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Scrubber dryer squeegees - of material importance12th of August 2013
Brent Anderson of Midwest Rubber Europe explains why selecting a high quality squeegee for use on scrubber dryers is so crucial to a successful scrubbing job. He offers an overview of the different squeegee materials available and a guide to most suitable applications.
Clean floors help to create pleasant indoor environments. People are happier and more productive when their facilities are clean. They are also safer and healthier.
“One of the greatest workers compensation and liability exposures confronting many companies across the country is slip and fall incidents. A fall can result in the loss of a valued employee
or the filing of a third party lawsuit.
Many of these incidents can be prevented,” said the Loss Prevention Bulletin, Zurich North America. And new trends in the sector, such as daytime cleaning, increase the risk of slip and fall accidents for staff and customers.
Scrubber dryers and squeegees
Every scrubber dryer applies a surfactant and medium, usually detergent and water, to the floor. It uses brushes or abrasive pads to loosen dirt and debris while skirts contain the solution to the working width of the machine, then removes the suspended soils and liquids with a vacuum.
The last and most critical part in this system is the squeegee; it determines how much is removed from the floor - and how much is left behind. A poorly made, incorrectly chosen, or badly worn squeegee can cancel out the most successful scrubbing job. A squeegee blade that fails to seal against the floor surface will leave behind water, soap, soils, oils, and more.
No single squeegee material is best for every cleaning application. Economy gum rubber is suitable for smooth, even floors with light traffic; premium natural rubber provides consistent performance and exceptional results on a broad range of conditions; polyurethanes are ideal for applications that require oil and chemical resistance. Here are the most common squeegee types:
• Linatex is a high performing, long lasting material; resists tearing and edge wear in sliding and wet abrasion applications.
• Linard combines tear resistance and durability; high durometer (hardness) helps reduce squeegee noise; often specified for front squeegees.
• Urethanes are chemical resistant materials with long service life; they are well suited for use with organic and petroleum based oils.
• Gum rubber is an inexpensive combination of natural material and fillers; it is usable on smooth, even indoor floors.
• Red rubber is made of commodity grade gum and fillers, dyed red to resemble premium rubber products such as Linatex and Linard.
To function effectively in a floor squeegee, a material needs a particular set of characteristics: relatively high resilience, low modulus, high tear strength, and high resistance to wet abrasion.
• Resilience allows rubber to absorb impact, then regain its original shape.
• Modulus refers to the weight or mechanical force required to deform
• Tear strength indicates how well a squeegee can resist damage from
• Wet abrasion measures how long a material lasts under constant rubbing.
These factors vary by cleaning conditions, such as floor surfaces, soil types, and amount of soil; machine maintenance and operator skill also affect performance. To determine which materials are best suited for each application, Midwest Rubber Service & Supply Company tests them under controlled conditions at its dedicated facility near Shanghai.
In side by side tests, taking careful measurements with calibrated instruments, researchers at the Midwest Rubber facility document the performance of floor squeegees. They evaluate multiple materials on a variety of surfaces, with different brands and models of scrubber dryers, and with diverse types and amounts of soil. Each time, they test for one or more of the characteristics listed above. For most applications, Linatex meets more of those criteria than any other material.
Advantages of Linatex
Linatex is made with 95 per cent rubber, using a proprietary process that retains more of the inherent qualities of natural latex. By contrast, commodity grade gum rubber products contain fillers, from carbon black to silica to clay to chalk, that increase hardness and tensile strength but reduce flexibility.
Floor squeegees made with lower quality rubber are sold for less than those made from Linatex. They also deliver lower performance, require more frequent adjustment, and wear out much sooner. Despite its higher initial price, the total cost of ownership over time makes Linatex a more economical choice for many customers.
A simple change in squeegee type can bring benefits to machine operators, building managers, businesses, and their customers. In fact, it can help meet the challenges facing our industry.
Daytime Cleaning. A squeegee that leaves a clean, dry floor in one pass creates safer, healthier, more comfortable environments for employees, guests, and customers.
Productivity. Materials that keep their shape under heavy use require fewer adjustments, allowing staff members to accomplish more cleaning in the same amount of time.
Sustainability. Longer lasting squeegees require less frequent replacement, which reduces waste; and natural rubber is a renewable resource with infinite potential.
The bottom line
A floor squeegee represents a small fraction of the cost in any floor scrubber. It even costs less than other consumables, such as soap or brush heads. But it makes all the difference in how a floor looks and feels after the machine is put away.
To find the right floor squeegee for each application, consider physical characteristics, performance, and total cost of ownership. Base buying decisions on research data rather than habit or initial price. Matching the material to the job will help you improve scrubber dryer performance, reduce long term costs, and increase customer satisfaction all at once.