Cleaning Equipment News
After just returning from the Las Vegas tradeshow for ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association), there were some interesting developments in the cleaning equipment world. SweepScrub visited with several manufacturers of cleaning equipment including Tennant, Nobles, Nilfisk-Advance, Karcher, Windsor, Tomcat and ICE.
Tennant has long been known for their advances in technology over the years which include F.a.S.T. foam scrubbing technology and EcH20. One of Tennant's latest developments is IRIS Asset Manager (Intelligent Remote Information System). IRIS is essentially an onboard GPS and computer that allows the owner to monitor and track key performance metrics like machine usage, EcH20 usage as well as machine location. Critical alerts are also available. IRIS Asset Manager is available on most Tennant machines and a couple of Nobles units. The problem with IRIS Asset Manager currently is that it's not available through Tennant distribution.
ICE, International Cleaning Equipment, is a relatively new player on the cleaning equipment block, but their leadership is not new to the market. Their slogan is Blue Collar work ethic with Blue Chip technology. ICE boasts an incredible 5 year parts/labor warranty. They also have lithium ion battery options for their scrubbers that they are producing themselves. In addition, they have a technology very similar to Tennant's IRIS. However, ICE's GPS and on board management system is free of any monthly charges versus Tennant who charges the end user. ICE offers their technology through distributors whereas Tennant does not.
When selecting a refurbished piece of floor cleaning equipment, one of the questions on your mind is "who is doing the work on this machine, and what is their qualification?" SweepScrub uses factory certified technicians to perform the rebuilds on our equipment. Our technicians have thorough background checks and pass hair drug tests before they complete their interviewing process which also includes a detailed technical questionnaire and examination. We are in this business for the long haul, and to do that the right way means investing in the right people.
By using qualified staff to perform the restoration process, we are able to provide our customers with warranties on our used equipment. We stand behind the machines we sell, and you should feel confident in your purchase. Our reputation is important to us, and we want to earn your repeat business.
Pad Drivers - The pictures shown below are of different examples of pad drivers. If you thought that some of them looked like floor brushes, don't feel bad. You are not alone. Some pad drivers have very tiny hook and loop style surfaces that pad adhere to. Others have longer, stiff bristles that resemble tough brushes. One dead give away on some pad drivers is the center locking device. This helps fasten the floor pad to the pad driver so that it stays centered on the driver in order to deliver best results (and to avoid damaging your floor). Occasionally, we get a phone call from a customer wanting to buy "that really tough floor brush that's good for stripping floor finish." It turns out they are looking for a pad driver that they've mistakenly been using as a floor brush.
Floor Brushes - The pictures below are examples of floor brushes. The bristles are longer than any found on pad drivers, and they're not as stiff. Even though some floor brush bristles are very stiff and even abrasive enough to strip floor finish, they generally won't be as rigid as those on a pad driver. The pad driver bristles are stiff to hold the pad in place. Floor brush bristles are designed to flex and move with the contour of the floor for better soil removal.
In all sincerity, I wish SweepScrub would have thought of custom, celebrity scrubber paint jobs first. Maybe one day in the future, if time allows, we can devote some time to making Tennant S30 sweeper look like the space shuttle. I give kudos to the paint team that delivered this amazing "A-Team" tribute paint job to a Tennant 7100.
Now that credit has been given where due for this collector's item, let's discuss the refurbishing process. When purchasing an item of value on the internet, the buyer is assuming a certain amount of risk. Do you buy locally and pay list price in order to get: perceived less risk, less anxiety, increased reassurance of warranty because you can get your hands on the guy that sold it to you? Or do you buy online and get the savings you know you deserve?
At SweepScrub, we take pride in the products we sell. We invest and reinvest into our company so that we can continue to grow as a successful online business. To do this we can't afford to cut corners or "go cheap" on any part of our reconditioning process. We use OEM parts to rebuild our Tennant floor machines. We have sandblasters to resurface, clean and recondition metal parts that can be saved in order to keep costs down when necessary. We have engine hoists and trained technicians who know what to look for and where to look for common breakdowns in cleaning equipment. We have computer software that reads engine and machine codes to diagnose recurring problems. We have a full size, enclosed professional paint booth to make your machine look as factory renewed as possible.
So what does refurbished cleaning equipment mean? Well, it means different things depending on who is selling the refurbished equipment. At SweepScrub.com, rest assured that we stand behind our refurbished Tennant floor sweepers and scrubbers.
If you're a contract cleaner, and you're thinking of bidding on a floor job it usually comes down to labor costs. Labor is the number one cost factor on floor jobs. Automatic floor scrubbers were invented to improve cleaning efficiency, so the savvy contract cleaner will utilize the mechanical advantage of autoscrubbers every chance he gets.
If you don't own a floor scrubber when preparing a bid that requires one, then you'll need to make sure you have access to a rental unit. Depending on the rental company, you may need to have your own trailer for transporting the machine. This may actually save you on delivery/pick up fees as well. Walk-behind floor scrubbers can rent for $90-300/day. You may have a 3 day minimum along with those delivery fees. Even though you only need the scrubber for one day, you may be looking at a $1000 bill.
Many times a small floor job doesn't justify this cost. However, a good used walk-behind floor scrubber might go for $3000-6000. If you want to grow your business locally, you'll eventually need to own your equipment so that you can dollar cost average the investment against multiple accounts or future bids. Owning a machine also allows the operator to become very familiar with his piece of equipment. This way, if there are any issues or breakdowns the likelihood of fixing the machine is quickly increased. When faced with a rental machine, you may not know the nuances of the unit that was delivered. You also don't know who used it last, when it was serviced, or how it performed before being dropped off for your job. Since most of the floor jobs you'll be doing are after hours or on the weekend, the local service companies probably won't offer service during those times.
In summary, rentals are beneficial and serve a purpose. Sometimes you may own your machine, but you need additional equipment for larger jobs. However, purchasing your own floor cleaning equipment assures you'll be prepared for the job before you have it, and then when you do have it, you can be confident with the tools you brought.
If you need assistance in selecting the best refurbished cleaning equipment on the market, contact us at email@example.com or 877-449-0447.
So you've got your automatic floor scrubber or your riding floor sweeper and you're not sure which floor brush or floor pad to use with it. This topic has generally already been covered in another post CLICK HERE TO READ. In this blog, we're going to dig a little deeper into the various materials you may have in front of you when selecting a floor cleaning brush.
Proex is an "X" shaped filament of polypropylene that performs well in both dry and humid or damp conditions. It's very cost effective and is one of the most popular brush fibers used with cleaning equipment. It is not recommended for use in high heat conditions. The fibers can come in various thicknesses. Some manufacturers produce a Proex and Wire combination brush that is very effective in a wide range of sweeping conditions. Proex brushes can be used indoors or outside. If the filaments are soft enough, they can even be used on VCT with floor finish, but it's probably too rough for everyday use without damaging the finish.
Polypropylene is the basis of Proex. Polypropylene has good bend or flex recovery, but it can set if bent for a length of time. Polypropylene brushes are fairly resistant to chemicals, solvents and other oils which make them excellent choices for use with cleaning equipment and floor scrubbers. Polypropylene has limited sunlight resistance, but this can be increased by making the filaments black. Notice that all of Tennant's polypropylene brushes are black. Hmm, wonder why? Polypropylene brushes can be used indoor or outside on various flooring types. Like Proex, they can be used on VCT with floor finish but it's not really recommended as it will remove floor finish or at least dull it up.
Nylon is a fiber that is more flexible and durable than polypropylene. It performs well in dry conditions but not as well in wet when sweeping. Brush life expectancy is very good with nylon material. Nylon does a good job on rough surfaces and in high heat conditions because of its durability. Tennant's nylon brushes are all colored white. Nylon can be used indoor or out, and nylon is recommended for VCT with floor finish if you're determined to use a brush on floor finish. This can be a useful tool if you're tired of changing floor pads constantly. Nylon brushes can be hosed off after use whereas a floor pad gets thrown away.
Union fibers are actually natural fibers like Tampico and Palmyra. These brushes are excellent at keeping dust down in dry sweeping conditions, but because they are natural materials their life is shorter than the synthetic materials mentioned above. Union and natural material brushes can be combined with wire to give them added strength and to extend their use. Union fiber brushes are really for floor sweepers only, but they can be used indoor or outdoor.
Grit brushes use a base of durable nylon filament that is then coated with silicon carbide grit particles. Grit scrubbing brushes come in many different sizes and roughness. They're typically rated as follows: .070"/46, where the first number is the thickness of the fiber. The thicker the fiber, the stiffer the brush will be. The second number is the grit size, and like sandpaper the smaller the number the rougher it is. Grit brushes can be used indoors on hard surfaces like concrete. If they're too stiff they can damage some hard floor types, especially if left running in the same spot for more than a few seconds or if the down pressure is set too high. Some people will try to use these brushes to strip floor finish along with a chemical stripper. It doesn't work as well as a black floor pad simply because the pad has greater surface are coverage.
Crimped wire, or simply wire brushes, are made from metal wires and are used when extra tough cutting performance is required to break up stubborn dirt and soils. Often, wire cleaning brushes are combined with polypropylene or natural fibers to help control dust as the wire breaks free the soils. Wire brushes are for use outdoors primarily, but they can be used on very rough surfaces anywhere.
To OEM or not to OEM?
I guess to answer this question it depends on who you're asking. An OEM manufacturer would tell you that OEM floor scrubber and sweeper parts are the bee's knees because they are designed from the factory to work exactly as specified for optimal performance with each piece of cleaning equipment. Also, it would be embarrassing if some third party were able to produce a part that exceeded manufacturer performance, right?
If you ask someone who only sells aftermarket cleaning equipment parts, you're going to get an answer mostly based on price savings. You are going to hear that this floor scrubber part meets or exceeds OEM standards. You're going to hear how much you can save versus OEM List pricing. If you're a large enough customer an aftermarket supplier might even throw free samples at you. It'll sound too good to be true.
The best explanation for why each sales pitch for floor cleaning equipment parts will sound so one sided is because each of these vendors has only one option to sell you. The OEM manufacturer doesn't sell aftermarket parts. That would cause a loss of credibility. The aftermarket only vendor doesn't have access to the OEM parts or at least no discounted access to the OEM parts. Therefore, to price a customer an OEM part well above List price would then cause a loss of credibility that the part provider is really in the cleaning equipment supply business.
So what would a supplier who has discounted access to both OEM and aftermarket floor scrubber parts tell you? Since SweepScrub is in this unique position, we'll give you our honest opinion. The truth is that some OEM parts are ridiculously overpriced, and you are safe to go with aftermarket parts. Some OEM parts are priced higher, but they ARE built better, last longer and are more reliable.
If you want to save money and go with cheaper parts, make sure it's worth the risk. Buying an aftermarket squeegee isn't going to kill your entire floor crew for a month if it doesn't perform. Then again, it's a squeegee (a thin, rectangular, four-sided piece of rubber or another synthetic material), how hard is it to make a squeegee? How about a vac hose? It's a vac hose, a flexible piece of plastic or rubber tubing.......for half price of OEM. Give it a whirl. If it has holes in it or cracks after a month, don't buy another aftermarket one. If it holds up fine, congrats on your find. What about brushes? There's a big one, right? These industrial floor sweeper brushes can get pretty expensive. Some of them are north of $500 for one brush. OEM right? Not necessarily. There are several aftermarket brush suppliers that make fine sweeping and scrubbing brushes that perform as well as OEM. There are also some aftermarket brush suppliers that make junk brushes. SweepScrub doesn't sell those in case you're wondering.
In our 25 years of experience with purchasing and selling floor equipment parts, here's our take in a nutshell. If you're buying parts for one or two machines it really doesn't matter which way you go. You're not going to notice a large enough difference on most parts to worry about sourcing this part or that part. Go with what your local service tech recommends (and more importantly what he stocks) so that your machine is up and running because that's what matters most. He's probably not going to stock parts that continually fail IF he's a good, trustworthy tech (but that's for another blog at a later date).
Now, if you're buying parts for a fleet of walk-behind floor scrubbers to clean a chain of stores, you should strongly consider sticking with OEM. Here's why: consistency. When you have that large of a fleet, you are faced with managerial issues. One of those issues will be constant breakdowns. When you have breakdowns or performance issues with your cleaning equipment you want to eliminate as many variables as possible so that you can quickly diagnose the problem. The problem may in fact be that you've let one of your machines have a very weak and inefficient aftermarket vac motor be installed that's not vacuuming enough water off the floor as compared to the properly spec'd OEM vac motor. If you only use OEM parts across the board, then you shouldn't have to worry about the parts on the machine. OEM parts typically have a higher reliability rate. In other words, it's pretty rare to see a defect from OEM as compared to aftermarket. The standards are a little higher during production. They should be for the price you pay.
So in the world of cleaning equipment parts, do some research. Ask a professional at SweepScrub for advice before you buy. We sell OEM floor scrubber and sweeper parts from major manufacturers such as Tennant, Nobles, Advance, NSS and more as well as aftermarket parts for the same brands.
Should I use floor pads or brushes on my floor scrubber? This can be answered almost instantly by asking what kind of flooring the autoscrubber is cleaning. If the floor type is extremely smooth like VCT (vinyl composition tile) then floor pads will do a better job of removing soil. This is because floor pads have more surface area than a brush. This additional material is in contact with more of the floor surface which in turn removes more dirt. If the VCT or other smooth flooring has floor finish or coatings on it, then the soils will be even easier to clean because these coatings keep all of the dirt on top and away from the pores in the floor surface.
Floor pads come in a rainbow of different colors. White will always be the softest followed usually by red which is a very common pad for general daily cleaning. Blue and green are usually next, and these are often used in top scrubbing of floor finishes. Black stripping pads are at the rough end of the scale, and then there are specialty stripping pads that are very abrasive for use in removing very stubborn floor finishes or sealers.
Floor pads need to be monitored before every use of the floor scrubber to make sure they have not loaded up with dirt or other debris that could harm the flooring or floor coating. Floor pads can be flipped to use both sides before being thrown away. Because floor pads are relatively inexpensive, it is cost prohibitive to attempt cleaning them for reuse.
Soft brushes (like the nylon above) can be used on smooth flooring like floor pads, but they will not clean as well depending on the soil load due to their smaller surface area for cleaning. Brushes will allow for more continuous use without changing floor pads, and they could save money over time versus floor pads if maintained. Brushes still need to be checked before use with an autoscrubber to ensure they are clean and free of trapped debris that could affect the performance of the brushes or the floor or coating.
If the floor type being cleaning by your automatic floor scrubber is anything other than smooth or coated flooring, then scrubbing brushes are your best bet. Floor pads will be torn up very quickly with uneven or rough flooring types regardless of the abrasiveness of the floor pad. Floor pads simply are not made for us on rough surfaces. Scrubbing brushes come in a wide range of materials to fit virtually every need. Typically a manufacturer like Tennant will offer a soft white nylon brush, a black polypropylene brush and then a gray, super abrasive grit brush.
90% of most situations will be fine with the multi-purpose polypropylene brush (see above). This is how the floor machines are shipped standard from the factory unless ordered otherwise. They're not too soft and not too rough. The soft, nylon scrubbing brushes have been discussed already above. They can also be a good choice if the operator is concerned about damaging any expensive flooring they have invested in for their facility.
The abrasive grit brushes (see above) are usually reserved for the roughest flooring types or for floors with lots of grout. These floor scrubbing brushes will hold up longer, and due to their construction, these are usually the most expensive brushes.
If you're new to autoscrubbers or just new to hearing these terms, let's discuss the differences between disc (or disk) floor scrubbing heads (which include floor pads, pad drivers and brushes) and cylindrical brushes. The easiest place to start is by looking at pictures.
Above is a disc brush. It's flat and round like a pancake. This is the more common type of brush for deck configuration for smaller, walk-behind floor scrubbers. Typically, smaller scrubbers are used in commercial facilities that have smooth flooring like VCT (vinyl composition tile), sheet vinyl or polished concrete. Disc machines have greater overall down pressure than cylindrical machines, so they do a better job at cleaning tough soils or stains. The heads turn at slower rpm's than cylindrical machines as well. For these reasons, disc machines can be used to strip floor finish similar to low speed floor machines. Floors will need to be swept prior to scrubbing with disc machines since these machines are not designed to pick up any debris.
Disc machines can be fitted with different types of brushes ranging from soft nylon up through polypropylene and to abrasive grit. For floors with floor finish, brushes are usually not the ideal choice. Although they will last longer than floor pads before needing to be replaced, brushes don't offer the same surface area that a floor pad does. Hence, floor pads do a better job of cleaning soil on very flat, non-porous surfaces.
Above is a cylindrical brush. It is long and tubular . . . . . . like a cylinder or perhaps a baseball bat. These brushes clean using higher rpm's that "flick" soils away from flooring. They are commonly used in large, wide open spaces that may have small debris that is not preswept before scrubbing. Cylindrical machines will have a small hopper tray that catches solid debris and holds it so that the cleaning solution can be sucked up through the vacuum system without clogging. Cylindrical brushes are good for floors that have cracks or grout lines. Similar to disc machines cylindrical brushes come in many different filament options. There are soft bristles all the way up to abrasive bristle brushes. There are not floor pads for cylindrical heads.
1) Price. The Tennant 5680 was brought to market primarily to make the Tennant 5700 more affordable. Both units are built on the exact same frame with the same tanks and scrub head sizes. The 5700 has been around for over two decades, and for much of that time the appearance hasn't changed hardly at all from the outside. With built in price increases year after year, the ultimate in reliable walk-behind autoscrubbers slowly crept up in price and allowed competitive machines to enter the market place at more affordable prices. The 5680 redesign helped bring the pricing back into reality and delivered what the customer needed: a solid, reliable floor scrubber that can take a beating and keep delivering results.
2) Operator Controls. The Tennant 5680 is basically a simplified version of the Tennant 5700 floor scrubber. It's billed as the contractor model because the operator controls are more lever and knob instead of push button electronics. Contractors are usually looking for value when making a purchase, and the bells and whistles of the 5700 can often times push the pricing out of budget for some folks who just need a dependable, high performing floor scrubber. For example, the Tennant 5700 has a fully variable pad pressure toggle switch. The 5680 has the up position and then two position down options for disc heads and only one down pressure option for cylindrical scrub heads.
3) Options. The 5700 scrubber has several options that include HEAVY DUTY: heavy duty scrub head with upgraded brush motors and battery charger. There is an EE, explosive environment rated, option for use in special hazardous environments. The 5700 also has an XP option which includes one button scrubbing and squeegee lift. There is an ES option on the 5700 scrubber that recycles the recovery tank solution to allow for Extended Scrubbing between dump and refill cycles. There are also options for different tires and casters among other things. The Tennant 5680 is pretty standard once you pick your scrub head configuration (disk or cylindrical) and the size (28", 32" or 36").
To view Tennant 5680 floor scrubber inventory, click HERE.
To view Tennant 5700 floor scrubber inventory, click HERE.
Gov. Mike Beebe (left) and ADEC chair William Burgess (right) present a 2014 global trade award to Scott Allmendinger of SweepScrub.com. (Photo by Melissa Kordsmeier/AEDC)
SweepScrub.com was honored today (5/22/14) at the the Arkansas Governor's mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas by Governor Mike Beebe. This award recognizes Arkansas companies that have distinguished themselves as leaders in international trade. SweepScrub.com is the 2014 recipient of this award in the Small Manufacturer Exporter category.
Nominations were reviewed and evaluated by a committee of the Arkansas District Export Council (ADEC) which is comprised of government, business and education leaders from across the state.
Link to the Arkansas Business press release Click Here
Link to the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Center press release Click Here
Rudy Ortiz (ASBTDC) with Scott and Kyle Allmendinger of SweepScrub.com
The Arkansas Small Business & Technology Center (ASBTDC) assisted SweepScrub.com in its international business and exporting endeavors by providing market research and performing website analysis. Following the analysis, ASBTDC helped the Allmendingers optimize the website to improve search engine rankings and “internationalize” their site for a worldwide audience.
During his remarks at the luncheon, Scott Allmendinger thanked ASBTDC and Business Consultant Rudy Ortiz for assisting the company. Rudy is now a principal consultant with Strategic Business Services located in Scott, AR.
What fuel source or power supply should you choose for your floor cleaning equipment? Gas, propane, battery or diesel?
What power source to choose?
There are several different options to choose from when it comes to powering your cleaning equipment. These include electric power cords, battery power, propane power, gasoline power or diesel power. SweepScrub recommends choosing the largest class of cleaning equipment to safely do the job needed and that fits your budget. The name of the game in cleaning equipment is productivity. Whether you're a contract cleaner, a facility manager or even a supervisor, one of the ongoing objectives is to reduce labor costs where possible.
Cleaning equipment greatly assists in reducing overall labor costs. Pre-owned and used floor scrubbers and sweepers helps reduce total operational costs even more. When making a purchasing decision, try hard not to purchase a machine solely based on budget that ends up being undersized. We see this time and time again. The operator gets frustrated because the machine can't keep up pace. The run time may cause the operator to end his cleaning shift before the work is complete. The machine is overworked and oftentimes not properly maintained. The machine breaks down too frequently and/or gets put in the corner never to be used again. We will hear comments that the specific equipment was junk or garbage, or we'll hear that cleaning equipment in general doesn't work. All of this stems from a poor decision in purchasing the wrong equipment, and many times it's because the wrong fuel source was selected.
Cord Electric / Plug In
The entry level for all cleaning equipment is an electric power cord. Typically referred to as Small Equipment, this category includes low speed buffers (also known as swing machines or side-to-side floor machines), high speed buffers (or high speed burnishers), cord electric wet/dry vacuums and some entry level automatic scrubbers. The benefits of cord electric are a limitless supply of power so that you can keep working until the job is complete. The downside of power cords with cleaning equipment is that they are always in the way. If you're stripping floors or have a lot of solution on the floor, the cord becomes covered in solution which then has to be cleaned off. The cord is a major tripping hazard for healthcare facilities like hospitals or nursing homes. The cord also limits the operator to how far he can clean before having to stop, relocate the cord to a new outlet and then start back up. This greatly reduces productivity which is a primary reason for purchasing cleaning equipment in the first place. The bottom line on choosing cord electric powered cleaning equipment is that if the machine can do the job efficiently and safely then it might make sense to choose this power supply.
The next step up from cord electric is battery power. This is the most common fuel source in walk-behind floor cleaning equipment and small riding scrubbers and sweepers (also called micro-riders). Typically, the batteries are lead acid since they are the cheapest route to go. There are also maintenance free gel batteries that can be a good choice if you know your operators aren't going to maintain the water levels and care for the batteries properly. Replacing batteries is a very expensive cost, and if you're not careful you might find yourself without the use of your cleaning equipment if your budget doesn't allow for replacing $1000 worth of batteries. Average run times for battery powered cleaning equipment are around 2.5 hours. You're going to hear nothing but 4 or 5 hours from every sales rep that's trying to make a few bucks and seal the deal. Experts like SweepScrub.com are going to tell you the truth because we know that's what educated buyers want to hear. Maybe in a clean room in outer space with absolutely no load or friction will you get run times like 4-5 hours. Real world examples, however, will bring you back into the 2-3.5 hour range. All of it depends on the amp draw from the batteries. If you're running aggressive brushes on rough surfaces with max down pressure and very little cleaning solution all while going up and down inclines, your run time won't be nearly optimal.
Many times there are different battery pack options to choose from for a single machine. You can get higher amp rated batteries that will hold a bigger charge for longer. It'll cost you, but if you're worried about run time, then invest in a bigger battery pack. Just make sure to match your charger to the batteries you're charging. Otherwise, you'll be disappointed. Some battery chargers are adjustable. Others are one setting, and that's it. If you have one of those, and it's not set to your batteries you get to spend about $300-500 on a new battery charger.
The bottom line on battery powered cleaning equipment is this: make sure you're buying the largest piece of equipment to do the job for the square footage needed, and run the numbers so that you're confident the piece of equipment you're buying can effectively clean what you need cleaned according to the maintenance schedules you have in place. If the entire facility has to be cleaned every day, then you need to make sure that your autoscrubber or floor sweeper can clean all of the building on a single charge. Recharging batteries usually takes all night. You can't just throw the machine on a charger over lunch and expect it be ready for another 3 hours of hard work after you chow down some nachos and a diet soda.
Briefly, I'd like to discuss mid size riding floor scrubbers that have battery powered options. If you're one of the few facilities that absolutely must use battery power, and under no circumstances can you have engine powered equipment in your building, there are some options. The machines are competitively priced when new, but the maintenance of these machines can be outrageous. The battery packs alone can be $4000 or more. The chargers can be $4000 or more. The battery packs only last about 2-4 years on average, so be prepared for these high maintenance costs. SweepScrub is as good as anyone when sourcing used equipment to provide low cost, excellent quality alternatives to new cleaning equipment. However, when it comes to these mid size riders with their huge, industrial battery packs and chargers, there will always be the increased costs of the new battery packs. It would be like putting a new engine in every used car on the used car lot. It would make the cost of the used car not so appealing anymore. The same is true for these battery powered behemoths. We will help you source them and can be as competitive as the next guy, but try to find your way into an engine powered machine if possible.
Engine: propane, gasoline and diesel
Propane is by far the most popular engine source available for industrial floor cleaning equipment. The major reason is that this type of equipment is used in facilities where there are also lots of forklifts. Forklifts commonly run on propane, so the fuel source is readily available on site. Propane is popular because in theory, it's an endless supply because there will be propane refilling tanks on site or at least spare tanks on site. The engines are made by major suppliers like GM, so the quality is good and consistent. Properly maintained the engines can run for 10,000 hours. The key there is "properly maintained." A poorly maintained "anything" can be ruined in 100 hours by a negligent operator whether it's an autoscrubber or a toothbrush. Some estimations of the prevalence of propane power in the floor cleaning equipment industry suggest that up to 80-90% of all engine powered cleaning equipment is propane powered. There are certainly more of these types of machines available on the aftermarket from SweepScrub than any other fuel source for engine powered scrubbers and sweepers.
Using the exact same engine with different fuel feeding equipment, gas powered floor cleaning equipment does exist albeit at a much smaller rate. If you have several pieces of outdoor equipment or vehicles then you probably have a gasoline fuel source nearby to draw from. In that case, gas powered engines would make sense for you. Indoor facilities with lots of forklifts usually don't have access to gasoline easily.
Diesel is slightly more common than gas, but certainly nowhere near as common as propane. Diesel has its obvious advantages. These engines are usually different than the propane/gas engines. They're typically built to hold up in harsher environments and to take a little more use before wearing out. They're also very popular up north and to our Canadian friends where there's more cold weather.
With the influx of second hand cleaning equipment like floor scrubbers and floor sweepers, it can be difficult to know what's out there on the market. More importantly, it's difficult to know what you're actually paying for. Buyer beware: there's a lot of junk out there sold by cousin Eddie. Let me tell you cousin Eddie's sales pitch. Are you ready?
"Runs great. Has some scratches. Comes with new brushes!"
Wanna know what you're really getting? Probably a machine that's not only discontinued, but in fact it's obsolete. What's the difference? Obsolete means not only is it no longer in production, the manufacturer isn't even making parts for it. So when you get that old piece of junk with your "new brush," you'll be dead in the water the first time you need a single part (other than the brush of course). And what's with people wagging a "new brush" at you like it's a new engine? It's a brush folks, a brush. Brushes fall out of the sky in this industry. You can get them almost anywhere in any shape, any color, high quality, low quality and at any time and price. Cousin Eddie probably bought the brush from SweepScrub.com since we have such great prices on industrial sweeper and scrubber floor brushes. The obsolete floor equipment you're buying, however, has about 2500 parts on it that no one makes. And no one stocks used parts for these dinosaurs (see post on Scrubber Graveyards).
SweepScrub doesn't sell obsolete machines. How can you ever stand behind a product if you can't support future maintenance of that machine with spare parts? You can't, so we don't sell obsolete machines. We offer used Tennant floor scrubbers and sweepers that are still in production. We also offer machines that have been recently discontinued because Tennant (by law) must support those machines with a supply of parts for 10 years (on industrial and 7 years on commercial machines). Recently discontinued floor scrubbers and sweepers are great value purchases. The prices tend to drop on discontinued models when the newer models come out. This provides a great opportunity to purchase proven machines at discounted prices.
So, if you're still considering that "runs great" machine from cousin Eddie and comparing his really good price with a fully refurbished Tennant floor machine from SweepScrub, be sure to ask what else you get with his machine besides a "new brush." Check out his policies page and compare it to our Terms and Conditions page. Ask him for some references. Ask him how he ships his used floor machines and guarantees his warranties. Ask him if he's a Tennant dealer with access to genuine Tennant OEM parts. Ask to speak to his Service Manager to get the real story on the particular machine of interest along with what all was done during the refurbishing process. Here's one: ask him for the serial number so you can verify the year the machine was actually made. You don't really want to buy a first year model of a machine that was in production for 14 years, and it's now been discontinued for 5 years (that would make your machine 19 years old if you're counting).
In closing, we all have a cousin Eddie that we love dearly. Just don't buy an old Tennant floor scrubber from him without doing your homework and contacting SweepScrub.com first.
So, is there a graveyard out there somewhere full of discontinued, obsolete, damaged, broken down or otherwise useless floor cleaning equipment? Sorry folks. The answer is NO, but I urge you to keep searching. I know SweepScrub.com could certainly make excellent use of this mythical You-Pull-It-Scrubber parts depot.
One day you might be lucky enough to find someone that is dragging the exact piece of equipment you're looking for to the dump, and if the stars align you can catch him before he tosses it in, beg him to strip off the one rusty part you need and under pay him for his troubles just to revive your aging machine for another go at life. The MacGyver in all of us longs for these kinds of success stories.
The fact is that our cleaning industry is simply peanuts compared to the automobile industry. Preowned cleaning equipment, similar to used cars, is really still in its infancy stages of growth. The volume of cleaning machines out there is nothing compared to cars, so when a new model of autoscrubber comes out, there's maybe a 5-10 year window before the numbers of the older model start to circle the drain. The manufacturers only have to support parts for these machines for around a decade or less by law. The newer models usually work better, are more efficient at cleaning, vacuum recovery, battery life and are easier to use for the operator. Most of the time, it just makes sense to replace the older unit with a newer model. Not necessarily new, but newer.
Let's get back to used parts. If the part is still in production, why why why why why would someone pay good money for a used part that has ZERO warranty? Is it just for the thrill of the hunt? The bubble gum wrapper, safety pin, swatch of silk and a compass combining their earthly powers to repair a broken down scrubber without having to submit to sourcing the actual OEM part that came with the original floor machine? I guess to each his own, but it's far simpler to just ask for a discount and order the part sitting on the shelf if you ask me. So the next time you're feeling like a barnyard rocket scientist, call SweepScrub.com when you're finished searching, ask us for a discount, and let us help get your machine back to working order. Unless of course the machine is discontinued or obsolete along with all the parts you need, and then let's talk about replacing your cleaning equipment with something better.
Which brush pattern do you need for your floor sweeper? Did you even know there were different patterns of bristles you could choose from for most floor sweepers? Without getting into the different materials such as polypropylene, nylon, union, wire, natural fiber or any combination of these, let's just take a look at the actual patterns of the brush filaments in this discussion.
Specifically with sweepers, we're referring almost exclusively to cylindrical brushes, cylindrical brooms or as they're also referred to as tube brooms or tubular brushes.
Full Fill Brush - As the name implies, the full fill brush appears to be fully covered in brush filaments. While not as good at picking up larger debris due to the fact that there are no pockets to grab or scoop with, this brush pattern is good at collecting smaller particles such as dirt, dust and sand. With the increased surface area from all of the brush fibers, this cylindrical brush pattern holds and moves more of this lighter soil into the hopper than other brush patterns and does it more efficiently.
Sand Wedge Brush - An exclusive Tennant sweeping broom, this patented brush has a unique zig zag fill pattern that combines full fill in certain areas along with some gaps or pockets for scooping mid sized trash and debris. It also has at the points of where the zig meets the zag this wedge feature that helps break up stubborn built up or compacted soil.
Full Fill Tube Broom - This style of cylindrical broom is typically seen on larger, outdoor sweepers. The material is usually of a heavier duty and possibly heavier gauge filament to withstand the increased sweeping action expected of an outdoor industrial sweeper. By having every spot on the cylinder covered with a bristle this tubular broom pattern can effectively sweep uneven floors or surfaces better than a brush with creative gaps designed for other specific purposes.
Window Brush - Another patented Tennant brush, this interesting checkered pattern sweeper brush is designed to trap smaller debris in the pockets, or windows, between the brush fibers and to carry that trash into the hopper. The Tennant window brush is particularly good at sweeping up paper scraps.
6/8 Double Row Brush - Coming in either 6 rows of 2 or 8 rows of 2, the double row brush is one of the most common floor sweeping brushes on the market. Let's be honest here. One reason it's common is because it costs less. Why does it cost less? Because 1) it's not patented 2) it doesn't have as much material (i.e. the actual bristles to do the sweeping job) and 3) did we mention it's been around a while, as in it's not patented. All joking aside, there's another reason the double row brush is popular. It's a good brush pattern that's a proven winner for general sweeping. There's nothing wrong with sticking with a solid and proven sweeping brush design, especially when it's affordable.
Patrol Brush - Similar to the double row brush in appearance and filament layout, the patrol brush actually has a very specific purpose to its design. The bristles have more spacing between the rows which allows the floor sweeper to sweep larger areas at higher speeds. Yes, you can go fast and actually pick up trash and debris at the same time. You know what we call that? EFFICIENCY, my friend. Isn't that the name of the game in the cleaning industry in general? The more productive we can be with our cleaning tools, the more work we can complete and move onto the next job. The patrol brush can be matched up with a large, powerful and reliable sweeper like the Tennant 800 to cover large, outdoor areas quickly while still collecting cans, paper, leaves and other debris in the hopper and collecting the smaller dirt and dust at the same time.
If you've got a question about brush patterns, please contact SweepScrub.com for the answers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-449-0447.
If you've found yourself struggling to get your old sweeper fired back up for the sweeping season, maybe it's time to consider a new piece of equipment. Maybe it's time to consider paying about half what it costs for a new piece of cleaning equipment but getting almost the same exact quality of a new machine. That's what we do at SweepScrub.com. We take in used or preowned pieces of Tennant cleaning equipment, and we restore them from the inside out. All machines get a thorough inspection by our Tennant certified technicians. Brush motors, drive motors, hydraulic motors, switches, gaskets, seals, tanks, hoses and everything else gets inspected and/or replaced if needed. If it's battery powered scrubbers or sweepers, all new batteries are installed. All new squeegees, skirts, filters and brushes are installed on every refurbished machine. If you're in the market for new/used cleaning equipment, you should really be considering buying preowned from SweepScrub.com. We provide warranties on our machines, but we rarely ever have calls about warranty issues because it costs us less to do the job right the first time and just restore the machine properly. We also have a state of the art paint booth so that we can restore the appearance of the machine to as close to new as possible. We know that if your machine looks new when you receive it, it tends to be taken care of better by the operator. We take pride in our workmanship, and we want our customers to be proud of their SweepScrub.com purchases.