Choosing the Right Tools

Communities rely on city government and contractors to keep our parking lots and streets clean—raising air and water quality. Vacuum, regenerative air and mechanical sweepers remain the backbone of that cleaning effort.

Brian Giles, Elgin Sweeper products manager, shares his insight into choosing the right sweeper for the right conditions while Schwarze’s Maxx Hendricks talks about new gutter broom technology.

“The best path to choosing the right sweeper is to determine your prevailing needs in terms of debris removal, maneuverability, transport speed and off-loading requirements,” says Giles.

He outlines the following sweeping applications:

Year-round street sweeping—Mechanical sweepers and waterless dust control sweepers

In cold climates with freezing temperatures, contractors need to sweep sand, gravel, silt, traction sand, salt residue, cinder and other materials year-round. This type of sweeping can’t be done with water for dust suppression, given the possibility of freezing both to the street and the sweeper components. Mechanical sweepers are often the best choice for this application. In areas where dust is a problem, or where there is a concern that dried sand and salt may result in dust when sweeping, waterless sweepers with dust control are an excellent option.

Spring clean-up and heavy-duty sweeping—Mechanical sweepers

Sand, gravel, silt, salt and traction sand often accumulate in northern climates after a winter of reduced sweeping. This heavy, compacted material requires a powerful broom and conveyance action. Mechanical sweepers are best suited for conveying large quantities of heavy material.

Leaf removal and pine cone sweeping—Mechanical sweepers and regenerative air sweepers

In the fall, street gutters fill with leaves, pine cones and pine needles that can be difficult for many sweepers because the material tends to climb over brooms when extremely heavy, making loading difficult. The wide pick-up head, large diameter suction hose and ability to raise/lower the head hydraulically makes regenerative air sweepers and mechanical sweepers great choices for this application.

Catch basin cleaning—Regenerative air sweepers and pure vacuum sweepers

Street sweeping and catch basin cleaning require the ability to lift leaves, silt, sand, gravel and litter out of the catch basin. Cleaning catch basins regularly prevents streets from flooding and keeps the rain runoff flowing as desired. Regenerative air sweepers and pure vacuum sweepers are perfect for combination sweeper and catch basin cleaning, if equipped with a boom-style hose or catch basin cleaning hose feature. The boom-style hose options are easy to operate and maneuver over a catch basin. Pure vacuum sweepers have more vacuum capability than a regenerative sweeper, so customers should take this into consideration when sizing up their catch basin applications. Combination sweeper catch basin cleaners are excellent alternatives to a hand-held hose or litter hose.

Porous pavement cleaning and maintenance—Regenerative air sweepers and pure vacuum sweepers

Porous surfaces have been growing at a double-digit rate the last several years as a best management practice (BMP) to deal with storm water runoff. These surfaces effectively reduce the amount of untreated water and accompanying pollutants directed into our waterways. Both regenerative air sweepers and high power vacuum sweepers can be used as a practical maintenance program for porous pavement. A high-power vacuum sweeper is also recommended for porous pavement restoration projects. Performing routine, bi-annual cleaning with a regenerative air sweeper or high-power vacuum sweeper helps to properly maintain a permeable surface.

Gutter Brooms

What you sweep determines what type of sweeper you have, but what about the components that are on a sweeper? How much thought do you put into what goes on your sweeper to help it do the tough work of cleaning up our cities?

“Schwarze sweepers use United Rotary single or dual digger type gutter brooms,” says Maxx Hendricks, a spokesperson for Schwarze. “These brooms are hydraulically driven and positioned laterally and vertically by a single hydraulic cylinder. Each gutter broom has an automatic hydraulic pressure sensing adjustment for downward pressure compensation and is full floating. Each gutter broom also has the ability to swing inward under the chassis to eliminate damage when encountering an immovable object. And when the sweeper is in transit the gutter brooms are held up by hydraulic lock valves.

Hendricks says that a familiar option for gutter brooms are a hydraulic tilt feature that allows adjustment from the cab for varying curb, gutter and debris. The Schwarze Gutter Broom Extension Override (GEO) allows the gutter brooms to be moved under the chassis to scrub the area in front of the head and provide agitation to adhered road debris prior to the air blast being encountered.

Schwarze also uses pneumatic cylinders to provide even more pressure when needed. “This option gives the in-cab operator control to pneumatically increase or decrease the gutter broom pressure. It provides more intensive digging capabilities for those situations where the operator needs a little extra.”

“The gutter brooms on Schwarze® sweepers also incorporate an open recessed broom disc. This recessed disc allows for water to immediately drain from around the broom torque motor, therefore extending the life of the torque motor seals and motor in general. Additionally, this design virtually eliminates wire, string and twine from being wrapped around the pump shaft, which could also cause a premature seal failure or motor failure.”

Story by Jennifer Taylor


For More Information:
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■ Schwarze,