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They come in various sizes, shapes, textures and colors, so determining which floor pad departments should use is often dictated by performance. Facility managers have found that each has a long list of benefits, but according to distributors, the best bet for improved cleaning performance is the octagonal floor pad.“I am a big proponent because of the leading edges on the octagonal floor pad,” says Dana Kowalski, director of marketing for Arnold Sales, a jan/san distributor based in Bay City, Mich. “That leading edge provides great floor contact, making for better performance at cleaning, stripping and burnishing floors.”Distributors aren’t alone regarding their positive opinions of these pads. Custodial mangers are experiencing performance benefits first-hand after testing the floor pad.“The octagon pads will get you better results in less time, thus reducing labor costs,” says Jeff Wimpy, regional account manager at Matera Paper Co., Austin, Texas. “Every time I demonstrate the pads for departments, managers are impressed.”In fact, many mangers are converting to the eight-sided options. “We’ve converted most of our round business to octagon,” says Kowalski. “There are some individuals who are resistant to change and still use round pads, but about 90 percent of what we sell are now octagonal.”
Round floor pads are the most common option used in facilities. And many of the benefits that facility managers are familiar with when using the round options are also advantages to the octagon pads. Take for example the face contact, which is the amount of surface area of the pad that comes into contact with the flooring. According to Kowalski, the face contact on the octagonal pad is very similar to that of a circular pad when managers evaluate performance. The octagonal pads are also available in the industry standard color-coded options, making them an easy substitute. Also, just like their circular counterparts, octagonal pads can be used with various types of floor equipment. Custodial managers won’t need any special machines when incorporating the eight-sided pads into their floor care program.“Any machine that uses a floor pad can use this octagon pad as a replacement,” says Kowalski. “No exceptions.”As far as mounting the pad and operating the equipment, there is no additional training necessary either. But, Kowalski does point to one concern customers may have using the octagonal pad for the first time.“When workers put the pad on the pad driver and they see a portion of the pad driver because it isn’t covered by a round pad, they shouldn’t worry,” he says. “Not much shows, but departments aren’t being short changed on material on the floor.”
Leading The Way
Although there are many similarities between these eight-sided pads and traditional circular options, there are also enough differences that might make the switch worthwhile. According to the product manufacturer, the octagonal pads are ideal for custodial managers looking for the highest shine, the quickest cleaning and stripping, and the highest performance. Distributors attribute this improved performance to the leading edge available on the octagonal pad, versus the passive round edge on the circular pad. Every time the pad rotates, the edge comes around, providing additional scraping action.“When using an octagon pad, you essentially have eight sides cutting into the finish, versus one side with a circular pad,” says Wimpy. “When using a gloss meter, you will see a higher shine in less time with the octagon pads versus a traditional circular pad. You can also remove more finish in less time when stripping with a black or emerald octagon pad.”According to Kowalski, the leading edge provides a scraping action, which leads to improved performance. “Just like a cutting tool, the most important part is that leading edge,” he says. “It does most of the work.”The manufacturer touts that with the irregular surface on the octagonal pads, departments will see results more quickly and at a higher level. If that is the case, incorporating these pads could improve cleaning times, saving valuable labor dollars for departments.
Although the pad manufacturer can’t quantify the claims, there are additional benefits custodial managers have found when using the octagonal floor pads. “In my experience, if the floor machine comes into contact with a cord, this octagonal pad is more likely to kick the cord out of the way, as oppose to grabbing it and wrapping it around the pad,” says Kowalski. “And considering how expensive it is for departments to replace cords in parts and labor, this benefit is a big deal.”His clients also comment that the pads are less likely to throw slurry when stripping and scrubbing, and they will kick away sand and other debris, which reduces the risk of developing “thorns” on the bottom of the pad. These added perks are thought to be the result of the irregular edge and the voids between the high points in the octagonal pads. According to the manufacturer, when using this pad, custodians don’t put constant pressure on a round edge equally, meaning there is more pressure spread between the high points. This causes a “hit-miss” action, which is what might lead to these experiences from custodial workers. Distributors agree that the octagonal pad can be easily substituted for the circular options most facilities are currently using. For custodial managers looking for higher performance with less effort, these pads should not be overlooked. The proof will be evident in the results.
Proper Pad Maintenance
No matter which shape floor pad departments use, it is essential to properly maintain them. If done correctly, the floor pads will perform better and last longer. To make this happen, managers are advised to train staff on the proper cleaning techniques and frequencies. Once a pad has been used, it contains soils and chemicals that can become harmful if not removed. Allowing these to dry on the pad can damage the fibers and negatively effect future cleaning performance. Instead, manufacturers recommend storing “soiled” pads in plastic until workers are able to clean them properly.Cleaning should occur after every use and can be easily completed using a hose with hot, clean water. Workers should be trained to remove as much of the soil and finish from the pad as possible before storing it away.