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A polished performance 1 Apr, 2014

A polished performance

Rotary polishers and burnishers are popular for cleaning large expanses of hard flooring. Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International Ltd, offers advice on how to get the best value and performance from these dependable machines.

Q: My facility contains significant areas of hard flooring. How can I ensure we achieve the best possible, glossy finish; and can I use my rotary for any other tasks? 

A: Rotary polishers and burnishers are more versatile than many people think, as they are able to tackle a number of cleaning tasks very effectively, as well as producing a high shine on hard floors. In order tackle different cleaning tasks, the right speed and pad or brush must be selected correctly. To maximise investment dual speed machines can offer a flexible solution.

A variable speed rotary can be used to scrub any water-resistant hard floor, such as concrete, tile, stone or slate, and it can also strip existing polish off a surface. Spray cleaning and buffing to erase scuff marks and dirt is possible, as is the task they are most commonly known for – imparting a high gloss to any smooth surface that should be glossy, be it marble, terrazzo or oak parquet which would be carried out by a machine that is capable of at least 1000 rpm. 

The right pads + the right speed = the right finish

All the different tasks that a rotary burnisher can, in theory, be used for should be carried out with the correct colour-coded pad for the job, and at the correct rotational speed. The main guide is, the lighter the colour of the pad, the softer it is. Light coloured pads are for polishing and scrubbing; medium for daily scrubbing and light stripping; and dark for heavy duty stripping. It is vitally important that you get this right, because using the wrong combination of pad and speed will not get the results your customer wants. In extreme circumstances you could actually damage the floor surface, a result that is unlikely to generate repeat business.  

In the UK, you need to use the following colour-coded pads at the specified speeds. However, be aware that some other countries have different pad colour codes. The table below summarises the range of floor maintenance tasks that you may need to schedule for your customers. The frequency with which they are carried out depends on the nature of the floor, the extent of the traffic across the floor, and how efficiently the matting at entrance points removes the soil from visitors’ shoes before they walk across the floor area.  

Pad colour  Pad application Machine approximate RPM needed
Black Heavy duty scrubbing and polishing 150
Brown Heavy duty scrubbing 150
Green Scrubbing and stripping floor finishes 150
Blue Heavy duty scrubbing and spray stripping 150
Red Spray, clean and buff; removal of scuff marks and dirt 300
Tan Speedy shine to any finish and freshly applied polish 300
White  Polishes any existing finish to a high gloss 500+
Pink For hard floor finishes only 1,000

Polishing machines that can multi-task are becoming more and more popular, given the number of different locations in which they are used. Not only do they need to polish quickly and efficiently to the highest standards, they also need to have other qualities depending on the situation. For example, if you are cleaning in the daytime, quietness could be desirable, especially in schools, hospitals or care homes, where noise can be an unsettling or unwelcome intrusion. Health and safety matters are also important, not only for cleaning operatives, but also other people who may be visiting or working in the building. Minimising slips, trips and falls is a must so cordless battery-powered machines with no trailing leads provide a good solution.  

I hope this article serves as a reminder that there is a great deal that can be achieved with rotary machines if you use the right pads and the right techniques.

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