To the School Board of Fresno Unified School District, it was an emergency. The Board had called an emergency meeting for the next day in Hoover High School Cafeteria to deal with some urgent school district business. In many school districts this situation would have created an urgent scramble to figure out how to have the cafeteria ready in time for the meeting.
However to Dennis Leone, Custodial Supervisor of The Fresno Unified School District Operations Department, it was no emergency. Even though Mr. Leone knew that he had to strip and wax the entire 8000 sqft cafeteria in time for the next day’s meeting, he was not concerned. That is because Mr. Leone’s crew runs a Sidewinder High-Speed Stripping System capable of stripping 25,000 sqft/hour.
When Mr. Leone’s 3-man crew got to the cafeteria, the first thing that they did was to move all of the chairs and tables out of the way. Next he got one of his crew members on the Liquidator high-speed solution dispenser. With its 52” reach and rubber spreading flaps, his crew member was able to evenly spread strip solution over the whole cafeteria in less than ½ hour.
After giving the Liquidator a 10-minute head start, the next man is his crew started with the Sidewinder. The Sidewinder’s counter-rotational action allowed this crew member to strip a 30” path at walking speed.
The 3rd man of his crew followed right behind the Sidewinder with the Guzzler, retrieving the spent strip solution at walking speed with no cords, batteries or motors. The floor was stripped and ready for neutralization in less than 1 hour. Several coats of wax later his crew was on their way home.
Mr. Leone tells it this way, “Fresno Unified purchased the Sidewinder about two years ago. This School District operates continuously all 12 months a year. In spite of having no summer break, we are still responsible for maintaining approximately 1.2 million square feet of floor space. Prior to purchasing this system we only could do a thorough cleaning once a year. Now we can do the floors twice a year with smaller crews. The Sidewinder System has saved the Fresno Unified School District a lot of time and money.”
It’s a fact. Everyone likes the look of a freshly stripped and waxed floor. The shine says, “This facility is clean and well maintained.” In a recent experiment 80% of the people walking into a retail institution said that the facility looked cleaner and better kept after a strip and wax had been done even though nothing else had been done differently. So why don’t people strip and wax more often? It’s because it was always such hard work.
In the past, floor stripping has been expensive, messy, slow, dangerous work. The expense in typical strip job was 70%-80% labor. A crew of 6-10 people was common. The swing machines would only strip 2,000 sqft per hour. Add to that the risk inherent in a custodial crew working on a surface 10x more slippery than ice after normal business hours and it is no wonder that people tried to avoid floor stripping.
With the Sidewinder System running at 20,000 sqft/hour and a three-man crew, even if you are paying each crew member $15/hour, your labor cost is still only $.00225 per square foot. The System minimizes the strip solution mess by using machines that control the strip solution during all phases of the process. The machines are also much faster than the old-fashioned swing machines, allowing crew sizes to be cut dramatically.
Perhaps most importantly, the system has been designed to minimize the chance of slip and fall during stripping. In the strip process, the floor is the slickest several minutes after the strip solution has been applied, before the stripping machine has run over it. The Sidewinder System has been designed so there is no need to walk over the floor again after the solution has been applied until the Sidewinder goes over it, maximizing safety on the strip job.
Faster, safer, less expensive stripping – these are what ultra-high-speed floor stripping is all about. After all, why spend more time doing a messier job more slowly and expensively at a greater risk to your people, when you can do it faster, neater and cheaper with a small well-trained team? Don’t believe you can really strip a floor that fast? Call Mr. Leone. Don’t believe that it can really save your institution money? Call Mr. Leone. Want to try it for yourself? Call Aztec at (800) 331-1423 or www.aztecproducts.com.