A field review of the 32 inch 6 head Lavina
By Craig Walton - CPm Editor in Chief
I feel much more confident about a product once I have actually had a chance to test it in the field. I can say without hesitation, that it is my intention to write all of my review articles in CPm based on my own first hand experience. Not that I profess to be the absolute expert in our industry, but I do have enough experience (and now that is augmented by my LEED certification work) to be able to report accurately the observations and concerns I think you our readers are most interested in hearing about. I will not knowingly report any manufacturer hype, but rather will focus on telling you what you need to know be fore you rent, lease or purchase and take the field with anything I test.
That said, I had the opportunity to use and compare my findings on the Lavina 32 (Brutimus as I refer to it) on two unique and very different jobs providing a great test scenario on which to base this review.
The first job was a 14,000 sq. ft. exposed aggregate polishing job I helped a fellow contractor with and the second was a 3,000 plus sq. ft. epoxy removal job. I’ll say up front that the Lavina 32 worked very well on both of these assignments. I used Brutimus over the course of three days on both jobs, and walked away with a very clear understanding of what the machine brings to the market.
Looking at the physical size of this machine, Brutimus has a cutting width of 32inches, (800mm) making it ideally suited for mid to big size area jobs. At 760lbs/345kg, this is absolutely not a small machine and it takes a large trailer and two men to load and unload If you are a one man shop without buddies, you’ve got your work cut out for you). You are able to change the heads by yourself, and to me that is important. The handle on Brutimus raises 7 feet in the air, which gives you the leverage you need to lift the head up enabling you to place your diamonds or to pull back and move it. Brutimus delivers a hefty 550lbs/250kg of grinding pressure read this and tremble you adhesive covered floors.
The machine I used was wired for 240 volts three phase at 60 amps. The Lavina 32 is also available with 440-480 volts three phase motors that allow you to use smaller power cable, since at the higher voltage it only draws 30 amps. Brutimus is harnessed to a 20 H.P. motor and regardless of floor surface or how aggressively I was grinding, the motor was never at a loss for power. The manufacturer recommends tightening the belt after the first 10 hours run time and we did experienced belt slippage a couple of times, but were prepared to tighten when required. My partner on the projects, who rented the machine, tightened the belt prior to the project start, but it needed another tightening after we had worked it a while.
I didn’t have a schematic of the pulley system, but believe that for the money this machine costs, it should at the very least have a belt tensioning system, and a cogged drive belt. This machines planetary action is driven, not passive, which is a good thing, but, when a belt slips, the spinning satellite heads can burn or even cut diamond paths in the floor. This happened on our epoxy removal job, and fortunately the “burn “marks in the floor weren’t a problem. This also happened on our exposed aggregate job, and the belt slipping “burned” the floor in spots, requiring a lot of extra work to detail and polish these spots out.
With six heads it is extremely versatile. We used 3 heads and bolt on segments placing a lot of head pressure for the coating removal job we did, and we averaged 1500 sq. ft per day cutting dry. We used three heads and bolt on segments as well for the aggressive grinding on the exposed aggregate polishing job. Once we had finished with the heavy grinding, we added the finer grit diamonds to a total of six heads. Doing this we were able to really speed up the refining and polishing steps.
As a side note, with these large heavy weight machines, grinding dry presents a set of other problems as well. We had a large capacity twin vacuum set up, but with the large amount of dust generated, it left a trail of dust on the floor. Some of this can be traced back to the lack of a properly engineered dust collection system on the machine. We here at concretepolishingmagazine.com hope to see further improvements in dust collection, and have seen some encouraging results. We hope to keep you, the reader, posted on what we find.
Once grinding, I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet the machine was, especially when we ground wet. I will say because this machine’s planetary movement is in the same direction as the satellites, it had a tendency to “pull” in the direction of movement, this left me curious as to why it is not capable of driving a counter rotating movement.
What I liked about the Lavina 32:
1. The size 32 inches, it cuts a wide swath.
2. It has plenty of power with 20 H.P. motor.
3. Planetary system is belt driven, providing a more reliable scratch pattern.
4. Extremely versatile, 3 heads for heavy cutting, 6 heads for refining and polishing.
5. Variable speed from 300 -1100 rpm.
6. Self-leveling dust skirt, worked well wet or dry.
7. Twin night-lights helped us to see when conditions warranted it.
8. Quiet, no doubt due to the belt drive.
9. Long handle, look at picture, gives you the leverage to move and control this brute.
10. Versatile tooling. The heads and tooling can be used on 25 inch and 20 inch Lavinas as well, especially helpful if you have a stable of different sized Lavina machines.
What I didn’t like and things to consider when looking at the Lavina 32:
1. Un-tensioned belt drive. For what this machine costs, it needs at least the strongest, most reliable cogged drive belt with a built in tensioner.
2. Make the planetary movement capable of counter rotating. This would help eliminate some of the tendency to “pull” in one direction.
3. Improved dust skirt design, enabling capturing more of the dust from heavy grinding.
4. The long handle needs a few more “ergonomic” adjustment capability’s, as the handle was a little too low for me, at 6” 1 “. The smaller operators didn’t complain.(At the relase of this article Lavina has redesigned the handle adjustment.)
5. The body of the machine is either some sort of plastic, or fiberglass. For this heavy duty of a machine and for extra weight, it should be metal, and a stainless body would be ideal.
6. Because of the size and weight, it could use a drive system, to help in loading, and unloading the machine.
From the Lavina website.
LAVINA floor polishing machines are planetary movement machines featuring 3 and 6 heads. The planetary motion results from the friction between the tools and the floor, which allows the tools to spin either clockwise or counterclockwise. This way the tool will not force itself against the surface’s resistance. Instead, it alternates directions and jumps from high to low points rather than from low to high points. This misapplication can cause damages. On most other machines the motion is forced through the motor and this causes tool and/or gear damage as well as a lip chip.
This last statement is one of the reasons I have heard, that belt driven machines polish better than gear driven machines. Here at the magazine, we hope to have future “shoot outs” of belt verses gear driven machines and report our findings back to you.
From the Lavina website.
The self-leveling skirt is very heavy and always touches the ground regardless of the thickness of the tools being used. It also keeps the dirt and/or dust confined under the bowl. As the skirt touches the floor, the built-in air pressure gaps allow the air to blast up the dust into the vacuum.
• All LAVINA models can be easily disassembled into smaller parts, which can be carried by hand.
• All machines have Soft Start, i.e. they start smooth and gradually increase the speed until they reach the desired/selected RPMs.
• The night vision light of our LAVINA machines enables users to enhance the visibility of the working area and direct the light as needed. Note: This light does not replace the regular overhead light.
The self-leveling dust skirt is a nice feature, and works well wet or dry, provided you repair or replace the skirt as it gets worn or torn.
I agree that easy disassembly in a machine this big is a nice feature, especially when it comes time to work on the motor, bearings etc. I also like that the Lavina 32 has more than one light, the twin lights on the machine enabled us to see into corners or darker rooms. Additionally I did appreciate the soft start feature. It really helps the motor and drive train eliminating higher torque, higher starting problems and ultimately reduces machine fatigue
One-year warranty on parts and workmanship.
A user-friendly design includes:
- Hourly meter that keeps track of the hours worked.
- Self-leveling skirt that keeps dust/dirt confined under the bowl.
- Soft Start technology allowing for a smooth start and a progressive power build up.
- Pneumatic tires with pressure that can be adjusted according to the tools’ size.
- 2 Night vision lights that enable operator to direct the light as needed.
- Adjustable handlebars with 6 different positions intended for comfort and easy edge work.
- Vacuum port for dry applications.
- Variable speed motor bolted on top for convenient and fast inspection or repair.
Specifications for LAVINA 32® 20HP
Specifications for LAVINA 32® 20HP
About the author: