What type of routine maintenance should be performed on autoscrubbers?

Battery maintenance is the most overlooked part of the maintenance program and also has the greatest impact on your yearly maintenance budget. It's important to have a qualified person check the batteries often. As a rule of thumb, check your batteries every payday.

A routine maintenance program will also consist of emptying and rinsing the recovery and solution tanks, taking the squeegee assembly off, cleaning and inspecting the squeegee blades and making sure both scrub deck and squeegee assembly are off the ground when being stored.

Report any machine problems right away as that could be the difference between having a mechanized process and going back to the old mop and bucket, which will have a huge drain on your labor dollars and leave your floors looking dingy.

Bob Christensen, director of education & training, Windsor Industries, Englewood, Colo.

Routine maintenance is the key to lowering the total cost of ownership for any mechanical device. For autoscrubbers, checking the battery (water level and connections) and cleaning tanks, squeegees, pads/brushes and the debris tray on a daily basis will keep the machine near peak performance.    

Monthly maintenance is also important to help keep the machine running well. Areas to maintain include: servicing of the machine’s cleaning technology, cleaning the battery cable connections, taking amperage draw readings and battery specific gravity readings and/or individual battery voltages tests to prevent possible future failures.

Last, but not least, maintaining and servicing the safety features of the machines are a must to minimize the risk of injury to operators or bystanders.

Kyle Strait, category marketing manager, Tennant Commercial Products, Minneapolis

There are really three things needed to maintain your autoscrubber: water the batteries, water the batteries, water the batteries. In all seriousness, lack of battery maintenance is the No. 1 issue we see with contractors and autoscrubbers. The battery pack is the single most expensive component on any scrubber and failure to maintain the batteries properly will mean premature failure and replacement.

Besides that it is really common sense. Keep the machine clean. Thoroughly rinse the recovery tank, clean and inspect the brushes and pad drivers, clean any and all filters regularly. Inspect and clean the squeegee for great pick up performance. Occasionally it’s a good idea to check fasteners and make sure they are tight.

Brian Simmons, product manager, Nilfisk-Advance Inc., Plymouth, Minn.

Some machines are being designed to make it extremely easy to access the internals and mechanical parts of equipment. However, some manufacturers are still making machines in such a way that end users are often faced with no alternative to taking the equipment to repair companies. Which approach will provide a better longevity for the equipment?

Many customers are looking for the ability to fix machines with common tools, using standard electrical and mechanical knowledge. However, similar to the auto industry, as more technology is applied to machines to help customers with their daily cleaning goals, some technologies won’t be a simple repair for the “everyday” technician. This will require customers to acquire specialized training or purchase maintenance support from a factory-trained representative.

At the end of the day, whether the machine is basic or advanced, equipment companies should strive to create easy access to components to minimize costs and frustrations for customers. For the most part, equipment companies have improved because customers are asking for it.

Kyle Strait, category marketing manager, Tennant Commercial Products, Minneapolis

The longevity of your equipment investment is primarily based on the quality of the product to begin with. Buying a machine from a reputable manufacturer known for quality products and an extensive and well-qualified service network will ensure maximum uptime and minimize repair cost. The most expensive autoscrubber you ever buy is the one you have to buy twice. Then it really boils down to how the equipment is treated and how well it's maintained.

Machines that are built with serviceability in mind will reduce your overall cost of ownership because when repairs are needed, they can be completed faster with a lower labor cost. In the end there's no substitute for authorized service centers and highly trained service technicians.  

Brian Simmons, product manager, Nilfisk-Advance Inc., Plymouth, Minn.

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Choosing the Right Autoscrubber