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Lorchem Learning Center | Disc Brush / Roller Brush Comparison

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Disc Brush / Roller Brush Comparison

Article courtesy of Kärcher Academy: Basics of Cleaning

The differences between a Disc Brush (or Brush Plate) and a Roller Brush

Disk Brush

  1. More difficult to replace the brushes. In many cases, the machine must be raised on one side.
  2. No balanced control of machines with one brush. The machine tends to constantly move to one side.
  3. Working width depends on the diameter of the brush used.
  4. Unsatisfactory cleaning results on uneven surfaces, for example, textured plastic floors.
  5. Inadequate cleaning in corners.
  6. Cleaning under cupboards is virtually impossible.
  7. Technical design produces bulky and clumsy machines.
  8. Lower brush pressure per square inch.

Roller Brush

  1. Easily accessible brush head. Brushes can be easily and quickly replaced.
  2. Very good manoeuvrability. The machine goes in the
    required direction without any problems. (No additional
    efforts are required).
  3. Brush rollers always have the same length. This means: Uniform working width irrespective of the application.
  4. Higher contact pressure with smaller bearing area results in very good floor contact.
  5. Perfect cleaning in corners and along walls.
  6. The shape of the brush head enables cleaning under
    cupboards and chests of drawers.
  7. Compact design, very user-friendly.
  8. The water remains under the brush head and is fed to the suction beam at the rear; therefore lower water & cleaning agent consumption.
  9. With the roller brush machine, the customer acquires
    a unit for different types of applications.
  10. Some models include a pre-sweeping device, which
    makes the normally required “sweeping” operation

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Choice of Machine

The choice of unit type, disc or roller machine, also depends on the type of floor covering, for example floor covering with a texture or profile.

Safety or Checkered (Knobbled) Floor

With a disc brush, it is not possible to reach the lowered areas of the floor; a brush roller is very well suited to this. The drawing to the right clearly shows the differences.

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Comparison of Brush Contact Pressure

If we compare two equally heavy (88 lb.) and equally wide (15.75 in.) machines, one a disc machine and the other a roller machine, it can be seen that the contact area between the brushes and the floor of the roller machine is only approximately 1/7 of the contact area of the disc. Since the contact pressure is a result of the force (weight) per unit area, the ratio is inverted, i.e. the contact pressure of the roller machine is 7 times higher than that of the disc.

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Brush Speed

The speeds of scrubbing machines and scrubbers are variable. Disc machines are available with different speeds:

Deep Cleaning  
Sand / chafe 180 rpm
Scrub 230 rpm
Polish 450 rpm
Ultra high-speed polishing 1500 rpm

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Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages at a glance:  
 Roller Brush  Disc Brush
7 x higher brush pressure Uniform heat distribution during ultra high-speed polishing
Deep cleaning of joints Units with lower speed are less risky to use
Suitable for profiled floors  
Suitable for heavy soiling  
The disadvantages at a glance:  
Roller Brush Disc Brush
Risk of burning floors with elastic floor coverings if the unit runs on the same spot (compact units) Different machines for different tasks
High-gloss polishing is not possible  

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Different Types of Brushes

Different types of brushes are available for different applications. The brush type generally depends on the floor type. The brushes are differentiated by their color and have an in dicator to tell you when the brush is worn. An overview of the different brush types is given below. 

Color Feature Use
 Red Standard Scrubbing, deep cleaning
 White Soft Waxing, polishing
 Natural  Very Soft  Waxing
Green Hard, GRIT Scrubbing, deep cleaning, also for crystallising
Black Very Hard, GRIT Powerful scrubbing, deep cleaning
Blue Soft Carpet cleaning, powder cleaning, iCapsol
 Orange  High/low  Safety floors, textured floors

There are also antistatic brushes, usually black. These are used for special applications, for example for cleaning plastic floor coverings.

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Different Types of Pads

Color Feature Use
White Very Soft Polishing
Yellow / beige Soft Polishing, waxing, cleaning
Blue / red Medium-hard Scrub
Green Very hard, with abrasive Deep cleaning / coating stripping
Brown / black Very hard With abrasive, deep cleaning / coating stripping
Bronze / silver Metal pad Crystallisation

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