Floor polishing preferences

23rd of June 2022
Floor polishing preferences
Floor polishing preferences

What are customers looking for when choosing a floor polishing system? Are they mostly concerned with factors such as productivity and price, for example? And what other factors should they take into account such as user safety, ergonomics and performance?

HARD FLOORS NEED TO BE kept in tip-top condition in order to increase their lifespan and maintain their lustre. And an attractive floor with a high shine will create a good impression on clients and visitors.

But are longevity, a high shine and attractiveness the purchaser’s chief considerations when implementing a floor polishing system? Or do other factors such as safety, ergonomics, performance and a low price feature higher up their list of priorities?

Most customers want solutions that will improve efficiency, save time and reduce the total cost of cleaning according to Kärcher’s product management floorcare director Christian Mrowka. “They are constantly seeking new machine technologies, chemicals and materials that will optimise their results,” he said. “And productivity becomes more important each year as labour costs increase.”

Keeping floors in a high-gloss condition is a time-consuming job, he says. “It needs to be repeated up to six times a year which means speed and productivity are among the most important considerations for customers when choosing a floor polishing system,” says Mrowka. “Selecting the right process, chemicals, machines and accessories will ensure the floor is polished to a high shine in a shorter amount of time and without being out of use for any longer than necessary.”

Kärcher offers a wide range of polishing machines including 400 rpm, dual speed and ultra-high-speed models plus accessories and chemicals. According to Mrowka factors such as user safety, ergonomics and performance should always be part of the customer’s decision.

Don’t rush the process

“If you rush the polishing process you may end up with uneven results or permanent damage to the floor, and this will cause unnecessary extra work and increase costs,” he said. “Some customers tend to put price first, and this means they run the risk of choosing products that offer lower levels of productivity and provide poorer results.”

Safety is important because every workplace presents its own floor polishing risks, he says. “This could be due to the use and refill of chemicals for example, or it could be down to the need to dispose of dirty water correctly,” he said. “In either case, PPE will be required.”

The latest stripping agents, pads, floor machines and floor finishes can all help to improve productivity, performance, ergonomics and comfort, he says. “Selecting the correct polishing method in terms of machines, accessories and chemicals will ensure good results with high productivity and comfort,” said Mrowka.

Sustainable solutions

“Large, heavy machinery should not be necessary in order to achieve the best cleaning results. These can be achieved using light and ergonomic machines that deliver a superior result in less time and with a higher degree of operator comfort.”

He claims customers are also increasingly looking for more sustainable floor polishing solutions. “The process of adding another coat of polish needs to be repeated several times a year on heavy-traffic areas due to wear,” he said. “However, there are certain polishing methods such as daily cleaning with diamond pads that will keep resilient floorings in good condition while avoiding the need for stripping and recoating.

“And the resurfacing of resilient floors makes sense because it considerably reduces costs, cuts energy consumption and lowers a company’s carbon footprint compared with having a new floor.”
Kärcher’s ultra-high-speed BDP 50/1500 C machine is said to achieve up to 30 per cent higher productivity at 1500 rpm compared with conventional high-speed machines, while its dual speed single disc BDS 43/DUO C machine can be used for cleaning, polishing and sanding different types of floors.

Good quality products at the right price are what customers seek when choosing a floor polishing solution, says IPC’s export head Lorenzo Catellani. “The most important driver is the price/quality ratio,” he said. “However, performance and productivity are also important and customers will consider technical features such as motor power and brush rotation speed.”

He says it is essential all polishing systems meet safety and ergonomic requirements. “Single disc machines should be easy to use and feature an ergonomic handle with a comfortable grip – particularly if they are to have intensive use,” said Catellani. “They should also be lightweight with a compact design to prevent operator strain.”

IPC’s SD 1500 HS single disc machine has an ergonomic handle and a working width of 550 mm. The company also offers a range of optional pads.

According to Catellani, sustainability is another big consideration when choosing a floor treatment. “Customers are increasingly demanding chemical detergents that are non-toxic, non-aggressive, environmentally friendly and that cause no harm to the operator’s health,” he said.

Customers are continually on the hunt for easier and faster solutions that will reduce polishing time, cost and operator fatigue according to Filmop’s business development manager Paolo Scapinello, “Performance and productivity are both key factors influencing the purchasing choice,” he said.

“Customers ask us for professional systems that will guarantee optimum performance while improving overall productivity.

“They are also increasingly aware that bad posture on the part of the operator over an extended period can cause muscular-skeletal issues. It is therefore becoming pivotal to use ergonomic systems that allow correct posture to be maintained and that avoid continuous bending and repetitive stressful movements.”

The quality of the products should be the customer’s first concern when choosing a floor polishing system, according to Prochem’s training and sales executive Stuart Macmillan. “Buyers need to look at the percentage of solids in the floor polish, since the lower the percentage the more susceptible the floor will be to wear and tear,” he said.

“They should also consider the complete package including the quality of the single disc rotary machine and the wet/dry vac they will need for polish removal and for daily/weekly maintenance.

Price always a priority

“And a good quality entrance matting should be included as an essential part of any floorcare system since this will reduces wear and tear and soiling.”

However, the factors that customers should bear in mind and the ones they do actually consider are two very different things, according to Macmillan. “I would like to think productivity and performance were the dominating factors in the decision-making process, but the reality is that price is always at the forefront,” he said.

Customer requirements depend greatly on the venue in question, he adds. “For instance, the floor in The Louvre is more likely to be well cared for and maintained than a nightclub floor, which means a higher quality polishing system would more likely be used in The Louvre.”

And safety should be a major consideration when choosing any polishing system, adds Macmillan. “In these days of high insurance claims it is important to ensure a non-slip surface, and the quality and performance of the products should be built-in factors,” he said. “The safety of staff and customers should always come first.”

Like other commentators, he believes customers are increasingly looking for sustainable floor polishing solutions. “I also believe demand for more sustainable eco-friendly flooring materials that last longer and require less maintenance is on the increase,” says Macmillan.

Prochem offers products and systems for resilient porous, semi-porous and non-porous hard floors including Prostrip, Proshine and Protreat. The company also offers a range of hard floor cleaning solutions including Stone and Tile Clean, Powerclean and Stone Seal.

Most customers today are looking for high quality products that deliver proven results, says Truvox UK national sales manager Simon Constantine. “They want to work with a company that can provide expert advice and recommend the right products for their needs,” he said. “The finished result is the customer’s biggest concern because they will want their floor brought back to the level required. And their next concern will be productivity.”

According to Constantine, customers should ideally think about the level of finish required when choosing a polishing machine. “This can change from site to site,” he said. “Customers should also consider how the floor will be used. For example, will cleaning take place when the public is around? If so, they might want to consider a battery-operated machine rather than a cabled model.”

Another consideration is the time that needs to be allocated to the job since this will have a major bearing on which machine is required, he adds. “And lastly, the costs should be borne in mind because if you are choosing equipment on a budget it can dramatically affect the results of the job and the client’s overall satisfaction,” said Constantine.

Truvox 400 to 1500 RPM machines come in both cable and cordless versions and are suitable for use in hotels, schools, leisure areas, offices and other public facilities.

More proactive approach

According to Constantine there has been a noticeable shift in customer requirements due to the global pandemic: “People are taking a more active approach in ensuring that their floors are cleaned to a higher standard since coming out of lockdown,” he said. “As a result they are putting in place programmes to make sure that all floor cleaning tasks are carried out more frequently. And many companies are investing in new equipment and replacing older machines more frequently so that they will have reliable and well-maintained products in place.”

Filmop’s Paolo Scapinello has also noted a Covid-19 effect. “The sanitary emergency has made it more important than ever for customers to ensure maximum hygiene levels,” he said. “Consequently, they have begun to look for cleaning equipment that can achieve high levels of hygiene while reducing the cross-contamination risk.”

IPC’s Lorenzo Catellani claims the market is at last beginning to recover post-Covid-19. “Facilities such as schools, hotels, museums, restaurants and shopping malls were all either totally or partially closed during the pandemic, and this inevitably had an impact on demand for polishing systems,” he said. “But the market is now growing again.”

And Covid-19 focused pubic attention on wellness, and sustainability as well as on health, according to Kärcher’s Christian Mrowka. “Manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce any negative impacts on the environment, and this also applies to the polishing and flooring industries,” he said. “This has led to customers seeking to renovate their floors rather than replacing them.

“Floor polishing plays an important role here because it makes it possible to maintain a floor without frequent stripping and resealing – and this significantly reduces resource consumption along with the use of aggressive chemicals.”


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