The project opportunities for grinding systems range from enormous assignments like warehouses and sports arenas to smaller residential tasks like living rooms and two-car garages. Over the last few years, the market for polished concrete floors has risen dramatically. This popularity is due in large part to the amazing multi-functionality of today's concrete grinders. Current interior design trends and production facility requirements have also helped increase the demand for these systems.
Today's grinders are available with an enormous array of tooling options that allows them to complete a multitude of projects including coating removal, surface preparation, glue and adhesive removal as well as polishing.
The overall design of floor grinders has not changed drastically, but there have been some incredible technological advancements recently. A planetary grinder typically consists of three or four "satellite heads" 10 or 11 in. in diameter mounted on a large "planetary head" 30 to 32 in. in diameter. In the planetary head, diamonds are set in either metal or resin matrixes in different densities. The planetary head spins one way and the satellite heads with their diamond bits rotate in the opposite direction. This causes the diamond bits to travel in random patterns within the diameter of the planetary head. Coarse grinding steps are completed with metal matrix diamond pads while the finer processing steps are accomplished with resin matrix pads.
Until recently, polished and processed concrete floors have been used mainly in industrial facilities, manufacturing plants and warehouses, but they are now becoming increasingly popular in residential and retail settings. Formerly, polished concrete coloring was limited to grey, but today it is frequently seen in a wide range of colors and designs. By using integral color and surface colorants including dyes and staining, designers now have many options to choose from.
Planetary head grinders deliver the best surface finish compared to alternative grinding machines. This is because the movement of the grinding discs over the floor is less dependent on operator skill compared to non-planetary machines.
Planetary grinders surpass the performance of those in the past "by having multiple heads and a true planetary rotating drum that spins opposite of the three or four grinding heads; not to mention remote control, automatic laser leveling systems and fully self-contained large industrialized grinder/polishers," explains Henrik Rosencrantz, president of HTC, Inc.
Rosencrantz believes the trend toward polished concrete promises to continue to grow. "Some clients are not looking for, nor will they pay for, a very flat highly polished floor but want the low maintenance advantages of a polished concrete floor. So now you will see manufacturers putting fully adjustable flex heads and/or flex plates to allow the diamond tooling to simply grind/polish in and out of the high and low spots. Now clients have all the advantages of a normal polished concrete floor minus the levelness," he explains.
The HTC 2500 iX is ideal for projects in large industrial spaces. It is a completely integrated system with a particle filtered diesel motor allowing for indoor use. It features a hydrobox mounted cabin, an integrated heavy-duty dust extraction system for handling grinding waste, and a joystick and touch-screen for simple functionality and ergonomics with computerized articulated frame steering for enhanced flexibility. The 2500 iX has three height adjustable grinding heads and adjustable grinding pressure. Available options include air conditioning, radio, CD, DVD and communication radio.