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Home News An Overview of Power Sweeping Equipment Technology - New Technology High Efficiency Sweepers
An Overview of Power Sweeping Equipment Technology - New Technology High Efficiency Sweepers
street sweeper This is a relatively new technology that employs various fugitive dust loss controls. The roster of current high-efficiency sweepers includes a variety of different types of machines, including vacuum, regenerative air and one known mechanical broom machine, for example, to efficiently remove accumulated particulate material (PM) and associated organic material.

The key to the current definition of a high-efficiency sweeper is that these machines not only remove a high level accumulated material of all sizes (but especially small-micron material less than 60 microns) but are designed to control fugitive dust losses. This means they are designed to exhaust no visible fugitive dust and most are designed to sweep without water. Not having to deal with water is a huge plus in terms of time savings and fuel savings since water is heavy and adds to the machine's weigh that has to be transported.
The term high-efficiently sweeper was first coined by the author in 1997 to describe a brand new vacuum sweeping technology that employed a sophisticated filtration system for dust containment in combination with the use of both main and gutter brooms (Sutherland and Jelen, 1997). This high-efficiency vacuum sweeper (which is no longer in production) was developed by Enviro Whirl Technologies of Centralia, Illinois in 1995 and later acquired by Schwarze Industries of Huntsville, Alabama in 1999.
The EV-series machines that Schwarze then built and marketed based on the original Enviro Whirl design employed a unique self-cleaning filtration system that can filter 'dust' and only exhaust PM less than 2.5 microns. Fugitive dust control was not available at that time by any other sweeper in the nation. And since the EV-series fan operated only in filtered air with no debris or dust coming in contact with the blades, the manufacturer could provide a lifetime guarantee for the fan, which was unheard of at the time.
Tests showed that the pickup ability of the EV-series' sweeping technology surpassed even that of the regenerative air sweepers that were available at the time (Sutherland and Jelen, 1997). Because the EV used no water for dust suppression, and because it cleaned to a very small-micron level, these machines were ideal for any application where dangerous or toxic materials are present. This includes usage in industrial and manufacturing settings where material needs to be recycled, reused or securely contained and disposed of after pickup.
Unfortunately, the EV machines were much more expensive to purchase and the relatively unknown cost of maintenance remained a concern. More importantly, because they were mounted onto a tractor chassis instead of a truck chassis, their top non-sweeping speed of about 25 mph was seen as a huge disadvantage in the municipal sweeping marketplace especially for large cities. Schwarze no longer produces the EV machines and their only established market was as an industrial sweeper, for exclusive use on industrial sites where toxic and/or hazardous materials needed to be cleaned up and/or recycled. Historically that's where the vast majority of the extremely limited EV-series sales actually occurred.
However, the invention of the Enviro Whirl sweeper and its subsequent testing, in conjunction with the purchase of this technology in 1999 by Schwarze Industries, a major sweeper manufacturer, signaled to the power sweeping industry that air filtration systems needed to control fugitive dust losses and allow machines to sweep dry was the way of the future. Two other companies have subsequently responded with the development and release of several sweeper models that vie for the coveted label as a high-efficiency machine.
Elgin Sweeper Company of Elgin, Illinois, developed a patented dust suppression system with a powerful vacuum fan to create an airstream, main and side broom skirting for dust capture, and a long-life, low maintenance filter between the hopper and the vacuum fan.
These components together create a highly effective method for controlling fugitive dust generation that usually occurs during sweeping. This dust suppression system is also available for their mechanical sweeper called the "Eagle". In addition, Elgin just released another fugitive dust control system that is available on their regenerative air model called the "Crosswind NX". Real world pick-up performance testing of the waterless Eagle and the Crosswind NX conducted by Pacific Water Resources, Inc. in July 2008 verified that these sweepers provided excellent overall pick-up including small micron particles and did not create any observable fugitive dust losses (PWR, 2008). These are the underlying requirements for classification as a high efficiency sweeper.
Tymco of Wasco, Texas is another street sweeper manufacturer that has developed a dust suppression system available on two of its sweeper models which should qualify these models as high-efficiency machines. Tymco prides itself as the originator of regenerative air sweeping technology, which is the only type of sweepers they manufacture. Two of their sweeper models (that is, "DST-4" and "DST-6") currently have a dust control system. The system is a multi-pass cylindrical centrifugal dust separator that they claim provides for maximum particulate separation. The small amount of air that is diverted from the regenerative air system to achieve the dustless effect is filtered through TYMCO's patented DST system. The DST system filters 90 percent of the diverted air through a pre-cleaner. The remaining 10 percent is filtered through cartridge filters. An intermittent air pulse cleans these filters automatically.
Schwarze Industries recently introduced a new waterless regenerative air sweeper called the "DXR" that employs a fugitive dust loss control technology that should qualify it as a high-efficiency machine. Schwarze claims that the DXR sweeper is a heavy-duty, chassis-mounted, dustless regenerative air sweeper with an 8 cubic yard hopper and its basic design has over 20 years of successful operation.
The DXR sweeper's dust containment chamber is integral to the hopper and utilizes a series of cartridge filters that filter 100 percent of the air prior to insertion into the blower. Schwarze claims this design reduces overall wear to key components including the blower fan and sweeping head while providing dust control in the most extreme conditions. The sweeping head is also equipped with a suction side skid nozzle to further eliminate dust from becoming airborne. The sweeping head suction tube is equipped with suction hoses that are connected to the shrouded gutter brooms that provide additional dry dust control.
Advantages: Most thorough cleaning of all sweeper types, with apparent pickup capabilities at and/or below PM-10. Collected debris is not mixed with water. Can be operated in freezing weather, since there is no need for water-based dust suppression. By not using water, there is a cost-savings from not having to fill the water tanks. This also means the sweeper will hold more material prior to having to dump, since no part of it is water.
Disadvantages: Untested technology relative to all other types of sweepers. Little known about long-term ability of any of the machines to actually operate without use of water for dust suppression. May have higher repair incidence to fan systems due to not using water for dust suppression.


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