Rotary floor machines have been dominant since the very beginning but are now being challenged by other systems including orbital and cylindrical that use their own pads and systems to get the job done.  The orbital machine was originally found in companies that would refinish gym floor by using steel wool pads to remove the old finish.  Someone came up with the bright idea of developing a pad (usually maroon in color) that could remove one or more coats of top finish while dry or slightly damp.  The crew simply vacuumed the residue, damp mopped and were usually ready to apply another coat of finish without having to wait for a scrubbed floor to dry.  This evolution could have a major impact on the need for harsh strippers, dumping slurry into the sanitary system, slip/fall risks, chemical odors, speed of work, wet pick up and drying time just to name a few.  As this system evolves, it appears that others are developing pads to scrub ceramic tile, strip floors and even clean carpet.  


One key selling feature was that an orbital unit did not have the same learning curve as a traditional rotary floor machine that required constant balancing to keep under control.  It was also noted that the square or rectangular shaped orbital machines could get along edges and in corners that their round cousins could not reach.  These orbital machines can be purchased as stand alone units or battery powered riders that can be very productive in given environments.  


We owe a profound debt of gratitude to manufacturers who keep providing new technology that takes us to the next level of custodial services.


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