Orbital floor machines are quickly becoming one of the most popular new machines for janitorial and custodial professionals. With so many of these new products on the market, how can you decide which one is best for you? This guide will help you make the most informed purchasing decision possible.
Weight Equals Performance
Weight makes all the difference when it comes to orbital floor machines. Machines with the greatest head pressure prove to be the most efficient and effective for any surface prep or cleaning task. Your floors will strip faster, screen better, and scrub more effectively with a heavier machine. A 150 pound machine will perform better than a 100 pound machine and a 200 pound machine will perform better than a 150 pound machine. When choosing an orbital machine always look for a model that weighs more than 200 pounds. Of course, be sure that the machine has removable weights so that the machine can be made lighter if needed for transport purposes.
It will be important to review the motor specifications since you are choosing the heaviest machine available. Your new orbital machine should have a 1.5 horsepower motor or greater. The motor should also operate at 3,400 RPM’s or more. There are products on the market with only 1.0 horsepower and 1,700 RPM motors, but these machines do not perform nearly as well as the higher powered machines. Buying a lower rated motor will cost far more money in additional labor than you will save in the cost of purchasing these less expensive machines.
There are two primary wear items on an orbital floor machine, the isolators and the eccentric bearing. These are the main components that bear the brunt of the machines high speed orbital motion. Be sure to check the rubber isolators that connect the pad driver plate to the main deck of the machine. You will want a machine built with isolators that have a minimum 1” diameter to ensure maximum durability. The eccentric bearing is also a costly wear item. Many machines have an expected bearing life of only 250 hours, while others will last upwards of 800 to 1,000 hours. To ensure that your bearing will last as long as possible, be sure to request a machine that uses an eccentric bearing that has a minimum outside diameter of 3.5” and a thickness of at least ¾”. This size bearing has shown to have the greatest life expectancy.
One of the most common accessories for the orbital floor machines is a dust containment system. These systems can be very effective at containing dust and keeping the work area clean. Be sure that your machine offers a dust containment system, and it should have a standard 1.5” vacuum port. This is the industry standard size vacuum hose so just about any type of dust collection system will hook up to a 1.5” vacuum port. Any other size may be a hint that you will need to buy a special vacuum system just to be used with the orbital machine.
The warranty coverage on a piece of equipment gives you piece of mind that the manufacturer stands behind the quality of their machine. Always ask what warranty coverage is offered for your orbital machine. The best warranties in the industry will be a comprehensive three year parts and labor warranty for all parts excluding wear items. Any warranty less than three years should make you skeptical about the quality of the machine you are purchasing.
By following these simple guidelines, you can be sure that you are selecting the best model when buying an orbital floor machine.
Product Manager Equipment and Retail at Betco Corporation.