Eye on the Future

This time of year always brings out numerous articles on trends and predictions for the coming year. What businessman wouldn’t give his right arm for a crystal ball that foretells the future? Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we did talk to the leading sweeper manufacturers about where they see the industry headed so that you can have a clearer vision of the future.

So, while I can’t tell you with any certainty that the new Apple 5s will be out in June or that the color for 2013 will be some food-based form of yellow, I can tell you that our manufacturers are working on some things to help you adapt to a changing market and growing regulations.

Elgin Sweeper Products Manager Brian Giles, Elgin Air Sweeper Products Manager James Crockett, Schwarze Industries Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Gregory Heyer, and Schwarze Director of Product Management Jim Adair give us their perspective on the coming year and a heads up on what’s going on at Elgin and Schwarze.

Where do you think the industry is headed in 2013 and into the future?

Giles: At Elgin Sweeper, we believe the industry will continue in the direction of doing more with less by incorporating even more technology into sweepers. We foresee increased adoption in low water/waterless dust control sweepers to take advantage of their inherently higher efficiencies and abilities to operate in temperatures below freezing.

Crockett: The industry is migrating towards offering more sweepers equipped with alternative fuel configurations. The price of compressed natural gas (CNG) on a diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) per the price of a gallon of diesel has made the technology modestly attractive in recent times. Customer requests have been increasing with regards to what the industry offers in terms of CNG sweepers. The chassis OEM’s are also making a conscious effort to provide “turn-key” CNG-ready chassis straight from the factory. The only hurdle in this market is the slow growth of the CNG infrastructure that is required to make it a stable and profitable market to serve.

Elgin Sweeper is leading the charge in advancing the use of cleaner, safer, and healthier energy technologies in the sweeper industry. Our alternative-fueled, single-engine Pelican sweeper, which may be powered by CNG, liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is an efficient, hard-working sweeper that significantly reduces costs and environmental emissions. In addition to the alternative-fueled Pelican, Elgin Sweeper offers the CNG- and LPG-fueled Eagle® four-wheel mechanical sweeper, the CNG-fueled Broom Bear® mechanical sweeper and the CNG-fueled Crosswind® four-wheel regenerative air sweeper.

A clear, odorless, and non-corrosive gas, CNG has become an ideal energy source for the future. LNG is an alternative fuel that is economical, abundant in supply and produces approximately 10 percent of the pollutants normally emitted by traditional gasoline or diesel engines. LPG, or propane, is a low-emission, economic and easily used fuel with a long and varied history in transportation applications since its inception as a motor vehicle fuel. Vehicles powered by CNG, LNG and LPG are used in a wide variety of commercial applications, including light-duty trucks and sedans, medium-duty trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles like sweepers, refuse haulers and transit buses.

Heyer: We feel that the industry in 2013 will be up, but the increases will be not be dramatic based on many lingering economic factors still effecting the municipal and contractor markets.

Has Elgin Sweeper/ESG developed green, energy-efficient and low-emissions technology solutions yet?

Crockett: Our EcoInfused Technology initiative includes alternative fuel products. Wherever possible, Elgin Sweeper is committed to providing alternative fuel offerings across our entire sweeper product portfolio. EcoInfused Technology also encompasses multiple sweepers with low water/waterless technology, eliminating the need for using a traditional dust suppression system. This increases the productivity of the sweeper by avoiding the downtime associated with refilling the sweeper with water and reducing the water footprint of the customer’s existing sweeper fleet. Elgin Sweeper is also committed to taking advantage of the industry’s leading technology to provide exceptional sweeper performance while reducing the overall negative impact of air and water pollution
to the environment.

Have you made any additional progress with the EcoInfused Technology initiative?

Giles: As part of our EcoInfused Technology initiative, Elgin Sweeper is currently in the process of launching two new technologies. The first technology, applied to our three-wheel Pelican sweeper, leverages a “load and power management” system. With this system, the Pelican is not only able to meet the same performance and engine simplicity expectations as previous models, it also meets the latest emission levels—without the cost and complexity associated with current emission level engines.

The second technology, utilized by our Crosswind sweeper, also provides the latest diesel emission technology without the complexity. We accomplish this by way of “shared power” technology. Shared power uses an auxiliary sweeper engine, and also shares some of the chassis engine when more sweep power is required. Both the Crosswind sweeper configured with shared power and the “load and power managed” Pelican sweeper recover downhill braking energy into the sweep system.

What is the plan for Schwarze going forward?

Heyer: I cannot share any specifics with you at this time but ask me again around midyear and we will have some announcements we can share that we are very excited about.

How does Schwarze’s new product line reflect a commitment to your customers?

Heyer: At Schwarze, our renewed focus is all about the customer and is focused on five things: quality, performance, value, public safety, and customer support.

Adair: Schwarze Industries offers a large spectrum of solutions to our customers sweeping needs for 2013. From a simple pick-up truck slip-in or trailer mounted sweeper to a high speed runway sweeper that can pick 70 pounds of sand in 1.2 seconds. A full array of Regenerative Air Sweepers with both low and high dump capabilities and some of the strongest mechanical broom machines on the market. Our fuel options are just about as broad, with gasoline, diesel, CNG, LNG and LPG. We even offer some models with a combination of a gasoline-powered chassis and a diesel-powered sweeper, giving the customer a lower cost option and removing the need to regenerate the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) as on a Tier 4 diesel chassis. There are still credits and grants available for alternative fueled vehicles and if the infrastructure is in place to support the refueling, then the low cost of the fuel is an added bonus.

We continue to look for ways to increase efficiencies without jeopardizing performance. We now hold our fan specs to a closer tolerance than ever before. With the use of our Whisper Wheel fan system we are able to increase performance, decrease fuel consumption and all with less noise.

Schwarze Industries is not only committed to the improvement of the product, but also the improvement of the customer relationship. We have made improvements to our quality control, added engineers to our engineering team, increased the staff and knowledge base in customer service and continue to add support and train our dealers around the world.

Why the rebranding effort?

Heyer: We are excited about our new product names and felt it was time for a change for several reasons: On the S series contractor side, we changed the numbers a few years ago in conjunction with some product enhancements and did not fully market the changes. Based on this, we decided that the
use of “wind and storm” names was more descriptive of what our product does (moving air) and with the many product enhancements we have made, it would be a great opportunity to re-launch the product line with names that grab your attention. We also added the SuperVac name back in rather than just using the “S” as it has great brand equity in the industry. On the “A and M” series products we dropped the zero’s on the model names as we found that nobody ever referred to them in that way (A7 versus A7000). We added the more descriptive names to differentiate ourselves in the market and allow us to tell our performance story while continuing to build our brand equity. Our dealers and customers like the direction we are going, and look forward to the marketing launch as we move into 2013.

Story by Jennifer Taylor


For more information:

Elgin, www.elginsweeper.com
Schwarze, www.schwarze.com