The following article was written by Shaun Tinholt, Portfolio Lead-Machines and Tools, Diversey Care

Your facility faces a number of floor care challenges and must increasingly clean better with fewer resources. A new floor care machine might have a high initial investment cost, but it provides numerous benefits to your business and machine operators. It’s important to recognize the value of investing in a better floor care machine.

Floor care challenges
It’s important that your employees know how to correctly prepare, operate and maintain the equipment. However, the cleaning industry in North America typically has a high rate of turnover and many organizations struggle with developing a simple yet robust training program around floor care.

Many organizations also face budget constraints that affect the maintenance cycle for floors. For instance, the time between restripping, recoating and burnishing may also be extended to reduce costs. This creates an opportunity to find ways to keep floors looking great without added effort.

Proper floor care requires a careful balance between multiple factors, such as unique traffic patterns and seasonal issues such as ice, snow, salt and sand. Some facilities may also have floors with different substrates and finishes, and surface changes such as upward or downward slants. Machine operators need to match chemicals, squeegees, brushes and floor pads to the task in order to maximize cleaning performance and efficiency while still maintaining the life of floor cleaning machines.

Before you buy
Before purchasing a new floor care machine, you should consider the following questions:
1.   In what type of environment will the machine be used and what types of substrates are present there?
2.   What types of cleaning chemicals and finishes are currently being used?
3.   How frequently will the machine be used and what time of the day will it be used?
4.   Who will  operate the machine and what training material is available?
5.   How will the expense of the machine be managed? Will it be purchased or leased?

Investing in a better machine
Your organization can overcome floor care challenges by investing in a more advanced floor care machine.

The ideal machine will:
•      Be simple to use.
This may mean it has icon-driven controls to overcome language barriers. It must provide easy-access to the recovery tank for proper cleaning. The machine should allow the operator to see the water level (solution). It shouldn’t be complicated for operators to switch out squeegees, brushes and floor pads to adjust for soil load or floor coatings. These tools should have wear indicators so that operators know when they need to be changed.

•      Use speed-controlled solution dosing.
A typical machine has a certain flow-rate and dispenses chemicals every minute or so regardless of the machine’s speed. However, you should look for a machine that accommodates for changes in speed during maneuvers such as turning. Speed-controlled solution dosing eliminates chemical waste and reduces labor costs because operators don’t have to fill the machine’s tank as often.

•      Be intuitive.
The machine should have automatic shut-offs so that if it is overloaded, safety mechanisms can protect it from being damaged.

•      Use an advanced squeegee.
Squeegees need to pick up the water and chemical dispensed onto floors to eliminate slip-and-fall accidents. Operators shouldn’t have to manually adjust the pressure that the squeegee has with the floor in order to account for changes in floor surfaces or angles. The squeegee should also be durable so that it doesn’t wear too quickly and need replacing. The squeegee should also have proper pick up to allow for water-only cleaning in light soil applications.

•      Be designed with ergonomics in mind.
The machine should reduce strain and pain for workers. For instance, workers shouldn’t have to reach under the machine to detach brushes and floor pads.  Workers should also be able to adjust the machine to a comfortable without requiring them to take their hands off controls while in operation.

•      Have the capability to share machine tracking data.
Optional machine tracking devices allow you to set a perimeter and receive alerts when the machine leaves a predetermined area. You can also see which machines have low battery levels, whether the machine is being operated and whether it has had impact with a wall or other object.

Once the right machine is in place, it’s important for your organization to develop and implement a solid training program to ensure operators know how to prepare, operate and maintain the machine over time.

Common floor care challenges such as costly labor and chemical waste can be eliminated with one simple step: investing in a better floor care machine. It’s helpful to understand which features to look for in a machine and why these are so important. With a machine that’s better matched to tackle floor care issues, you can not only improve cleanliness in your facility, but enhance employee satisfaction and reduce labor, maintenance and chemical costs.

Shaun Tinholt is senior portfolio manager of cleaning tools and equipment with Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division, a leading provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions. He can be reached at