Woman worker cleaning the floor with rotary polishing floor machine

A reader writes: "We recently purchased a floor machine that is rectangular. The salesman said it was better than our side-by-side machines. Your thoughts?"

As I stated in a prior article, the traditional side-by-side, low-speed floor machine has been around for many years and is still considered the workhorse of floor work in many accounts across the country. When used by a trained operator it can be used to buff floors (slow), scrub/strip floors, bonnet clean carpet and perform other tasks. Operators must know how to balance the machine which rotates between 175-300 RPM (revolutions per minute) to perform most tasks. These type machines will continue to be utilized for many years to come.

I remember seeing my first orbital machine (what you call rectangular) at a trade show years ago and was immediately impressed with it's potential for custodial operations. In the past, this type machine was usually limited to removing floor seals/urethanes on gym floors where steel wool or diamond pads were used.

Someone had the bright idea of developing buffing and stripping pads similar to the ones used for traditional buffers. Over time, the results have been impressive.

Many utilize orbital machines to remove a top layer of soiled finish without resorting to chemicals or wet scrubbing. This can not only allow work to be performed while there is foot traffic and is also touted as being more environmentally friendly due to reduction in slurry being produced. Another benefit is there is a reduced learning curve due to the operator not having the balance the machine due to its orbital motion. Finally, since it is flat sided, it can clean closer to edges and even impact corners which a round, rotary machine cannot do due to its shape.

As always, perform an ROI (return on investment) exercise to determine which type machine will work best for you.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.