In Lake Turkana, Kenya, an archaeological expedition unveiled what was thought to be the world’s oldest stone tools, which date back to over 3.3 million years ago.
Today, surface preparation jobs rely on novel tools to achieve specific results.
When renting equipment, tool choice is as important as machine selection.
Here, Jim Sullivan, senior territory sales manager at surface preparation expert, National Flooring Equipment gives three top tips for tooling success.
There are several types of tool for surface preparation.
For grinding applications, contractors can choose from diamond tools, like Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD) or carbide cutters.
Diamond tools range in grit from fine to aggressive and are suited to different applications, so contractors must consider the grit after selecting the tool type.
For shot blasting applications, contractors use steel shot, which can range in grit from 70-550.
Larger shot removes more material, while finer shot cleans the floor better, so contractors must select the grit appropriate for the job at hand.
To navigate through the techniques and tools, here are our top three tips.
Shot blast or grind? Choose wisely.
The most appropriate tool for the job will in part be determined by machine choice – depending on the job it could be better to use grinding or shot blasting.
It is cheaper and faster to run a shot blaster, but it is only the better machine for the job in some cases.
If you are dealing with sealed or dirty concrete, shot blasting is probably the most appropriate technique.
If there is anything on the floor that needs to be removed, like paint or glue, then grinding is more appropriate.
No matter what tooling you plan to use, the wrong technique will give the wrong result, so choose wisely.
Prepare for the unexpected
At the beginning of the job, the contractor should inspect the surface and assess the techniques, machines and tooling that will be required.
To prepare for the unexpected, flooring contractors should keep their toolboxes as well-stocked as possible.
This means that when arriving at the site, there is no need to delay the job to purchase or obtain additional tooling.
Contractors should also keep track of how far their tooling is going, to predict the lifespan of their tools.
If the contractor inspects their tooling regularly, it can be replaced as necessary to avoid any unwanted downtime.
Diamonds aren’t forever
Diamond tooling can wear out prematurely if the wrong type is used.
It is beneficial to the contractor to test each type of tooling; soft, medium and hard to determine which is best for the job at hand.
Soft diamonds are suited to harder concrete and will wear faster on soft concrete – testing each tool can prevent this.
Between each job, diamond tools should be stored as a set.
If one diamond is lost, new diamonds should not be mixed with used ones, as the different wear can result in an uneven floor.
Over 3.3 million years later, tooling is as important now as it ever was.
Whether you’re using novel or ancient tools, care should be taken to ensure that the right tool is used in the correct way, in order to keep jobs moving efficiently.