Challengers sharpen competition in street sweeping marketplace

In a specially commissioned contribution for LAWE's Street Cleansing feature, freelance specialist writer, Mike Gerber, formerly Editor of Waste Transport and Deputy Editor of The Waste Manager, reports on new developments in equipment on show at the recent IWM Torbay exhibition which promise to offer even more choice to customers in this sector

The new kid on the block in the UK truck-mounted sweeper market, Schmidt, was at Paignton looking in no mood to have sand kicked its face.

The SK650 takes a "totally new look" at truck-based mounting, says the company. It is built as a single package, "not a sweeping unit bolted in to a truck body", says Schmidt.
Hopper capacity of 6.5m3 on a wheelbase of 3.105 metres gives "unrivalled capacity/manoeuvrability ratio", the manufacturer states.

All data is signalled on a large display screen, which is part of the central control panel. A hand-held remote control means the hopper can be emptied away from the cab. The side brush swings out up to 150mm for sweeping round tight curves.

LAWE understands that a hydrostatic drive version of the SK650 is planned.
Its appearance represents a move beyond the compact suction sweepers, the current models are the Swingo and Classic - on which Schmidt has built its name.

Two new models
Scarab hit back with a double whammy of new truck-mounted sweepers. Wizard sounding is the mid-range Merlin series that replaces the Scarab Major 3000 and 5000 models, offering increased body capacity, up from five cubic metres to 5.5m3, and stainless steel bodywork throughout. The Merlin delivers some15% bigger payloads than comparable twin-engined sweepers for an equivalent GVW chassis, says Scarab.

Replacing Scarab's Maxim is the new Magnum. Its 6.5 m3 body offers increased water capacity, 1,800 litres compared with 1,300 before, and says, Scarab, you get bigger payloads and volume capacity than with twin-engined sweepers on equivalent chassis.

Both the Merlin series and the Magnum are available with either hydrostatic or unidrive options, and the company adds that its single-engined truck mounted sweepers significantly reduce exhaust emissions and fuel.
Back on show was the Scarab Minor, but with a new cab design. And the mid-size Scarab Monic 4000 is now Euro 3 ready.

Mini sweeper contender
Shaping up to be a major contender in the mini sweeper market is Hako's new Citymaster 300, which made its first IWM appearance.

Seen in prototype at the Saltex show last year, the Citymaster went in to full production at the end of January. The company targeted 35 sales of its new baby for the year but, LAWE was told, it has already sold 30 within the first five months and the latest we hear, post-show, is that figure is now approaching 40. Customers include North Tyneside, Greenwich and (through sister company Alpha Plus) Edinburgh.

A winning feature is that the Citymaster 300 is articulated, enhancing manoeuvrability so that the unit can pass through narrow gaps. Moreover, instead of the conventional fixed hopper at the back, there is a flexible mobile unit for transporting a 240 litre wheeled bin, which increases the range of disposal options open to the operator and cuts back on the number of rides.

John Allen, Hako General Manager of municipal sales, was delighted with the response at the show, commenting: "Local authorities have been cutting back on sending people on jollies. There were more serious enquiries."

Mr Allen added: "I would regard this machine as a hybrid; on one level it is a precinct sweeper and on the other a walk-behind machine, and I honestly believe that we'll take market away from both ends. "

International choice
New on the Mercedes-Benz stand was the Atego 1317KO, a dedicated sweeper body from the German motoring giant. The model on show was fitted with a JEL sweeper body for North Lincolnshire County Council.

Making its IWM debut on the Merc stand was a U400 version of the on-off road Unimog, a versatile beast in this instance fitted with a Ducker mower, but, as the company points out, for pavement cleaning there is an additional one metre long rotating wire brush.
Euromec used the show for the UK launch of the Channel-hopping Aquazura vacuum scrubber. Mathieu Yno, the French manufacturers, claims the Aquazura combines two technologies never before linked, brushing/washing and suction. A patented feature is the use of a water recycling container, with an independent head, which supplies the scrubbing head with clean water. A filter system is used so that the dirty water can be recycled for reuse on the scrubbing head. The latter item is also patented with an offset function for right and/or left lateral brushes to increase the working width. The five brushes are independent to adapt to a variety of surfaces.

"Camden council in north London already has four and is probably going of another two," Euromec told LAWE.

Another debutante on the Euromec stand was the RCM Ronda, a nifty and rather attractive looking small vacuum or mechanical sweeper from Italy.

On-line innovation
Applied Sweepers swept into Torbay with news of its new on-line ordering system for parts, the first such service in the sweeper industry according to the company. More than 1,000 sweeper parts are now available from at the click of a mouse.

The Falkirk-based outfit has tweaked its 414 models with new, and we are assured improved, control consoles. The 414S2D is Applied's walk-behind controlled-suction sweeper for street application in confined spaces. The 414RS is the ride-on variant.

And there are the 424 sweepers, nothing to do with football, but Applied's "next generation" green machines. The 424TR includes an automotive-style seat for increased operator comfort, which can be removed when it is required to use the machine in pedestrian mode. Then there is the 424HS, the HS standing for Hi-Speed. This machine can go at up to 10mph and, says Applied, typically covers a mile in under seven minutes through traffic. All models come with low fuel consumption, low emission Kubota diesel engines.

At the show was a new compact sweeper from Tristar Engineering Systems, the Busy Bee 2000. This features a three-brush sweeping system, and can discharge at high level to tip into containers, or low level into plastic bags.

On the same stand, from Dirt Driver, the family-owned manufacturer of high pressure washing equipment, was the NDHM.30/PC Precinct Cleaner. "This is the first time we have collaborated to mount the Mobile Diesel Hot Washer on a battery-operated vehicle," said Jennie Akers, who runs the company with Nigel Driver, son of the founder, John.
Grandage Engineering showcased the latest GS1000 Super Series Three sweepers. These come with a choice of petrol, petrol/LPG, LPG only or diesel engines.

Johnston Engineering made its presence felt by putting up its biggest stand ever to show its established surface cleaning and sweeping machines, with eight models exhibited including the latest 2002 spec model of the Johnston Compact which was launched at the show.

The most obvious changes to the Compact are in the cab, which now comes in a jade trim, with a new "Wizard'"sweeper monitor and ergonomically designed centre console with revised switch layout to make the cab roomier. Other cab changes include a higher spec heater, a powerful audio system, and the low profile KAB air suspended double thickness driver's seat which adjusts in every direction.

The aim behind the redesign has been to make the Compact feel and drive more like a automatic car than an industrial vehicle, and with cruise control and anti-stall features for both the C40 and C50, and a completely new transmission system for the C40 version, Johnston reckons it has succeeded.



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