A Fountain of Information

Schwarze Industries has trained and trusted dealers throughout the United States and internationally. Most likely there will be a dealer near you. There is even a convenient dealer locator on the Schwarze website.

Schwarze Warranty and Training Administrator Costas Cordonis has been with the company for 27 years and earning the a reputation as a maintenance guru. “You can say I grew up in the industry. I know many of the people reading this article and might even have trained some while they were just starting in the sweeping business. Sweeping is in my blood and over the years I hope I’ve become a source of information regarding Schwarze sweepers and the sweeping industry in general.”
Cordonis is committed to teaching sweeper owners how to properly maintain their sweepers thereby extending the life of the sweeper and saving money in the long run. “As your sweeper gets older, some of the vital parts are aging at the same time, wearing out and losing their initial performance status.
“A good maintenance program is perhaps the best cost-benefit value. When a sweeper leaves the factory, it has a manual that covers both the sweeper unit and the chassis truck. Minor points of maintenance change from model to model, making it very important to always go through the manuals when you take delivery of your new sweeper.”
Cordonis is also committed to Schwarze, “The great thing about working at Schwarze Industries is that no matter how the company has grown, it has kept that family-oriented business feel. The people who work here are like a family, and many have been here as long as I have.”
That family-man mentality shows in Cordonis through his commitment to share his knowledge with sweeper owners. He has outlined the following maintenance tips to help owners keep their sweepers in good working condition longer.
Off-season Maintenance
“For those in the northern states, winter is a time when special care has to be taken to keep sweepers in top running condition. Cold temperatures, salt, sand and icy conditions can keep your sweeper from going strong.
“When sweepers are out cleaning up the salt and sand mixture off the roads, the salt gets in between the solenoid’s cartridge and magnetic coil. In those instances, once a week, the coils need to be taken off the screw-in valves that they slide on. Using fine sand paper clean any salt corrosion from the coil and valves and apply di-electric grease onto the valves. This will minimize the ability of the salt to reenter.
“The sweeper’s water system is another frequent victim of cold weather. If you don’t have a heated building where you store your sweepers when they’re not in use, you have to make sure your water system is completely drained and all your lines are empty.
“Always refer to your sweeper owner’s manual for specific instructions. There is a specific section in your sweeper manual for winterizing your sweeper, if you follow those procedures, your sweeper will get through the coldest winter without sustaining any damage.

Ongoing Maintenance
Some important steps to go through are:
• Keep the hopper screen clean at all times
• Watch for fan wear once every 2 to 3 months
• Replace all worn out seals (inspect doors, dump doors,
fan to hopper seals, etc.)
• Inspect the fan drive line to assure correct RPM’s
• Inspect the sweeping head, adjust and maintain the
rubber skirts for optimum air flow and seal to the ground
• Adjust the curb brooms, strike pattern
• Check and adjust conveyor belt/chain as needed
• Adjust rear broom speed and strike pattern
• Keep hydraulic pressures and oil levels checked regularly
• Assure complete operation of the water system

You can also re-energize your sweeper by:
• Replacing the sweeper fan
• Rebuilding or replacing the drive line
• Replacing all seals
• Replacing a bent or twisted sweeping head
• Replacing and adjusting the skirts
• Replacing the curb broom and worn moving parts
• Replacing any bent broom parts (disc, arms, pivot brackets)
• Repairing or replacing inoperative water system components

On mechanical sweepers you can:
• Replace damaged conveyor belt and rollers
• Adjust or replace stretched conveyor chain and sprockets
• Replace bent or damaged rear broom side plates
• Replace any leaking hydraulic cylinders
• Replace any weak hydraulic motors
• Replace down pressure adjusting cylinders

“Every Schwarze sweeper manual comes with a detailed maintenance schedule with specific dates and times to easily keep track of your sweeper maintenance throughout the year.
“The most recent up-to-date operation and maintenance manuals are available on the Schwarze website. Even if you are running an older Schwarze model sweeper (yes, when taken good care of they run for years and years) our customer service representatives are always happy to email you a copy of this section from the original manual when needed. Make sure to give them a call at 800-879-7934.

Hiring a Mechanic
“Interviews should not solely determine the ‘yes’ decision for you. You will hire someone you like or who says something that resonates with you if you just go by the interview, and that will be dangerous because each of us has our own internal standards that may or may not be objective.
“Of course, you should still interview, because an interview will uncover things like whether they show up on time and are prepared for the interview. You can see if they have needle marks on their arms or twitch strangely. Do they get 15 cell phone calls while you are trying to talk to them, and other “no” things?
“Someone who doesn’t follow directions well, believes they are too good to follow someone else’s process, or does not pressure-check to be sure the oil filter is on tight, will blow a $5,000 sweeper engine on their third day of work.
“Do not follow your feelings. Do not care about anyone else’s feelings. Hiring is life and death. Use something objective which will tell you yes or no and use a process you can trust. For example:
1. Use an objective screening tool
2. Check on them in person for obvious red flags
3. Drug test
4. Criminal records check
5. Credit check if they will be handling money
6. Photocopy driver’s license

“Do not leave anything out of this process no matter what. Some people will self-eliminate and will not subject themselves to part of the process, in which case, they saved you some time and an empty cash drawer.
“After you’ve made the hire, enroll the new employee in a factory training session with Schwarze. We provide training for dealers and contractors year round. They will learn hands-on the ins and outs of a Schwarze sweeper. We will even give them an official Schwarze training certificate after they graduate.

Finding a Good Shop
“Schwarze Industries has trained and trusted dealers throughout the United States and internationally. Most likely there will be a dealer near you. There is even a convenient dealer locator on the Schwarze website.
“Ask around. Colleagues in the sweeping industry have sweepers and have to get them serviced somewhere. Find out how they feel about their mechanics.
Internet sites and discussion forums like NAPSA and The World Sweeping Association can provide ‘sanity checks’ on prices and reasons for repairs.
“The advantage of a Schwarze dealer is that they have parts on hand. They can often save time with parts taken from a comprehensive inventory rather than waiting for them to arrive from elsewhere.
“Always ensure the mechanic uses original-equipment-manufacturer (“OEM”) parts. Sweeper manufacturers make, or obtain through their parts suppliers, and sell spare parts which should match the originals perfectly, known as OEM parts. Dealers normally use these.
“Other, aftermarket manufacturers, rebuilders or remanufacturers take apart and clean used parts, replace whatever may have broken, readjust, refit or replace whatever tends to wear out. Even though dealerships might sometimes charge a little more for parts and labor than other mechanics, they know your sweeper in and out and are able to get the job done perfectly. Aftermarket and rebuilt parts typically cost less but you will pay for it in the end. Independent mechanics typically use aftermarket parts, and sometimes rebuilt or salvage parts, so ask before installing something that is not new.”

Good mechanic vs. bad mechanic
“There are a few professions known for having some less-than-honest practices. Unfortunately, mechanics are one of these professions. If your sweeper breaks down, you’re going to need a darn good mechanic. If you are not choosing a trusted dealer take a look at some tips to spot a bad mechanic, so you can make sure that yours is a good one.

• Get a written quote. Be sure the quote states the mechanic
will call if the repair might be higher than quoted.
• Call the Better Business Bureau for advice. Stick with a
Schwarze dealer if you can.
• The use of technical terms does not equate to expertise.
Ask him to explain each part and its function. Willingness
to explain everything until you understand shows good
understanding and customer service.
• All mechanics should be willing to give you your old parts
back. Always ask. This alerts the repairman you are
watching, and you won’t be ripped off.
• Every part has a guarantee from the manufacturer. Beware
if the mechanic does not guarantee the parts.
• Look over the bill very carefully. If you see something
wrong, the mechanic should be willing to explain.

More Tips
“I have been working with our marketing department to produce something we call Sweeper “Tipics” (tip pictures) here at Schwarze. I am very excited about it. These images contain one maintenance or interesting tip at a time, are spread around on social media and by email for anybody who is interested and they are a great success. As people are sharing these tips with their online friends and colleagues, it keeps sweeper maintenance on their minds at all times. And that’s what it’s all about. For a long-lasting sweeper, maintenance should be on your mind every single day.”

For more information, visit www.schwarze.com