat build-up problem when running fast and/or over long distances. If heat does build up then the load capacity can be reduced. These tyres can leave a white dust-type residue, which does not adhere to the floor surface and can be swept up during the cleaning process.

Polyurethane tyres are shiny black in appearance, very hard and can cost twice as much as universal rubber tyres. It is suggested that polyurethane tyres wear three times more than the universal tyre. The polyurethane tyre will leave a black residue that does not stick to the floor unlike black rubber type tyres. This non-sticking allows the residue to be swept or vacuumed through the maintenance cleaning process.

Spinning is the main contributory factor to black rubber tyre marks. This is a particular concern for light reflective floors. This practice must be discouraged where possible.

Recommended method for cleaning and removing rubber tyre marks

Envii EN701 Rubber Tyre Mark Remover (Ultragreen & Non-Hazardous) removes rubber marks with ease. It is able to tackle the most difficult rubber deposits whether it be from a forklift or the landing area on a runway.

It is ideal for busy warehouse or distribution centres where time is at a premium and areas cannot be closed off for long periods.

Use neat for heavy rubber tyre marks where 100ml will normally treat 1m² or it can be diluted to deal with lighter marks or for ongoing maintenance.

Another product we have found from experience that works well is Ultrapac Renovate from Prochem. It can be used as a pre-spray and can work wonders on rubber tyre mark removal. This product is solvent free and is designed for the removal of ingrained soils, carbon, soot and rubber from hard and semi-porous surfaces.

UltraPac Renovate

After application of a rubber tyre mark remover, the area can be scrubbed with a scrubber drier using hard polypropylene scrubbing brushes or with green scrubbing pads to loosen the residue. The scrubber drier can be filled with water and / or a water and detergent mix to remove excess solution from the floor surface and provide a final clean in the process.

A recommended chemical for this process, and for regular maintenance cleaning of warehouse floors, is Triple Advanced Scrubber Drier Detergent manufactured by Selden. The super strength formulation of this product removes even the toughest grease and grime and is designed for cleaning large warehouses.

Polypropylene scrubbing brushes or green scrubbing pads are recommended for use with scrubber driers to clean warehouse floors. Do not use black pads to clean any marks from a light reflective floor surface as they are extremely aggressive and may scratch the floor surface.

Depending upon the size of the warehouse, the space between pallets and racking, and of course the budget available, scrubber drier options include everything from mid-sized walk behind machines such as the Comac Abila or Simpla, to larger machines such as the Comac Omnia 32, and then upwards to include ride-on machines such as the Comac Flexy and Comac Ultra 120.

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Safe and sensible activities

The loading and unloading of warehouse racking and pallet bays and the movement of goods around warehouses needs to be carried out with care to minimise surface marking and scratching.

Forklift trucks and other vehicles need to be driven with care over these surfaces to avoid marking caused by wheel spin, sharp and abrupt turning or sliding, leaving unsightly marks that need to be removed.

Even a properly planned maintenance schedule cannot prevent the leaving of rubber tyre marks if the forklift trucks are not handled appropriately and with care.

The benefits of leasing cleaning equipment

Leasing your cleaning equipment makes sense in lots of ways. Here are some of the key benefits:

Improve Cashflow

Your new equipment can be installed and operational without the need for capital expenditure. The cash can then be used where it will produce the best return, such as in investment, operating activities or short term funding needs.

Retain Credit Lines

Keep existing banking arrangements, and credit lines free for more appropriate uses. Lease finance facilities cannot be withdrawn like overdraft facilities.

Simplify Budgeting

With finance payments fixed for the whole term helps avoid the effects of inflation and making cash flow forecasting and budgeting simpler. Bank facilities are generally related to interest rates, which is fine when they are low but can cripple cashflow when they increase.

Keep Up To Date

Combat obsolescence problems or requirement changes as the equipment can be supplemented or upgraded at any time in the future.

Let the Equipment Pay for Itself

Enable the finance payments to coincide with the benefits of having the new equipment as they start to appear. After all, you wouldn’t pay all your staff costs up front! Finance payments may be financed as you go along by extra income obtained by having the new equipment. Have equipment at today’s prices paid for from tomorrow’s income.

Tax Savings

In the case of lease rental, all rentals paid are 100% allowable as an expense for tax relief often providing tax savings.

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Advantages of Ride-on Scrubber Driers

Scrubber driers come in all shapes and sizes. From small corded electric machines to large battery powered, LPG or even diesel combination scrubber-sweepers, there are many options to choose from.

For premises with a significant amount of floor space, ride-on scrubber driers are generally the best option as they usually have a larger scrubbing width, larger water/detergent solution capacity and deliver reduced operator fatigue and therefore increased productivity.

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In essence, cleaning with a ride-on scrubber drier is a lot more efficient than using walk behind machines.

Ride-on scrubber driers can reduce the amount of time taken to clean a large expanse of floor, whether it is a large sports hall, long and wide corridors or even a warehouse.

This makes it possible to get more done in the same, or even less, time than a walk behind machine, generating savings in labour costs.

Solution capacity is a major advantage that ride-on scrubber driers have over walk-behinds. The ability to hold more cleaning solution makes for fewer trips to the water source to refill and to the drain to empty out dirty water, and this saves as much as 30 minutes per trip. Over the course of an 8 hour shift, by using a ride-on scrubber drier, it is very easy to add as much as 1-2 hours of “productive” cleaning time.

Wider scrubbing paths also add to the efficiency and increased productivity of ride-on scrubber driers. Since they are mechanically propelled, navigating a wider path is easier when riding. Adding just 8 inches to the cleaning path, or going from a 20” machine to a 28” machine, will save 3 entire passes on a 40,000 sq/ft floor. Based on an average 6 minutes per pass, the increased scrubbing width can add almost 20 minutes of productive time. Over the course of one year, that is 122 hours!

Employee productivity is also improved. Since the operator rides instead of walking, fatigue is reduced meaning they are physically able to maintain a more productive rate of work after they have finished scrubbing the floor.

All of these things add up to a larger area being cleaned, more often, making for an all-around cleaner facility. Just using a scrubber drier is a big improvement over the manual mopping of floors, but when you add in the many significant advantages of a ride-on scrubber drier, the benefits become even greater.

The Magnificent 7 Tips For Selecting The Right Scrubber Drier

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Scrubber driers are the quickest, most productive and ultimately the most cost-effective means to clean just about any hard floor surface.

Because clean water is constantly fed through to the floor and with the agitating action of the scrubbing head/s, floors are left much cleaner than by using a traditional mop and bucket. Add to this the fact that scrubber driers are a lot less labour intensive and much more efficient, they provide real value to anyone who needs to maintain vinyl, concrete, tile, stone or even wooden floors.

When it comes to choosing the best scrubber drier for your needs, there are a few basic things to consider. Below are the top 7 factors that you should evaluate when looking to purchase a new scrubber drier.

1. Size and Type of Floor Area Being Cleaned

Often when choosing a scrubber drier, people will base their decision on the machine size they believe will be best suited to clean the largest area of floor space. However, avoid making costly mistakes and evaluate all of the areas that the scrubber drier could be used.

For example, a school may be looking for a scrubber drier to clean a gym floor, but could also use it in changing rooms, corridors and even classrooms. Selecting a machine of a size that is right for all areas can often be more beneficial, because whilst you may sacrifice a little extra time when cleaning the gym, the time saved cleaning other areas can add up quickly. Being able to use a scrubber drier in smaller spaces can recover hours of labour to be applied elsewhere.

If you have a lot of open area though, a ride-on scrubber drier may be a good option. Ride-on scrubber driers can actually use less operating space. Because you sit within the footprint of the machine, the space you would normally stand behind the machine is no longer used. This can be as much as 20cm saved over using a walk-behind, and by sitting operators are less fatigued, can work more productively and cover more space in less time.

2. Dimensions

The dimensions of a scrubber drier should be closely evaluated.

Most scrubber driers are designed to fit through a standard doorway, but many times in older buildings, there are a variety of doorway sizes. Check the width of the machine, whether it is a walk-behind or ride-on scrubber drier. Don’t just look at the brush head size because for most scrubber driers, the squeegee will be the widest point.

If you have to transport a scrubber drier from one floor to another by lift, check the length as well as the width, and for a ride-on machine check the height with the operator on board as well.

Weight is also important. Check the weight of the machine (including batteries if it is battery powered) and make sure it is safe to go in lifts, on certain floor surfaces and other inclines.

3. Filling and Drainage Locations

Because scrubber driers can hold a lot of water, in some cases over 200 litres, it is important to consider where you will be filling and emptying the machine. Having enough space and/or suitable length of filling hose to reach can be challenging in some facilities.

Likewise, it can also be difficult to find a place to drain the dirty water. Depending on the type of facility you are cleaning and local waste water regulations, you have to be aware of the safest and most convenient places to empty a scrubber drier. The drain or dump hose on all makes and models are a little different. Make sure the scrubber drier you select is compatible with the drain options you have.

4. Charging Areas

Whilst some smaller and medium sized scrubber driers are mains powered and thus have a trailing cable, most medium, all larger and certainly most ride-on scrubber driers are battery powered, using either wet cell, gel or AGM maintenance-free batteries. Some ride-on scrubber driers may also be LPG or diesel powered, this in itself poses issues for storage and access to appropriate fuel supply.

Re-charging batteries is a very important consideration. Always check that the area where the machine is located for charging has the appropriate power supply. It is also important to note the power supply available on site, and select a charger of the correct voltage, namely 240v or 110v (usually on construction sites).

Be aware that some charger units draw more electricity than others when charging and so make sure you are not overloading the circuit when the batteries are plugged in.

It is also important that the charging area is well ventilated. If your scrubber drier has wet cell lead batteries, they give off gas and require a well-ventilated area whilst being charged. The newer generation of deep cycle batteries, including gel and AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) are sealed, maintenance-free and do not give off gasses. With these, ventilation is not as much of a concern.

5. Storage

When the machine is not being used, having enough space to store a scrubber drier in a safe place is very important. Many of the larger sized machines have a key switch that won’t allow unauthorised operation, so long as the key is removed and stored securely when the machine is not in use.

There is always the risk that a machine could be tampered with or if stored in an inappropriate location, it could be in the way. Most scrubber driers do take more storage space than a mop and bucket, so plan ahead for a safe, secure yet accessible storage space.

 6. Operators

Just like any piece of equipment, it is the person operating a scrubber drier that has to take the responsibility for the safe use, care, security and regular maintenance of it. Limiting the number of users reduces the chance that it will get misused.

Those selected to use it should receive full familiarisation training in the use and basic maintenance of the machine. Keeping the scrubber drier maintained properly can extend its life, increasing its return on the investment you have made.

Simple things like keeping wet cell batteries filled with de-ionised water, squeegees cleaned, turned and replaced, brushes replaced when showing signs of wear are all simple steps that can save hundreds of pounds in replacement parts and service costs.

7. Financing Options       

Many scrubber driers are considered an expensive luxury, a must-have machine to deliver required cleaning standards, but at a cost.

Consider various financing methods including outright purchase if budget allows, short-term hire if the machine is only required for a short period, or finance leasing. This last method is a great way of improving cash flow, retaining credit lines, allowing for simpler budgeting and lease rentals are also 100% allowable as an expense for tax relief!

Summary

Scrubber driers can deliver a great improvement to most cleaning regimes. The productivity they provide can greatly outweigh their cost. Just ensure you select the right machine for your application, provide all operators with thorough training in its use and regular basic maintenance, and properly cared for it will deliver many years of effectively and efficiently cleaned floors, contented operators, satisfied clients and building users, and a great return on your investment.

Comac Innova 55B scrubber drier

The Comac Innova 55B ride-on scrubber drier is compact and versatile.

With a 560mm scrubbing path and 70 litres solution tank, powered by 2 x 12v gel maintenance-free batteries with on-board charger, the Innova 55B is the perfect machine for cleaning corridors, atriums and even classrooms and treatment rooms.

It is small enough to fit through most doorways and can even travel in elevators (lifts).

Contact Industrial Floorcare Machines (UK) for more information on 01442 823090, email sales@industrialfloorcaremachines.cominnova55_a