Technology Gives Sweepers a Boost

Recently, several Schwarze managers participated in a discussion about the evolution of sweeping, and new technology and trends, including Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Product Management Greg Heyer, Regional Sales Manager Raymond Massey, Sales Operations Manager Joe Hendrickson, Product Manager Jim Adair, Product Manager Brian Giles and Warranty and Training Administrator Costas Cordonis.
What trends have you seen develop over the last few years when it comes to street sweepers?

“A lot!” explains Massey. “Sweeper owners want a safe and efficient sweeper capable of cleaning a variety of surfaces for the least cost per mile and the least amount of downtime. Thankfully Schwarze regenerative air sweepers have the fewest moving components of any sweeper in the industry, resulting in less maintenance and lower operating costs. The low maintenance design of the Schwarze regenerative air machines make them the most cost effective street sweepers to operate while addressing environmental concerns by meeting SCAQMD’s rule 1186 for performance and controlling dust.”
Hendrickson adds, “Owners are also extending the replacement cycle of sweepers in order to delay the cost of replacement, so good maintenance and customer support has become very important.”

How has sweeper technology evolved over the past few years?

“It’s amazing how sweeper technology has evolved over the years,” says Massey. “Sweepers have become so much more powerful, better built and easy to operate, which all equates to better productivity and less maintenance. The addition of computer controlled engines, consoles and sweeping systems with system diagnostics make it so much easier to operate. For instance, the Schwarze Six Sense Controls™ found on the Schwarze M6 Avalanche units give operators the ability to start sweeping with the touch of just one button. Can you imagine? If you can switch to your favorite pre-set radio station, you can now switch to your favorite pre-set sweeping settings.”
Adair adds, “The Six Sense controls not only give you one-button control of your saved setting, but there are six of these buttons for six different configurations the operator can save. The display on the Six Sense also gives you visual and text indications of what each function setting is and includes easy-to-read bar graph gauges to report levels, temperatures and pressures.”

What new technology do today’s sweepers offer?

“Good dust control is a must,” says Massey. “Quieter, more fuel-efficient sweepers are becoming the norm. Technology like the Schwarze Whisperwheel™ fan system that is 70 percent quieter and uses 20 percent less fuel than the fan systems on most competitive models allows Schwarze sweepers to be utilized at night without being a nuisance to the residents. As for the 20 percent less fuel, in times like today when fuel prices continue to climb, this is a large savings when figuring the operational costs for a day, week, month or budget year.”
Adair continues, “Fugitive dust in today’s technology is controlled through a combination of internal separator and a high-capacity water dust suppression system. The Schwarze A7 Tornado for instance utilizes a 29,000 cubic-inch centrifugal dust separator that is one of the largest in the industry. Removing fine dust from the air stream which could contain up to 21 various toxins including mercury and barium.”
“We also see easier ways to clean sweepers with systems like the Schwarze Deluge, which makes cleaning the inside of the hopper a breeze,” says Hendrickson.

Have you seen any developments in air or vacuum systems?

Heyer says, “In vacuum systems? No, almost none at all! We are amazed how little pure vacuum systems have evolved over the years when compared to regenerative air or mechanical sweepers. With a vacuum system you seem to be stuck with that small sweeping head or you’ll lose suction.”
“This is not the case with regenerative air sweepers,” adds Adair. “The Schwarze A7 Tornado regenerative air sweeper for instance utilizes a dual chambered blast orifice type suction head that is one of the largest in the industry with dimensions of 36″ x 90″. This large size allows for more bulky materials to be transferred under the head and is especially advantageous when sweeping leaves.
“Sweeping heads designed to sweep both forward and backward, eliminating the need to raise the sweeping head when backing up, which is a production and safety issue, as raising the sweeping head when in operation mode can disperse debris around the sweeper.
“Options like the Schwarze Gutter Broom Extension Override (GEO) which allows the gutter brooms to move under the chassis to scrub the area in front of the sweeping head and hydraulic broom tilt features to allow adjustment from the cab for varying curb, gutter and debris have made leaps in the development of our sweepers.”

What changes have there been in terms of fueling? How about engines (e.g. dual versus single, etc.)?

“We are all starting to see the low emission Tier IV engines,” says Adair. “Even though the cost has increased considerably, the exhaust from these engines have never been cleaner. In some cases the air going into the engine is dirtier than the exhaust coming out. These engines are electronic and provide the end-user with excellent in-console diagnostic capabilities and monitoring for engine hours, fuel consumption, engine RPM’s, fault codes, etc. These electronic engines are more fuel efficient and cleaner burning to meet the new EPA emission standards.”
“Once in a while we still hear the discussion about single engines, but currently, the single engine platform remains minimum and can mainly be found in small parking area sweepers,” adds Giles. “But power and performance with those single-engine machines is really a problem and will actually start costing you more in the long run.”

Have there been any developments in terms of what it takes to maintain sweepers?

“Yes,” says Heyer. “Schwarze has made vast improvement in ease of general maintenance to its sweepers, especially its mechanical sweepers. Service tasks that may have taken hours before now can be done in mere minutes.”
Cordonis adds, “But nevertheless, a good preventative maintenance program is still the best cost-benefit value to your sweeper. Every sweeping municipality should have a program in place to catch any loose parts, misalignments, vibrations, etc. early on.
“Every Schwarze sweeper that leaves the factory comes with an operations and maintenance manual that covers both the sweeper unit and chassis truck. It is important to go through that manual when you first receive the unit, even if you’ve been in business for many years, as minor points of maintenance change from model year to model year.
“If you haven’t started a preventive maintenance program for your sweepers, start one today. Involve your operators in the concept and make sure they understand the manual. With a good preventive maintenance program many sweeper woes can be stopped before they start.”
Next month, the managers continue their discussion about the sweeping industry.

Story by Jennifer Taylor