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The “Skinny” on Rider Scrubbers

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It is not surprising that I get many advice requests, questions or comments about the rider scrubber. What brand rider scrubber you ask? It doesn’t matter. One week it could be regarding Tennant, perhaps the Model 7400. The next week the majority of questions I have in my e-mails would be concerning Nilfisk-Advance scrubbers, again, perhaps the model 3800 small electric rider scrubber. The rider scrubber as a whole is a very high maintenance piece of equipment.

So, if you are in the need for such a piece of equipment and have never owned, maintained, purchased parts for, or been responsible for a rider scrubber, let me enlighten you.

First of all, I am not attempting to scare anyone away from buying one. You just need to know what you will be getting yourself into. They can be well worth having one around your facility. The man-hours that are saved more than pays for itself. The price one may expect to purchase a rider scrubber goes across the spectrum from what I call a throw-away for as little as $10,000 to as much as $40,000 or more, depending on the options. Some of the options are well worth the money spent, such as the squeegee wand attachment. Another option I like is the water recycling system that is sold under a variety of names. American Lincoln calls it the “Camel Recycle System.” Tennant has used the name “SRS Solution Recycling System.” You need to check the options that are available.

Please allow me to move on to the jest of today’s article and that is outlining the maintenance items one needs to perform on a regular basis.

#1 The scrub brushes
This is the heart of your machine. Without good working brushes your time spent is for “not.” Check the scrubbing pattern on a daily basis to ensure the brushes are scrubbing the surface correctly. The pattern should be, in my opinion, 2” if your using cylindrical brushes. Next, on a daily basis check the brushes for foreign materials such as steel banding or plastic clear wrap. Sometimes these items wrap themselves around the brush and actually could do considerable damage.

Always replace your scrub brushes once they have wore to 1/2 of an inch. Never let it go below the 1/2 inch mark.

#2 The squeegees and skirts.
On a daily basis check all the squeegees, rear and side for wear or mis-alignment. It is always a good to hand wipe with a towel the bottom of the blades after every scrub. This helps keep the dirt build up off the squeegee, keeping it clean and ready for the next scrubbing event. Always keep an exact set of squeegees in stock. And I always insist that you order new blades the same day you pull your last set. Also, be aware that there are different materials that squeegee blades are made out of, depending on the customer’s needs. You may have a lot of oil or oil substance that must be scrubbed off the floor. So in that case, you would want to order an oil-resistant squeegee blade. This is just one example.

#3 The recovery Tank
The recovery “dirty water” tank should be cleaned after every daily scrub. To perform this maintenance check, remove the access doors. Next remove or lower the drain hose. This can be done usually over a floor drain or done outside. Loosen and remove the drain plug. Next, spray into the tank flushing the sludge off the sides of the tank. Remove the ball float and rinse as well. Drain the tank completely. Reinstall all the fore mentioned items.

#4 All the hoses
Visually inspect the vacuum hoses for wear and damage or for clogs. The drain hose must be checked as well. Replace as needed. Recently I received a call stating that the hose vacuum to the fan impeller had collapsed and was not picking up the water off the floor. What could it be? I told him to check the hoses for a clog. So, this, as you can see, could become problematic.

This article is meant to enlighten the person who is not familiar with sweeper and scrubbers. I hope that was accomplished today. As with all equipment, you have the usual planned maintenance, i.e. the I/C engine, hydraulic system, steering brakes, tires and…you get the picture.

Thanks for reading Creamer’s Corner. If you wish to contact me please email me at or call at 800/346-2319.

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