Floor care cleaning, stripping and finishing are synonymous with time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly. With minimal resources, custodial managers are looking for products and processes that will make tackling floor care challenges simpler. According to distributors, there is equipment that can help improve worker productivity and reduce purchasing: Oscillating floor machines.

If used properly, distributors agree that oscillating floor machines — sometimes referred to as orbital — can be very effective at maintaining floors. Compared to traditional rotary scrubbers that rotate circular pads between 175 and 300 revolutions per minute, oscillating floor machines oscillate the typically rectangular-shaped pad driver in small 1/4-inch circles between 2,250 and 3,500 revolutions per minute. The quicker revolutions allow staff to make quick work of scrubbing floors.

“There are four elements that affect the cleaning process: time, agitation, concentration and temperature,” says Louie Davis, Jr., senior territory manager at Central Paper Co., Birmingham, Ala. “If you increase one you can decrease another, which is what this equipment does.”

Oscillating floor machines increase agitation through speed, which reduces the amount of time it takes workers to scrub the floor. Cleaners can also incorporate hotter water to reduce dwell times or to reduce the need for chemicals.

Distributors stress that adjusting one will even out the other and that equipment can positively impact a department if used correctly.

That said, the machines are most beneficial when used on smooth, flat surfaces such as vinyl composition flooring and concrete. And although it can be used on wood floors, manufacturers recommend working closely with a distributor to determine proper procedures and training prior to use.

Oscillating floor machines are not recommended for use on grout or brick flooring. The reason, distributors say, is because pads will not reach down into the grout lines of these uneven surfaces.

When used on the proper flooring, these machines can be utilized in corners and close to baseboards, because of the rectangular shape.

“Neither stripper or water are slung against the baseboards,” says Davis.

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Increase Productivity With Oscillating Floor Machines