“A Biiiig Issue”Published 16/11, 2017 at 14:59
Grinding and polishing of concrete floors has become increasingly popular around the world over the last 15 years. It all started with the manufacturer HTC Sweden in the middle of the 1990s and soon other manufacturers joined like Diamatic and King Concepts. This industry has now developed into a plethora of suppliers.
PDi editor in chief Jan Hermansson reports.
In 2000 the market exploded and at the show World of Concrete suppliers of concrete floor grinding and polishing machines and tools flooded the show’s outdoor area. At that stage it was obvious the market did not have room for all these players. It got overheated and a few years later just half of the players were still in business.
To grind and polish old and new concrete floors is a market with enormous potential. But not all markets are ready for it. Sweden, which has been using the method since the early 1990s, is still not extensively using the technique.
Markets that have embraced grinding and polishing include the US, Australia and China. To be a player in this field, whether as a manufacturer, supplier or contractor endurance and financial muscle is needed. And to provide that the right people, correct method, machines and tools are needed.
Concrete floor grinding and polishing is a growing business all over the world. The US and Australia are dominant markets with many players. China is increasing fast but currently there are not many professional contractors. For manufactures of machines and tools the situation is totally the opposite and China still has the largest number of OEM manufacturers.
Other markets in Asia, like Thailand, India and Vietnam, have a modestly growing grinding and polishing industry. A market that has picked up is the Middle East after years of recession. Europe is generally increasing with growing markets like Germany, Benelux, France, Scandinavia and the UK. Also in parts of Africa grinding and polishing is increasing with leading countries like South Africa. In South America, Brazil was emerging some years ago, but due to the economic situation in the country this business has stagnated.
What do the service providers look like?
In the Western world there are contractors that also offer concrete cutting and demolition and specialised flooring services. The picture is almost the same all over Europe and North America and Australia. There is a growing number of concrete cutting firms taking up concrete floor grinding and also polishing to some extent, as they already are on the sites performing concrete cutting and light demolition. But the entrepreneur sector growing fast is the specialised flooring companies that previously mainly performed epoxy flooring tasks. In Asia, Middle East, Africa and South America the specialized flooring firms are dominating but the services are also increasing from concrete cutters.
One country where concrete floor grinding and polishing has not yet taken off is Japan. The majority of the large manufacturers are represented but there is very little activity from this market, but the potential is significant.
More professional branch association would help this industry to grow. It is only in the US where these associations are operating. There is not an international association and so far concrete floor grinding and polishing aspects are included in national and international concrete cutting and demolition associations.
What’s new in the market?
Perhaps the biggest news in the past year is Husqvarna Construction Products’ acquisition of HTC Sweden. This followed a few months’ after the purchase of Pullman Ermator, the manufacturer of dust extraction equipment used in concrete floor grinding and polishing applications. Over the years Husqvarna has acquired a number of competitors, who have been absorbed into the Husqvarna brand, but with HTC and Pullman Ermator it appears they will continue as separate brands. Another thing we have seen over the last years is that strong US brands have been trying their luck on the European market and have been doing a good job to implement their products. Some examples are Superabrasive, National Flooring Equipment and Sase. Sase has been sold on the German market quite a while but now the company is also taking the step in to the Northern markets and is starting out with Sweden. The Swedish manufacturer and distributor Jerneviken Maskin has started to sell the full range om Sase equipment.
Blastrac’s new shot blaster
Earlier this year Blastrac launched its new portable, lightweight shot blasting system 1-8DM for small jobs. It runs on single-phase electrical power and has a manual travel speed and 222mm blast pattern. This small machine can be used as a complementary unit for larger jobs, and for the preparation of concrete prior to wood floor installations or applications, such as overlays, paint, or decorative coatings. It can accommodate close-up work next to walls and other vertical protrusions when side magnet seals are removed.
Shot pattern reducers are available in 100mm, 125mm and 150mm. The Blastrac 1-8DM can prepare, strip, clean and profile in one easy step. There is no rinsing or drying time and the profile provides a better surface for coating adhesion. At the Blastrac/Diamatic booth at World of Concrete this year, visitors were greeted with the new BDC 122 110V large bag dust collector with an H-class Hepa filter, and several revamped Diamatic propane grinders with Briggs and Stratton engines. Among them were the 26kW, 711mm BMG 735P, and the BG 300 edger with a pivoting head that hugs walls closer and more consistently than before.
The US manufacturer of concrete floor grinding equipment BW Manufacturing has introduced the D-1800, the latest in surface preparation technology. The D-1800 is the response to years of contractors’ requests to solve the messy, time-consuming issue of dust removal from the machine. The hydraulic dump box has the ability to dump 250litres of material in seconds. Other features include the BH-18 Blasthead, which has the same feathered blast pattern found in the BH-16 Blasthead, but delivering increased production with a 50mm wider path. Replaceable inner liners increase housing life and cushioned swivel casters allow for easy manoeuvring over flat surfaces. Also, new seals, floater plates, and shot separator system allow for increased output and decreased shot consumption. Other chassis upgrades include a planetary gear drive for greater low-end torque and faster drive speeds. New controls and seating position give the operator a better view in front and behind machine attachments. A new tilted hood allows easier access for maintenance, as well as other internal advancements to decrease service intervals and increase production.
BW Manufacturing is located in Comstock Park just north of Grand Rapids in Michigan. The company was founded in 1996 and its goal has been to build high-quality, easily serviceable, long-lasting surface preparation equipment. To achieve this BW manufacture all of its equipment in one location at Comstock Park.
DRS-FLOOR by Dr. Schulze
The German manufacturer Dr. Schulze has an ambition to offer its customers the complete flooring solution from a single source under the trademark of DRS-FLOOR. This consists of the following:
• non-stop customer service seven days a week for all technical and commercial questions about any type of flooring project. Engineers provide customers with suggestions for sequence of working, application of chemicals, recommend optimum method for achieving the required floor quality, and provide estimation of a project’s self-costs.
• full range of chemicals for transformation of normal concrete to high-performance industrial or commercial floor.
• complete range of materials for repairing cracks, joints and other surface defects.
• heavy-duty machines for all types of floor processing.
• all possible diamond tools for any application.
• wide range of dust collectors and separators.
Dr. Schulze launched several new products in 2017 including the multi-blade cutter / scarifier DBF-330 two in one. This combines two functions in the same machine. It can be used with a normal 300mm diameter milling drum equipped with carbide tools, or up to 40 diamond blades of 270mm diameter.
Depending on the floor material the machine equipped with diamond blades can cut to a depth of approximately 30mm at the maximum cutting width of 333mm. The most efficient way of material removal can be achieved by subsequent cutting of the concrete surface with diamond blades, placed between 6mm to 10 mm apart, followed by scarifying with a carbide drum in the cross direction. This ensures removing 15mm to 25 mm of concrete in one working sequence, which can be repeated several times to achieve nearly any thickness of material removal.
The DBF-330 is equipped with an electro-hydraulic feed drive with continuous speed adjustment, removable weights and LED light for comfortable operation.
Dr. Schulze also added the new grinding machine DBS-300 Vario, for processing of corners along walls and of smaller areas with limited access. The main feature of this machine is its adjustable speed from 0 to 1200 revs/min, which enables application of PCD milling, metal bond grinding and resin bonded polishing tools. Water tank and cardan-type fixation of the tool holder makes the DBF-300 one of the most universal single head grinders available.
The DBS-300 Vario is equipped with 4kW 230V engine, frequency convertor and electric adjustment of the machine's height. By this adjustment the grinding angle can be changed and also possible to position the machine where the grinding head pushes against the wall by itself, enabling precise operation.
For the processing of joints and cracks Dr. Schulze offers the multi-purpose chaser DSC-200. Due to its highest flexibility and wide range of accessories it is suitable for all repairing and construction jobs on old and new concrete floors. All work with the machine can be done completely dry and without any dust pollution due to opposite direction of cutting tool rotation and effective dust collection system. The machine is available with various types of the main drive and can be used indoors and outdoors.
With the aim of further reduction of operation costs for contractors using Dr. Schulze machines, the more efficient, powerful and easy-to-operate grinding machines above 800mm working width are offered by the company. These are the triple head planetary machine DBS-820-3H and quadruple head planetary DBS-820-4H, both available in manual or remotely controlled versions.
In all its multi-head grinders Dr. Schulze uses sealed oil-filled full gear transmission. Dr. Schulze said that no gearboxes of any of the machines sold in last four years have been opened for repair or maintenance. Besides the annual oil change, there is nothing else to be done with these gearboxes.
In 2016/2017 Dr. Schulze´s flooring solutions have received their own website WWW.DRS-FLOOR.COM, YouTube channel and Facebook public.
Another US manufacturer, General Equipment has a new surface grinder, SG12/E designed for small surface preparation projects. SG12/E single-head surface grinder offers high performance, durability and ease-of-use, making it ideal for professional contractors and do-it-yourself homeowners.
Powered by a totally enclosed, fan-cooled 1.1kW electric motor, the SG12/E features a single rotating disc with a 305mm working width. Offering a top disc rotation speed of 250revs/min, applications include grinding concrete surfaces, removing mastics, adhesives, epoxies and urethanes, removing rubber carpet backing and industrial residues, and polishing terrazzo and marble floor surfaces.
Built for portability, the SG12/E includes a folding adjustable handle that makes it easier to transport in small vehicles. The compact frame and wheel position allow for easy manoeuvring up and down stairwells.
The SG12/E’s frame includes an integral bail design for loading and unloading with a forklift. Extra capacity, self-aligning ball bearings and a heavy-duty V-belt reduction drive system are standard. A removable safety and dust shield surrounding the rotating disc helps contain airborne dust and limits material contamination, while also protecting the machine’s internal components.
For maximum safety, the SG12/E includes the Quik-Stop deadman motor switch that immediately stops the grinder’s motor in the event the operator loses control of the machine. An 11.3m long extension cord is standard, complete with a GFI for added safety.
The SG12/E accommodates the same wide variety of attachments available for General Equipment’s larger, dual-head SG24 Series surface grinders. This includes grinding stones, scarifiers, wire brushes, the SCRAPE-R-TACH Coatings Removal System and the DIAM-A-TACH Diamond Segment Grinding System.
The Italian manufacturer of concrete floor grinding and polishing machines Klindex has boosted production and marketing during the year. A number of new machines have been launched and the manufacturer is pushing hard in the American market through their new US subsidiary.
Klindex has recently launched Max Orbit for use on any surface. It can reach narrow spaces, flush with walls, and allow operators to work with the handle at any inclination. The roto-orbital movement makes crystallization fast and easy. The double rotational, orbital movement drastically reduces machine attrition on surfaces to be crystallised, making the job light and easy for inexperienced operators. The Maxi Orbit movement causes thousands of vortexes on the tool drawing the dirt upwards and provide unequalled cleaning on any surface.
Another new Klindex product is the Bella floor-polishing machine. It is available with motors from 1.3kW to 2.9kW and is ideal for cleaning, treatment, grinding and polishing of any surface. Bella features all the interchangeable accessories to overcome all challenges that occur at construction sites.
Klindex also recently launched the Expander 530 propane powered grinding and polishing machine, with patented geared mono-rotating planetary system. The Expander 530 allows independence from generators or mains power. It combines its weight with a working section of 530mm, providing high productivity rates and constant performance. Main advantages are no performance drop and loss of time caused by the power grid; mono-rotating planetary; free from the hassle and costs of extension cords; no need of a generator; accurate and reliable adjustable planetary speed; low operating vibrations; light and easy to manoeuvre; ideal for indoor and outdoor applications; dry or wet grinding and standard 46litre water tank.
National Flooring Equipment
The US surface preparation company National Flooring Equipment launched the Helix planetary grinder earlier this year. It combines ease of transport, manoeuvrability and edge-grinding capabilities in a machine for small commercial or residential jobs. The Helix is a 406mm planetary grinder that creates the ideal profile for new coatings. The machine features an edge grinder, dual speed operation, an adjustable handle and a floating dust skirt.
The Helix’s handle offers operators a range of options. Users can detach the handle from the base, fold it into multiple positions and adjust its height, making it easy to store and transport. The Helix offers an LED light incorporated into the handle so that operators can assess the scratch pattern and ensure maximum efficiency.
“We designed the machine in response to customer feedback to make sure it is engineered specifically for end users,” said NFE president Derek Olson. “The design of the Helix means it is ideal for manoeuvring and transporting during small residential or light commercial jobs.
One key benefit of this machine is its edge-grinding capabilities. Whereas the majority of grinders are only able to reach within 25mm to 50mm of a wall, the Helix has an edge grinding portion that means it can reach within 12mm of the wall on either side of the grinding head. This dramatically reduces labour intensive hand grinding needed to complete the job.”
Also new is the GP700 concrete grinder and polisher. This is ideal for preparing concrete floors for topical coatings, overlays and adhesive, while also providing the variety of tooling and power to deliver a polished floor. There is also a propane version of this machine.
Another new product is the GP3000 concrete grinder and polisher. The 711mm cleaning path and increased grinding head pressure make this an ideal machine for commercial and industrial projects.
German manufacturer Schwamborn is able to compare different methods of shot blasting, scarifying, bush hammering and grinding for preparing floor surfaces. The aim is to enlarge the surface to maximize the adhesion of the flooring to be applied. Racks, cavities and parts of flooring that have lifted indicate poor preparation of flooring surfaces. The cause is often an incorrectly prepared surface. For industrial areas, the quality of the surface preparation is crucial to the durability, cost-effectiveness and sustained use.
The common methods for surface preparation are scarifying, shot blasting, bush hammering and grinding. Depending on surface characteristics and later usage, different methods may need to be combined to improve results. Despite diverse practical tests, there is no general rule for preparing industrial flooring surfaces. The surfaces on building sites as well as the requirements of the flooring to be laid are often too different. However, it is always important to be aware of the effects of the types and methods of preparation on the tensile properties of surfaces as these have a decisive influence on the quality and durability of industrial flooring.
The conically shaped tips of bush hammering tools break up the surface without the impact forces affecting the surface and or permanently damaging the structure. With this method, the craftsman obtains a degree of surface roughness similar to that achieved with shot blasting.
Advantages are no blasting lines, relatively coarse debris generated, which is easier to remove, and the debris does not close any pores and less work involved in preparing edges.
Disadvantages are that tool costs are relatively high if surfaces are large and the area coverage is lower than with shot blasting
A basic distinction is made between chisel scarifiers and lamella scarifiers. Loose lamellas on a shaft are passed over the surface as they rotate, enabling the tips to act on the surface. This also abrades the top surface but compared to chisel scarifiers gives much finer results. Whereas the chisel scarifier makes deep cuts into the surface and is suitable for roughly removing larger irregularities or damaged surfaces, a lamella scarifier gives much more even results, but does not cut as deeply as a chisel scarifier. Scarifying is a good way of removing thicker layers of damaged screed or concrete floors. Uneven areas can be removed and gradients abraded exactly as required.
Main advantage is that scarifying evens out large irregularities efficiently. Disadvantages are surface damage, particularly in non-visible areas. Scarifying may result in large amounts of coarse, loose concrete chips or pebble debris being left behind.
With this method, steel balls are impacted onto the floor by a rotor, collected together with the abraded material and then reused. Shot blasting is mainly utilized to remove cement slurries from newly concreted areas. However, it is also used to clean or prepare surfaces before applying floor coverings, coatings, resins or tiles. Shot blasting can be used to remove dirt, coatings, as well as paint and rubber residues.
Main advantages are high speed and that the method is relatively cheap. Disadvantages are blasting lines, increased material consumption for subsequent coating processes and surface irregularities are not removed
Grinding is a horizontal movement on the surface using diamond tools. The diamond grit is mainly embedded in the metal of the tool and removes material by cutting into the surface. Using a grinding machine can significantly cut the costs of levelling surfaces with filler and recoating. When used in conjunction with high-performance industrial dust collectors, the amount of dust created by the process can be significantly reduced.
The main advantages are low material consumption for filling processes, no blasting or milling lines. Since the surface is treated horizontally, all the abraded debris is removed. There is a low noise level compared to other preparation methods. Main disadvantage is higher tool costs.
The new Schwamborn DSM 250
The new Schwamborn DSM 250 has a swivelling grinding head that allows three working positions of left, right and centre that automatically adapts to the wall contour during edge grinding, even in corners.
The DSM 250 allows easy and uncomplicated grinding of concrete, screed and stone floors for the removal of glue and filler or the levelling of uneven floors. Schwamborn developed a diamond system with accessories for all floor types and floor status with the ETX-Easy Tool Exchange for subsurface preparation, grinding or polishing.
As all grinding machines of Schwamborn the DSM 250 uses a diamond floating device for durabilty, a maximum productivity and low vibrations. The advantages of the Schwamborn DSM 250 can be obtained by scanning the QR code.
Schwamborn also launched the remotely controlled DSM 800RC grinder about a year ago. This is for large surfaces and offers considerably enhanced operator comfort and a high level of productivity. The ETX Duo tool holder ensures the surface quality is uniformly high, tool changes are more rapid and machine performance is achieved. “We aim to offer a perfect solution for practically every detailed task in floor treatment and care, said Schwamborn managing director Eckart Schwamborn. The spectrum of solutions range from polishing concrete surfaces and the removal of coatings with special tools, to solutions that make machines faster, longer lasting, more efficient or simply easier to use.
Superabrasive, the manufacturer of Lavina, introduced at World of Concrete 2017 new propane-powered grinders, including a 813mm, six-head propane grinder L32G-X and a 965mm remotely controlled L38GR-X. Both models have chain-driven planetary drive, Kawasaki FX921V engines, integrated weights and adjustable grinding pressure.
Superabrasive has also introduced Trowel Shine, a concrete polishing system for power trowels. The system features rotating tool holder heads with flexible foam for even tool wear and perfect balance. The Trowel Shine holders, offered in 270mm and 356mm sizes, are mounted to power trowel pans, and have Velcro attachment for quick and easy tool changes with Superabrasive’s diamond pads.
Xtreme Polishing Systems
Xtreme Polishing Systems has over 25 years of service in the concrete surface preparation and concrete polishing industry manufacturing and distributing concrete polishing machines, equipment and tooling. XPS specializes in diamond polishing pads, floor grinding/polishing machines, concrete densifiers, epoxy floor coatings, concrete sealers, dyes, stains and a wide range of tools and chemicals.
The company is known for amazing offers along with the purchase of a Concrete Genie or Ultra Genie. The phone order and on line services are available 24h/day. Their website also provides a detailed catalogue on their various products.
The company aims to assist customers at every stage of construction helping build quality floors for life and offers a personal one-on-one training programme on concrete polishing lasting almost a week. They have a devoted YouTube Channel covering almost everything related to polishing concrete floors.
US Saws TC-7 provide
multiple services with one machine
The company US Saws has taken steps to diversify certain products that allow a customer to provide multiple services with one machine. The US Saws TC-7, stand up edge grinder can be fitted with a variable speed controller to allow the standard Metabo 24-230 power unit to become a slower rotating machine so use of resin polishing pads can be used. For full speed, just unplug the speed controller and you have a 6,600 rpm grinder that can use a diamond cup wheel or a PCD (polycrystalline diamond) to prepare concrete or remove just about any coating. Being able to do this work standing up also has it’s advantages as it allows the operator to work in a more comfortable position therefore producing a more productive worker.
David Glynn, Vice President at US Saws, Inc thinks that the concrete surface preparation industry has undergone a major transformation over the past few decades. “I started a surface preparation contracting company in 2001 and we primarily specialized in shotblasting of concrete surfaces to prepare them for a new epoxy coating or urethane deck coating. Shotblasting was and in many cases still is the preferred methods for adding a specified surface profile to concrete that will satisfy the coating manufacturers warranty requirements. This practiced has changed with the advancement of rotary and planetary surface grinding and polishing equipment and the tooling that goes along with it. Now a contractor can use a floor grinder to remove old coatings or other surface contaminants, grind concrete and leave a desired surface profile based on what tooling is used. This same equipment can also be used to polish concrete with different tooling. This opens up a whole new market for a contractor that owns this equipment. Many floor coating contractors have added concrete polishing to their offering and for good reason. If they already own the equipment that can provide the service than why not?”, says David Glynn.
New Spray Upgrade on
the Grand Finale Coatings Applicator
Aztec is a family owned company in Philiadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania, USA. Aztec has been in business for some 20 years developing and manufacturing equipment for concrete floor grinding and polishing. Aztec is now presenting their latest innovation: the new Spray Grind Finale, a 2-in-1 coatings applicator that uses a microfiber pad to apply floor finish, concrete densifiers, hardeners and sealers quickly and uniformly. The new hand spray upgrade features a flexible hose to access smaller, hard to reach areas.
The Grand Finale, now available in both 24” (61 cm) or 36” (92 cm) pad widths, provides an easy, high-speed way to lay down a smooth, uniform coat of chemicals at up to 35,000 sqft/hr (3252 m2/hour). At 8x faster than the traditional mop and bucket method, the Grand Finale eliminates baseboard splash and puddling, all while reducing chemical usage by 30% and eliminating strenuous labor and injury.
A battery-powered pump precisely controls the flow rate to a microfiber or looped pad. Using a magnetic sensor and pressure controlled pump, the chemicals flow from the bucket through the hand spray nozzle or machine and onto the floor, providing NO streaking or edge bleeding.
The Grand Finale is “Step Four” of the Aztec WorkSmart Sidewinder Stripping System, which includes the Liquidator (strip solution applicator), the Sidewinder (propane floor stripper), and the Guzzler (slurry retriever).
All of Aztec’s propane machines and engines are made in USA proudly are certified by EPA, CARB, LEED and GS-42 where applicable.
New tools and accessories
HTC launches Superpreparation tools
HTC has launched the HTC Superprep series of tools for floor preparation. The tools have been developed for the coarsest floor grinding jobs, when thick coatings are to be removed or floors levelled. Special focus has been put on faster work using tools with exceptionally high grinding capacity. At the same time, improved service life for the tools is also assured. In common for all 24 tools are the new green colour and the easy method for making the right choice. The optimum tool is easily identified using a simple visual guide, which is printed both on the tool carton and included separately in the boxes. All tools are best used with HTC’s floor grinders and dust extractors for maximum synergy.
Klindex new tools Flash Diamond
Klindex has released the new tool series Klindex Flash Diamond a three step polishing system for marble, terrazzo and concrete surfaces. The system, which works wet and dry, reduces the polishing work down to three steps for polishing all kinds of pavements and is ideal for marble terrazzo and concrete surfaces.
HTC launches new dust extractor
The new HTC D60 dust extractor has been designed for floor grinding and especially for use with HTC Duratiq grinders. Functions, such as Duratiq remote connection, automatic filter cleaning and integrated pre-separation, produce increased productivity and grinding capacity and ensures continuous operation and consistent and safe dust extraction. Other benefits are compact dimensions, smart features for ergonomic handling and high safety standard with Hepa H13 filters.
The HTC D60 is recommended for floor grinders with a grinding width of 600mm to 700mm. It is equipped with a digital control panel for monitoring the extractor. An LCD display provides information about the critical factors for optimum dust extraction, such as airflow, under-pressure and filter status.
Ease of handling and safety have also received considerable attention. The HTC D60 is compact and is 680mm wide and 1.4m high in the transport position. This allows it to be transported in most work vehicles and easily passes through standard large door openings. Extra large wheels with brakes allow moving over thresholds and other obstacles. The machine is equipped with PTFA coating conical filters and Hepa H13 filter with a quick lock system.
National Flooring Equipment’s
new dust collector
National Flooring Equipment launched its DL6000 dust collector earlier in the year. The DL6000 is designed for surface preparation that requires high airflow, Hepa, dust-free work environments. It is a 18m3/min machine, for large surface preparation jobs.
Luteus and new dust collectors
Scanmaskin has developed a new hybrid tool Luteus for dry polishing of different ﬂoors and coatings, such as concrete and plaster products and terrazzo ﬂoors. Luteus is easy to apply to Scanmaskin machines, and has good durability and ﬂexibility. Luteus is available in sizes 180mm, 210mm and 240mm and grit from 50 to 3000.
Scanmaskin has also recently introduced two Industrial dust collectors, the Scandust 8000 and ScanDust 3600, both equipped with Hepa filters. A polyester-grade coarse filter package provides a high degree of material separation. In addition, the design and filter area of these new models are designed to provide the most suction capacity.
Both models take advantage of the Longopac bagging system, which makes managing dust easy and efficient.
New dust extractors from Superabrasive
At WOC 2017 Superabrasive launched a new Lavina-X series dust extractors, including one propane and three electric models to suit any grinding project. All dust extractors are equipped with Hepa filters, and Longopac bagging system, as well as an automatic Jet Pulse filter cleaning.