Monday, March 28, 2011

Equipment Sizing: How Big is Too Big?

As a general rule of thumb, you should purchase the smallest walk-behind or ride-on equipment that will allow you to complete your active sweeping or scrubbing in no more than two to three hours (exclusive of dump and refill cycles). For most companies, the person doing the cleaning is also responsible for other jobs in the plant, and it’s generally not economical to have him spending more than half a day on cleaning.

Look for machines with larger capacity hoppers or solution tanks in order to minimize unproductive dump and refill activities. If you need to scrub a 9-foot-wide aisle, a 48-inch-wide machine will accomplish that task in a minimum of three passes. While you might think that a 50-inch-wide machine would get the job done more quickly, it doesn’t. It will still require three passes to complete the cleaning. This is a case in which a larger and more expensive machine offers no gain in productivity.

By matching the size of the machine to your exact needs, you minimize your capital investment while maximizing productivity. In many instances, you may need a ride-on sweeper or scrubber for large open areas and a smaller walk-behind sweeper or scrubber for narrow aisles or to get in around and between individual workstations. Again, each machine you choose should be the smallest practical size for the job in order to minimize your investment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Walk vs. Ride

Did you know that 90% of the cost of cleaning is labor? This is a huge factor to consider when choosing between a walk-behind machine or ride-on machine.

In some cases, the additional cost of a ride-on machine can likely be recouped from labor savings in about three months. This is because ride-on sweepers and scrubbers offer productivity gains as much as 64% over walk-behind machines. In addition, ride-on equipment is easier on your personnel, allowing them to do more with less fatigue. Today’s ride-on machines are compact enough to get into narrow spaces, and many are nimble enough to turn within their own length. By making more passes in a given time and significantly reducing worker fatigue, ride-ons provide a big productivity boost for a modest investment.

However, walk-behind scrubbers are better suited to smaller facilities with a need for scrubbing and light debris pickup. Additionally, walk-behind scrubbers may be a better choice for your facility if cost is a significant factor in your equipment selection.

Six factors to consider:
  1. Maneuverability – What does the cleaning space require; Are there tight corners?
  2. Cost – What does your budget allow?
  3. Employee age – How old is the person that will be running the machine and what are their capabilities?
  4. Productivity – Consider the speed and path size of each machine to determine your application needs.
  5. Safety – What will meet safety standards for your industry?
  6. ROI – How much return-on-investment will you receive?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tennant ec-H2O™ Claims Cannot Be Verified: Third Independent Tests Confirm ec-H2O Performs No better Than Tap Water

Nilfisk-Advance recently released a third set of independent test results related to Tennant’s ec-H2O cleaning performance (electrically-activated water used in today’s professional floor scrubbers). The third set of independent tests measured the cleaning performance of ec-H2O relative to plain tap water using Hucker’s soil, an industry-recognized soil containing no petroleum products and used to test the performance of surface cleaners. The Hucker’s soil testing showed no performance difference between a Tennant scrubber using ec-H2O and the same scrubber using only plain tap water.

“These current test results complete the scientific picture showing that ec-H2O performs no better and no different than plain tap water when used in a commercial floor scrubber,” said Michael Fenger, General Manager, Product Marketing, EMEA/APAC for Nilfisk-Advance.

Nilfisk-Advance previously commissioned two separate independent tests to measure Tennant’s claims regarding ec-H2O’s performance. The first test used ASTM D4488 soil and showed that ec-H2O water performed no better than when the same scrubber cleaned with plain tap water. Those results also indicated that when cleaning with ec-H2O, the scrubber did not clean as effectively as when the scrubber cleaned with tap water and detergent. The second independent test measured the performance of ec-H2O relative to plain tap water to reduce ATP (adenosine triphosphate). That testing showed that a floor scrubber using ec-H2O reduced ATP to the same level as plain tap water.

To read the entire release, please visit

To see FAQs and all the independent test results commissioned by Nilfisk-Advance, please visit

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sweep vs. Scrub

After assessing the size and amount of dirt and debris to be removed, the primary decision to be made is “sweep vs. scrub.” This decision is not always straightforward.

Think about this scenario: if the material to be cleaned consists of mostly fine dust, it may appear that a sweeper would be the ideal tool to remove it. But the best way to handle dust is to “add water,” which eliminates your dust problem; this means a scrubber may actually be the better equipment choice.

Sweepers are ideal for bulky debris such as wood chips, metal shavings (swarf), paper and fibrous materials. Scrubbers are suitable for light, dusty debris on all types of hard floors—especially dirty or oily surfaces. In many instances, you may need to sweep first and then scrub. This requires either two separate machines or one combination machine. In smaller facilities where only one person is doing the cleaning, a combination sweeper/scrubber is often a good choice because with two machines, one of them would sit idle a good share of the time. However, combination sweeper/scrubbers, due to their dual function, sometimes have limited hopper and tank capacities, which can reduce productivity in the long run. More time spent dumping hoppers and refilling solution tanks on combination machines can mean less active cleaning time.

What does your job need?

Monday, March 7, 2011

What’s Affecting Your Choice in Floor Equipment?

A clean working environment helps promote worker safety, productivity and product quality. That’s why the floor-cleaning equipment you select for your facility is nearly as important as the manufacturing equipment you select. In addition, the cleanliness of your plant, warehouse or machine shop defines the message you are sending. A quality image carries over into higher employee morale and positive reactions from visiting customers and vendors. In short, keeping the workplace clean adds real value to virtually any enterprise.

Every facility requires a combination of floor-care equipment from brooms to vacuum cleaners to walk-behind scrubbers or rider sweepers. Getting the right mix of equipment is a matter of assessing your specific cleaning needs. Some of the factors that affect this decision include:

  • Size of dirt and debris particles generated
  • Amount of dirt and debris generated
  • Character of the dirt (fibrous, oily, dusty, wet)
  • Type of surface (tile, bare concrete, coated concrete, outdoor, etc.)
  • Number of personnel involved in cleaning activities
  • A definition of what constitutes “clean” for your facility
“Clean” can signify anything from getting rid of chunks of dirt on the floor to creating a shiny, scuff-free surface. Your facility’s cleanliness goal will be a factor in your equipment choice.