Floor cleaning in industry serves several purposes, including preventing accidents from occurring, helping buildings, machines and fixtures and fittings to retain their value and improving a company’s overall image. The benefit of cleaning is counterbalanced with a corresponding financial outlay which can be best reduced by using modern sweeping technology.
Which criteria should be taken into account when purchasing a sweeper? First of all, you should be clear about which drive types are suitable: push-along machines are used for small surface areas, battery-electric machines for internal areas and petrol, diesel or gas-driven machines for outside areas, underground garages and open warehouses. Ride-on sweepers should be chosen for large surface areas and walk-behind machines, where the operator is behind the device, should be chosen for small and medium-sized surface areas.
The ‘theoretical’ area coverage is a good way of comparing sweeper models and is the product of working width and forward movement (driving speed). Actual area coverage, however, depends heavily on the composition of the floor, the level of dirt and the profile of the terrain.
The sweeper technology is the same in most cases: a roller brush mounted vertical to the direction of travel transports the loose dirt into a waste container. The dirt from the edges and corners is swept into the path of the roller brush by the side brush(es). There are two main sweeping principles: the dustpan principle and the throw-over principle which is being used more and more with vacuum sweepers. The throw-over technique has several advantages: as the waste container is located behind the roller, the machine has so much ground clearance in front of the roller brush that even larger objects can pass through the roller. By opening the coarse dirt flap, depending on the size of the machine, even drinks cans or logs of wood the size of bricks can be picked up. With ride-on machines that work on the throw-over principle, the driver’s chair can be placed at the front where the operator has the best overview. In addition, with this technology, the maximum potential of the waste container is exploited since it is filled from above.
It should be possible to adjust the height of sweeper brushes. It is even better if they can be free-floating. That way they automatically adjust to uneven ground and don’t have to be readjusted if the bristles wear away. Side brushes of heavy sweepers free-float on two axles in order to guarantee the best possible sweeping results even at the edges and avoid any damage.
Sweeping machines can do better services
“The total outdoor area of our premise that needs sweeping is around 57 acres. We have high pressure battery operated ride-on sweeping machines for outdoor sweeping. It takes three hours to clean the whole area. After getting charged for 7-8 hours, it works for the next five hours continuously and sweeps easily the whole area.
The machine bought from Bhawna enterprises on contract basis is good but has its own flaws. It doesn’t work well in rainy season. Overall, along with the cost effectiveness, it has other benefits like reduced manpower, less time consumption, high quality sweeping, making the machine a good-buy product.
It’s better to get the machine on contract basis rather than directly buy it. This is because in case of service related problems, it takes days to get them fixed, which certainly is not with the case of contractors. Also, we are experiencing side brush quality problems; we feel that the brooms are not up to the mark. Corners, side areas are very difficult to clean.”
L&T MHI Turbine Generators Pvt Ltd
The bristles also have a decisive influence on the sweeping results. There are three types of edgings for roller brushes: the straight edge, which is mainly used for walk-behind machines, ensures even distribution of the waste in the waste container but is not very smooth because the bristles are not in constant contact with the floor. A coil-shaped curved edge achieves better smoothness but the waste container is only filled from one side. A V-shaped bristle achieves the best level of smoothness and dirt is thrown into the middle of the waste container where it is evenly distributed.
Suction and filter facilities in vacuum sweepers ensure clean exhaust air and therefore protect the surrounding environment from any secondary contamination. Machines in higher classes come with automatic electrical filter shakers as standard, ensuring continual operation and also ensuring that the filters have a long service life. It should be possible to switch dust suction off, if necessary, for example when sweeping wet surfaces, in order to protect the filter from moisture.
“When we are ready with a three storey parking facility, we will go for mechanised sweeping. The total area of the parking space will be around 1,20000sqft. We are open to both – battery powered/ petrol based or Ride-on/walk behind.
In hospitals, time is an important parameter. We have to exactly look into the time span which can be given to sweeping job. One of the biggest problems with manual cleaning is that it does not fall in line with the schedule. With mechanised cleaning, late night sweeping can solve problems related to time and manpower.”
HOD (House Keeping),
Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital & Research Center
Purchasers should also pay attention to the sweeper’s steering technology. Front-wheel steering has several advantages over rear-wheel steering, which is commonly found: since the rear does not swing out when turning, the driver does not have to move back if he/she wishes to pull away from a shelf or a wall after going around a corner. Less training is required than with rear-wheel steering vehicles as front-wheel driving conveys the same driving feeling as that of driving a car.
Users should take an interest in the technical details that increase a sweeper’s user-friendliness. All controls should be within the user’s reach and clearly located on a panel. All of the sweeper’s power units should be easily accessible for easy maintenance and repair by simply opening the bonnet.