Test driving a sweeper

Gutter broom pitch, tilt, speed adjustment, and water nozzles for dust suppression at the gutter broom also maximize small micron pickup and minimize dust. But the most important purchase consideration is choosing the right sweeper for the job and configuring the machine correctly for that application.

Determine your community’s prevailing needs in terms of debris removal, maneuverability, transport speed, and off-loading requirements. For example, mechanical broom sweepers pick up construction debris and granular materials such as millings and gravel. Regenerative air sweepers are ideal for picking up leaves, pine cones, pine needles, silt, and sand.

Be sure to test sweepers according to your particular requirements.

If leaves are your biggest problem, finalize the purchase in the fall when you can compare how well various models pick them up. If spring cleanup (sand and cinders in Snow Belt states) is the central issue, then test under those conditions. For pollution control, sweeping frequency almost always trumps differences in pickup efficiency as long as the sweepers are relatively new and well maintained.

Weather, traffic, and geography impact how much debris is within 3 feet of the curb line. Most sweepers move that debris into the machine’s path via a gutter broom. Because most debris is often close to the curb, Elgin Sweeper Co.’s vacuum-based Whirlwind has a side-shift head that tracks outward 15 inches from the chassis tire to provide suction right next to the curb.

Today, most manufacturers offer models that can be operated on compressed natural gas (CNG). However, because of the 2010 upgrade to emission requirements, diesel now rivals CNG for cleanliness. Finding CNG filling locations can be a challenge and because the tank requires additional space, some sweeper models and/or particular features are restricted when CNG is specified.

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