Purchasing an auto scrubber can be a costly expense and should be researched extensively before buying one. The most important thing to consider is the environment that you will be cleaning and the type of cleaning the unit will perform. Auto scrubbers can range in price from $1000-$30,000. Even though purchasing an auto scrubber can be a costly endeavor your purchase can be quickly made up for, by decreasing your labor costs. An auto scrubber can clean a floor 10 times faster than cleaning with a regular mop and bucket. The four main things to know when purchasing this type of floor equipment is the size, power, unit construction and brush type that you will need for the environment you’re cleaning.
The first thing to take a look at before you purchase is the size of the area you are cleaning. Too small of a unit will take extra time and in turn increase your labor costs. If you purchase scrubber that is too big for the environment it is cleaning it can sometimes be hard to maneuver making it difficult to clean efficiently. Most auto scrubbers list both a practical and theoretical cleaning time that is measured in square feet per hour on their specification sheet. When looking at these numbers it is always wise to choose the practical cleaning time per hour and then reduce the number by 75%. By doing this you can account for any obstacles that have to be maneuvered around while cleaning and account for filling and emptying the unit. Most floor equipment dealers and manufacturers will let you test or demo a machine in the area you wish to clean. It is advisable to push your floor equipment dealer for a test before purchasing or signing any documents related to the sale of the machine.
Power is a very important attribute to look at when picking a piece of floor equipment. Power relates to auto scrubbers in three ways, the number of batteries, the size of the battery, and the type of battery that the machine utilizes. Most floor scrubbers rely on either 6 Volt or 12 Volt batteries coupled together to provide either a 12 Volt, 24 Volt or 36 Volt electrical system. In comparison a 36 Volt electrical system will have more run time between charges than a 12 Volt system. If you’re cleaning larger areas is recommended that you use a larger volt system to get additional runtime so that an area can be cleaned before the power supply is depleted on the auto scrubber. The average run time between charges on auto scrubbers is anywhere from 1.5 hours on a 12 Volt system to six hours on a 36 Volt system.
The type of construction of floor equipment is an important factor when purchasing an auto scrubber. First there are many types of materials that auto scrubbers can be made from. The two most popular types of plastics used in auto scrubbers is ABS plastics and Rotocast polyethylene. If you plan on using your auto scrubber for light duty cleaning you can save money by purchasing a machine built from ABS plastics. ABS plastics are cheaper to produce but can crack if the unit hits an obstacle. If you plan on heavy-duty commercial cleaning with your machine Rotocast polyethylene is the best option. This type of construction will not crack or break if it hits an obstacle or object. If you also plan on retaining ownership of the machine for a prolonged period of time it is advisable to purchase a Rotocast polyethylene model because of its ability to stand up to years worth of punishment.
The final attribute to look at when purchasing a piece of floor equipment such as an auto scrubber is the brush type it utilizes. The two main types of brush systems on auto scrubbers are cylindrical systems and traditional rotary styles. Rotary style brushes can benefit the cleaning process by using many types of attachments such as pad drivers, floor pads, brushes for heavy-duty cleaning and grinding stones for work on terrazzo and marble floors. Cylindrical systems do a better job at cleaning tile and VCT floors but lack the versatility of traditional rotary systems that can utilize many different attachments. Cylindrical systems are also more costly to maintain and repair.
Overall the most common type of auto scrubber is the 20 inch, wheel drive rotary system. Most US manufacturers produce at least one model of this type of machine. A 20 inch auto scrubber can clean both small and large areas and is inexpensive to maintain and repair. The most popular manufacturers of floor equipment in the United States are Windsor, Tornado, Tenant, and NSS. All four of these companies produce reliable models that can stand up to at least 10 years of heavy-duty use in a commercial cleaning environment. When purchasing an auto scrubber it is important to amortize the cost of the unit over the period the unit will be used. Once you have determined amortized unit cost compare it to the amount of labor that you will save over the same period. This will give you a clear indication of whether an auto scrubber is needed in the area you’re cleaning.
Great floor equipment tips and cleaning information by Lee Harris can be found at http://www.floorequipment.net. Lee Harris is an expert in the floor cleaning industry and can answer all your questions about floor equipment and how to save money on these types of products.
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