Fuel Efficiency Keep Sweepers Going All Day Long(er)

The economy is in recovery and has been since 2009…supposedly. But unemployment is still on the rise, as are gas prices, which is a prominent issue in the minds of everyone, especially those in the street sweeping industry. Using equipment that runs efficiently is a challenge companies like Schwarze, TYMCO and Nite-Hawk have met head-on.

Schwarze Industries premiered their newly redesigned S-Series at the Pavement Expo in Nashville, Tennessee on February 2, 2011. The formal unveiling, complete with emcee and models, featured the S350, S345 and S235 model trucks. Chris Crews, new National Sales Manager for the S-Series, said, “The reception went really, really well.” New features on the S-Series trucks include a high visibility package to make the sweepers more visible in the dark, slide out hopper screens and a new dump door that allows for more breathability and assists in cleaning and maintenance at the end of a shift.

“These are user functionality upgrades,” Crews said about the changes made to the new models, “Schwarze has taken a real nice approach and gotten a lot of feedback from contractors because that’s really where it needs to come from. They’re the ones out there every night doing this job. All we did was listen.”

Raymond Massey, Director of Sales and Marketing for Schwarze, added, “Our goal with the new S-Series machines was to find out firsthand what operators were looking for in a sweeper, and then build it. It was very much a ‘you asked, we listened’ approach to finding solutions for the drivers and contractors that are in the field night after night. From there, we put our engineers to work tackling those issues through design and development.”

In the summer of 2010, Schwarze invited contractors to come to their factory and tell them what improvements they wanted to see on Schwarze’s trucks. They went to every corner of the country, from Florida to Washington to Middle America in order to accommodate for the different climates and varied types of environments Schwarze’s trucks are operated in.

“The contractors wanted more capacity, more efficiency,” Crews said. They also asked for more economical operation, such as fuel economy. More economical operation would allow for operators to charge better, more efficient costing to their customers in order to perform a job.

Crews went on to explain, “The new S-Series is going to add another dimension to what we offer. It’s really going to bring up another notch of reliability and performance for our single engine machines. And on the twin-engine machines, nobody can offer the power that Schwarze can. It’s what we’re known for. I think we have a strong product that’s going to continue being the world leader in the parking lot division.”

Out of all the S-Series trucks in the unveiling, the S350 is the most powerful. “It’s economical enough to pick up litter but powerful enough to pick up a brick,” Crews said. The single engine S335 is more economical than the dual engine S350, and then the S235 would fall under the heading of entry level sweeper. As the low cost, low profile member of the group, the S235 is gas powered, where the other two use diesel, features a tow behind road broom and is compact enough to handle sweeping parking garages.

Like Schwarze, TYMCO also had an unveiling at the Pavement Expo and introduced the Model 210h Parking Lot Sweeper powered by the TYMCO hDrive Power System. The hDrive is an optimized hydraulic power system that gives Model 210h owners all the simplicity and low maintenance of sweeping without an auxiliary engine. The Model 210h delivers everything Model 210h owners have come to love about the TYMCO Regenerative Air System: air sweeping with a dual chamber pick-up head that delivers a powerful air blast to pave surface and centrifugal dust separation for low dust emissions.

TYMCO has a true Regenerative Air System on all of their model sweepers. Tom Rokas, who handles marketing for TYMCO, said the closed loop system does not allow the air to escape back into the atmosphere, which makes for a more efficient way to sweep, and using less horsepower. The Regenerative Air System allows TYMCO to use an aluminum alloy blower wheel that uses less horsepower to run. The company is also using polyethylene water tanks and storage compartments that provide less weight on the sweeper.

Fuel efficiency is also dependent upon using the correct type of equipment for a particular job. Rokas said, “While it is possible to sweep a parking lot with a larger model street sweeper, it would not be cost or fuel efficient.” Fuel cost on a bigger sweeper would be exponentially higher than if using the proper equipment for the proper situation. Rokas said, “I would say if it’s a parking lot you’re sweeping, then make sure you are sweeping with a parking lot sweeper that can do the job.” TYMCO’s Model 210h is that right sweeper for the job.

Jack Rogers of Nite-Hawk was determined to find a sweeper to do the best, most efficient possible job, as well. As the inventor of the original Nite-Hawk Sweeper, Rogers started as a sweeping contractor and experimented with a number of different power systems looking for a low cost alternative to auxiliary engine sweepers. His subsequent work led him to experiment with hydraulic drive systems, culminating in a unique hydraulic sweeper patent in the early 1980’s. Since that time, a number of different hydraulic systems have been designed and built, including Nite-Hawk’s current, patent pending, VFC hydraulic system found on their NH 200 Osprey and NH Raptor sweepers.

A hydraulic power system increases fuel economy by eliminating the need for auxiliary engine fuel. “Depending on the auxiliary engine model,” John Day, Customer Service Manager for Nite-Hawk Sweepers explained, “the costs savings can be substantial. Benefits include decreased maintenance, lighter weight, more environmentally friendly, and they’re quieter.”

“Our NH Raptor and NH 200 Osprey are hydraulically driven and are geared toward parking lot sweeping,” Day explained, “but they can also be used in light construction sweeping applications.” He believes strides are being made to increase hydraulic power in order to accommodate larger sweeping applications, as well as to improve fuel efficiency.

Nite-Hawk continues to work toward better fuel economy with various innovations. Their newest patent pending design, the Raptor, has a unique fuel saving feature, which allows the pump to fully de-stroke between jobs. This new innovation increases the fuel savings. Nite-Hawk has also continued to improve other components, including their fan and pick-up head designs, which will increase power without sacrificing efficiency. These innovations lead to faster lot times and less fuel used on a lot, something that every customer would want to benefit from.

The innovations and equipment from all three companies mentioned—Schwarze, TYMCO and Nite-Hawk—can benefit customers whether the economy is in good shape or not. Efficiency is never a dirty word, especially for the street sweeping industry.

Story by Megan McClure