All bets are on for compacts sweeping up after the horses
In the practical world of street sweeping you have to talk horse sense to get your message across. One leading manufacturer can cite two examples where cleaning up after the runners and punters has put its machines very much in the frameYour horse is beaten by a short head, in disgust you tear up the betting slip and it falls to the ground - just the clean-up job, says Schmidt, for its UK Classic compact sweeper.
Traditionally, racecourses are cleaned by a tractor or two operating single action brushes, and followed by a team of people with dustpans and brushes to pick up the waste. The Classic sweeper has helped Haydock Park to become a highly successful event centre, not just for the 30 annual race days, but also for occasions such as weddings, pop concerts, commercial conferences and seminars that occupy the grounds for much of the rest of the year.
The problem is not only the variety of litter and waste, but also the volume that is generated. On one of the race days more than 4,000 people can be expected - with all the detritus that people tend to generate during their leisure activities. Waste paper, sandwich boxes, plastics and other litter is joined by straw and horse-droppings. If the weather is wet it sticks firmly to the ground; if it's dry, paper and dust flies everywhere. At Haydock Park one of the major problems is the amount of leaves shed in autumn and winter from the hundreds of mature trees, one of the park's most attractive features.
Waste needs to be quickly and efficiently removed, whether it is hardened to the tarmac or liable to fly in the wind as soon as the brush gets near. Whilst there are a variety of brush types available for different sorts of waste, Haydock Park has selected tough polypropylene bristles to clean - a safe and efficient material, especially when horses and other livestock are around.
"The whole area at Haydock that's laid to tarmac can be swept clean in a day by the Classic. The tractor and brush and follow-up team would take at least three days and involve two men; the Schmidt needs just one. The saving in man-hours is just fantastic," says Haydock Park's Head Groundsman Maurice Crooks
Maintenance of the Schmidt Classic is carried out on site by the racecourse's own mechanics, who also handle all the other vehicles at Haydock. Any problems can be solved over the phone by discussions with technicians at Schmidt's Peterborough factory, the manufacturer adds.
"If we need parts they arrive within a day or two without fail, and when we have a hitch we talk it through on the telephone," says Haydock Park's dedicated Classic driver Michael Lake.
Clean sweep at the stables
Not far from Haydock another Schmidt UK Classic compact has been dealing with the Herculean task of cleaning the stable yard. According to the owners of the livery stable, Bob and Kath Thomson, the job seemed to involve all the stable staff for much of the day at their Hatton, Cheshire farm, can now be completed in just a couple of hours, leaving an environment that is not only clean and safe, but adds a new, professional look to a family hobby and business. It also allows the skilled staff to get on with what they are employed for, looking after the horses in the 30-livery stables.
Bob Thomson opted for the compact sweeper after having tried a variety of motorised vacuum cleaners that tackled part of the job and then some electric sweepers which could not cope with the large area.
"It is ideal," he said. "Outside, the brushes clean the whole area quickly and efficiently, including some cobble stones; outside the arena the Classic cleans right along the corrugated boundaries and into every little nook and cranny; and the wanderhose attachment gets rid of even the most stubborn wet straw and hay. The increased productivity is a real bonus."
The 2,000 m² of stable yard and access road is mostly set to tarmac and during the day it gathers a wide range of muck: straw, leaves, hay, mud from the fields and tractors tyres, and horse droppings. This combination can cause big problems for traditional brush and pan cleaning, and even motorised equipment struggles. However, Schmidt reports that the Classic brushes and vacuum system remove everything on the first sweep, and the high capacity hopper means that there is no need to stop and tip until the job has been completed, even with heavy mud and wet straw.
An additional benefit of the Classic is that it will easily and safely tow the horse boxes around the stable yard, cutting down on manpower and the time involved.
The Classic 151 compact sweeper from Schmidt UK has a gross vehicle weight of 4,000kg with a payload of up to 1,600kg. The short, 1.36 metre wheelbase offers a turning circle of 4 metres, and the individually controlled, swing out forward brushes can climb kerbs up to 200mm high. Hopper volume is 1.5 m3, and there is an 80 litre fresh water tank plus a 290 litre re-circulation tank.
The Classic has a pressure washer as standard for cleaning gullies and gutters
and removal of hardened and biological waste.
Options include a wanderhose and specialist weed brush, and a snow plough attachment and gritting unit can be installed for winter use.