Sweeper design drives to meet rising standards

Higher expectations of street cleansing performance from central and local government are being matched by continuing development and innovation, both from established equipment and new competitors in the market, LAWE Editor Alexander Catto reports

According to Alan Woods, Chief Executive of ENCAMS (the former Tidy Britain Group), increasing central government recognition of the importance of a cleaner, safer environment for every citizen must mean that there is a brighter future in store for the streets and open spaces of Britain spaces.

He also discussed not only ENCAMS's own latest campaigns, increasingly to be directed at a particular target audience, whether young males dropping litter outside football grounds, or the 4.6 million people who allow their dogs to foul public places, but also the environmental initiatives currently being considered at both local and central government level, all aimed at creating improvements in the condition of the country's public places. However, while there was already a plethora of statute law, regulations, policy guidance and local design guides, it was still not clear what local authorities should see as their priorities, not how their responsibilities should be co-ordinated and funded.

"It is these issues which need addressing urgently if public confidence in, and enjoyment of, our open spaces is to be revived,"he said. Mr Woods also expressed the view that in our cities we ought to focus our efforts increasingly on "producing a level standard - in other words, trying to bring standards in our poorer areas up to the standards of the best."

Equipment on parade
There is certainly no shortage of street cleansing equipment suppliers keen to help local authorities and private contractors meet the high standards of cleanliness required on highways and precincts.

Last month's annual IWM Torbay event provided a platform for both established players in the field and new entrants from as far afield as Australia, in the shape of the Schwarze regenerative air sweeper. Based on an original American design, but re-engineered , developed and manufactured in Australia to meet conditions in that environment, the Schwarze A6500XL features a "closed loop" in which a finely directed high pressure airflow, rather than a large sweeper brush, dislodges debris from the road surface and guides it towards a vacuum stream.

UK Sales Manager, Malcolm Cameron told LAWE that the machine is currently doing the rounds on demos around the country after attracting considerable interest at the IWM event.

Features include a 7m3 capacity stainless steel hopper, and a 115hp suction engine offering 17,000ft2 of suction per minute. The "closed loop" design minimises the emission of pollutants to the atmosphere. Dual tilting gutter brooms have full in-cab control and overall height is 2,740mm.

Aiming for the UK top spot
The winds of change have also swept in new approaches among established names in the UK market. Paul Diver, Managing Director of Schmidt UK Ltd, acknowledging that the company has been a "slumbering giant" in past years, has introduced a new management style with an emphasis on quality products and long-term customer care.

The Peterborough UK operation, part of the pan-European Schmidt group, manufactures the range of Swingo and Classic compact sweepers which the company reports continue to hold market leadership in Europe.

Mr Diver says that concentration on very high levels of technological development were the prime reasons for the achievement. Another key factor is his recognition of the very strong influence the driver has on equipment selection. This is reflected in "the level of driver comfort, not only in the cab, but also in operating and driving the vehicle."

In the UK market the Schmidt UK MD has set his sights on going from Number Two to Number One.

Good news on that front is news that the new British designed and built Schmidt Classic 3 compact sweeper, launched at IWM 2002, has notched up a sales success in Renfrewshire and in Frankfurt, Germany.

The high capacity Classic 3 has been upgraded with the introduction of a new, environmentally friendly Euro 3 VM engine, offering increased productivity.

In Renfrewshire, the council's Cleansing Department specifically requested the Classic 3 to operate in the city of Paisley's high density housing areas, which include many alleys, walkways, car parks and pedestrian precincts.

Frankfurt environmental services authority has placed an order for 16 of the machines after a competitive challenge and evaluation. The VM engine proved an influential factor along with the service and maintenance support provided by Schmidt's sister companies in Germany.


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