Many of the technological concepts that manufacturers use in making concrete polishing tools are not new. Some of these companies began by developing polishers for stone and marble, and discovered more recently that their expertise is of great service to concrete contractors.
A lot of factors can change the effect a polishing machine has on a floor: weight, rotation speed (measured in RPM), configuration of the diamond-abrasive face, the speed at which a worker moves the machine, the difference between active and passive planetary movement, the direction of spin, densification, the degree of cleaning between grits, and on and on.
In compiling this Tooling section, Concrete Decor magazine focused on walk-behind models, handheld models, edgers and other tools that can be helpful to decorative contractors on small and medium-sized jobs.
Progrind floor grinding series
Progrind floor-grinding machines are the only planetary machines with drives that are truly independent. They offer independent control of satellite/grinding disc speed, planetary head speed, satellite/grinding disc direction, and planetary head direction. This independence allows operators to control both speed and direction of either the planetary rotation or of the grinding heads, resulting in a virtually unlimited number of potential speed and direction combinations. What’s more, this planetary grinder can be set to counter-rotate for concrete and stone polishing applications, and it can be set so both systems rotate in the same direction for aggressive cutting.
Dual Drive technology can be found in machines such as the Progrind 680, King’s mid-sized model for large and small commercial jobs.
Lavina Surface Preparation System
Both the Lavina 20 and Lavina 25 floor-polishing machines can be used wet or dry. Wet use is enhanced by a self-leveling skirt that keeps dirt from spraying. Dry use is complemented by vacuum hose connections. The Lavina 20 and 25 are single-belt driven planetary machines. On both machines the tools touch the rim of the skirt, so there is very little distance between the tools and edge. In addition, the machines are easy to assemble, disassemble, ship and repair.
As for diamond tools for polishing concrete, Superabrasive offers the T-Bone and NATO tools.
Hum-B B-3000 Surface Grinder
The Hum-B B-3000 three-head planetary machine contains a patented counter-rotating planetary drive system. Combined with advanced diamond abrasives, the drive system delivers an aggressive flat grind for removing surface material and preparing or polishing concrete and stone surfaces.
The Hum-B B-3000 is a lightweight, low-cost preparation tool designed for residential and light commercial applications. The system incorporates three drive belts, one for each spindle. The belts normally last up to one year, but replacing the belts does not take more than 30 minutes. The machine operates smoothly with minimal control needed. Also, the Insta-Lock pad driver system makes the B-3000 quite versatile, as drivers can be changed from abrasive grinders to carbide scrapers within seconds. The B-3000 comes with a 120-volt single-speed or a 240-volt variable-speed motor.
Machines from VIC
The EdgeMaster blends edges with the center of the floor with ease. Its versatility allows it to be used on concrete countertops as well as small floor areas such as bathrooms or closets. The machine delivers a high-quality polished surface with exceptional depth and clarity. It can be used in wet or dry polishing applications.
The ConcreteMedic Multi-Surface Machine is a dependable and powerful 115-volt floor machine designed to make small jobs highly profitable. It features a rugged motor and a removable weight system. This unit can take on a 45-pound drive plate with an additional 50 pounds and still maintain low amps at a coarse grind. The 45-pound plate is a static planetary plate that allows the machine to mimic the scratch pattern of a planetary machine, so it can leave behind the polished equivalent to a much larger, heavier planetary machine.
Rugged and classic in shape, the HTC 500 is an ideal machine for prepping overlays on concrete and for decorative concrete polishing. It’s more powerful than the HTC 420 but easier to handle than the HTC 650HDX. The single-phase, 220-volt machine is powered by a 7.5-horsepower engine that delivers 300 to 1,300 RPM. What’s more, the machine can apply 265 pounds of grinding pressure. Finally, it is simple to use and backed by an experienced technical support team, which help make it a popular choice among decorative concrete contractors.
StoneGrind 3000 and StoneEdge 1300
StoneOlogy, a new line of propane concrete grinder/polishers from Eagle Products, includes the StoneGrind 3000. This machine sports a 22-horsepower propane engine, two vacuum ports, and three 13-inch counter-rotating heads for a total grinding width of 30 inches. Because each head contains four diamonds, the operator can walk faster and get better results. StoneGrind 3000 increases production by 40 percent compared to electric machines that have similar head pressure and horsepower. Contractors can stop polishing at 800 grit and get the same results as workers who complete a polishing job at 3,000 grit.
The StoneOlogy line also includes the StoneEdge 1300 edger. This machine offers a rotating left-to-right front head with the ability to cut a straight line only 1⁄4 inch from wall edges or obstacles. It has 165 pounds of head pressure, 300 percent more head pressure than competitive machines. Between the power of the engine, the pressure of the head and the four diamond discs, contractors can cut 300 to 400 linear feet an hour.
CONTRx Polishing System
Like the EDCO brand of concrete equipment, CONTRx offers industry knowledge, reliable machines, training, and warranted products.
Blastrac 5-inch Grinder-Vac
The Blastrac 5-inch Grinder-Vac is a shrouded concrete grinder system that controls dust to reduce cleanup time, provide better visibility and increase productivity. The grinder promotes a virtually dust-free work area. The Grinder-Vac’s tough yet flexible polyurethane dust shroud allows hundreds of hours of use. It connects to a variety of available dust collection systems.
The Blastrac 5-inch grinder can easily be converted to a polisher with the conversion of a polishing tool.
Diamond DS polisher line
The line includes the DS 175 7-Inch Polisher for use with 3-inch pads, the DS 301 Planetary Hand Polisher, the DS 302 12-Inch Single-Head Walk-Behind Polisher, the DS 602 24-Inch Dual Head 2 HP Walk-Behind Polisher, and the DS 605 24-Inch Dual-Head 5 HP Walk-Behind Polisher. A selection of wet and dry resin polishing pads and cup wheels can be used to produce seven different levels of polishing activity, ranging from heavy material removal to mirror finish.
Surface Pro Quick Change Coupling System
GranQuartz Stone and Concrete Systems has launched the Surface Pro Quick Change Coupling System, designed for concrete polishing professionals who are tired of changing out traditional diamond plates.
Surface Pro comes with only one plate, but the plate sports a unique design that allows instant interchangeability of coatings removal, grinding and polishing diamond segments without using tools. The polishing arm of the system incorporates a means to quickly attach polishing pads backed with QRS (Quick Release System) to a machine base plate. Take any of the high-quality Surface Pro metal or resin pads and stick it to the QRS backer plate, and the machine is ready to be put to work.
I-Shine Polishing Pads
The pads’ special matrix is designed to not glaze over on hard concrete like many diamonds do. These new diamonds are on a high-strength buffing-type pad, and the diamonds are attached with a specially designed glue that keeps them on at high temperatures and fast speeds. I-Shine pads also allow the user to polish concrete three times faster than the traditional phenolic-resin method, and these pads do not leave the plastic resin burn marks on lippage that normal phenolic resins do. These diamond pads polish up, down, and over the lippage, leaving an even shine in low spots.
The pads are available in 30-grit to 3,000-grit for wet and dry polishing. They come in all sizes to fit a range of different polishing machines on the market, but last up to 18,000 square feet per set when used with Innovatech’s Predator polishers. I-Shine pads stick to the Velcro on the bottom of the grinding plates. In seconds, the user can switch out all four heads on the bottom of a planetary grinder to the next grit diamond.