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How Do Road Sweepers Work?

Road sweepers can be seen in every British street. They can even be considered as part and parcel of everyday British living. You might be familiar with the sight of street sweepers driving about in the wee hours of the morning, well before you even start your day. Thanks to these amazing street sweepers, you won’t have to wake up to dusty streets and loitered surroundings.


Many commercial properties all over the country also rely on street sweeping services to keep their private roadways and access roads clean and inviting. No one would want to take a stroll when there is rubbish everywhere, right?


Street sweepers do not only service commercial properties, but they also cater to almost any areas and establishments, whether it’s residential or commercial. Because of their versatility, it’s easy to dismiss just how important street sweepers are.

Here at Supasweep, we have spent many years sourcing street sweepers that truly perform on the road. These amazing trucks with reliable equipment work in incredibly amazing ways. Before you hire a street sweeper for your community or business, wouldn’t you like to know how they work?


Perhaps you’re one of the people who are curious about how these cleaning beasts do the job so well. Consider all your questions answered as we have prepared this article on how road sweepers work.


What mechanisms are at play when they are operating? How can they clean so fast? To answer all those questions, read along.


The Key Components of Every Street Sweeper

Street sweepers are trucks that are widely used by many cleaning companies, property organizations, and public associations. The main purpose of getting these types of cleaning trucks is to efficiently clean roads. This includes preventing dust and rubbish to build up. So, how does each truck function?


It all starts with the following key components:


Brushes

Every cleaning truck comes equipped with stiff mechanical brushes that rotate as the truck moves up and down the street. As the brushes rotate, things on the street like dirt, debris, and garbage are loosened and sucked up. These brushes also efficiently sweep up any fine dust that has settled on the streets or sidewalks.


Flaps

Flaps are attached in front of the brushes to prevent dust and debris from flying out. The flaps serve as the walls that surround the bushes to make sure that any dust or rubbish collected does not go back out on to the streets. The flaps are also important to protect passersby from dust and debris.


Another function of the flaps is to aid in the suction of the sweeper. Since the flaps help create a tighter suction, the level of dirt and rubbish gathered are maximised even further.


Hopper

All the dirt and debris that are collected by the brushes and flaps are brought over to the hopper, where they are collected. Through a vortex of air sucking through the brushes and flaps, all the gathered dirt swirls around and are vacuumed into the hopper. Most of the dirt find their way at the bottom of the hopper, where they are extracted and disposed of.


Blower

The blower works in two ways. First, it puffs air in the direction of the hopper which results in the vacuuming action that pulls all the collected dirt and debris downwards. By keeping the air steady, the dirt and debris stay trapped within the brushes, instead of falling back off on to the ground.


Sprayer

Traditional road sweepers rely on water to maximise their cleaning efficiency. That’s why almost all of the models available are installed with a sprayer. The sprayer is the one that injects water into the incoming dirt stream. By doing so, dust that is blown out in the air is reduced. The sprayer also directs the dirt to settle on the hopper.


Screener

Screeners are located between the hopper and the blower. Screeners, as the name suggests, trap any dust inside the entire mechanism so they don’t go back out to the environment. They work much like the flap but performs a dual-job of getting the dirt in without letting them out.


All these components are connected by a series of pipes, ducts, and hoses. These connectors dictate where the dirt and debris need to be. They are designed to allow for maximum cleaning and minimum disturbance.


The configuration of these components will, of course, vary from one road sweeper model to another. Many brands manufacture them differently. Some configurations have proven more efficient than others, but they all work in practically the same way. All road sweepers must have the key components we have listed here to properly function.


One street sweeper can carry a load of up to 8.4 cubic yards – this is worth approximately three tons of debris. It is amazing to think that one truck alone can scrounge up all that dirt, dust, and debris in one go. You must be wondering how it manages to do all that.


Now that you know all the components that make up a road sweeper, it’s now time to ask the most important question:


How does the cleaning happen?

You might already have an idea of how road sweepers work. But in case you are still scratching your heads trying to figure out the ins and outs of this equipment, worry not. Here, we provide more insight as to how road sweepers work. So, stay tuned.


There are two engines inside the truck – one that powers the truck and one that powers the circular broom heads (brushes), sprayer, and blower.


Let’s talk about the first engine...

The first engine sits right in front, covered by the hood of the truck. It allows the whole truck to move with the level of intensity that we are so used to seeing on the streets of the city.


The second engine, on the other hand...

You can think of the second engine as the one that breathes life into the internal components of the sweepers. It powers the sprayers or sprouts that wet the road and debris. By spraying water, dust is prevented from spreading anywhere else.


The brushes can be found behind the front wheels of the truck. Either of the brushes can be operated one-by-one or in unison. The bristles spin towards the centre to make sure that the debris is pushed towards the head and into the hopper.


The flaps, on the other hand, look like rubber skirts on both sides of the brushes. They keep the debris from shooting out of the spinning brushes, keeping everything that is collected contained in that space before they get blasted by the blower into their final destination.


Once the hopper is filled to the brim with dust and debris, it simply winds down to a halt. The operator will then drive it back to an equipment garage or facility where all the waste can be hauled out and be dumped properly.


Some Misconceptions Regarding Road Sweepers

Contrary to popular belief, road sweepers are vulnerable to sticks and leaves. They can be considered as the kryptonite that can bring the whole thing to a halt. When leaves and sticks get stuck up in the hose, the machine clogs up and chokes.


Ordinary road sweepers have a difficult time picking up larger pieces of rubbish. That is why it is important to know exactly what kind of road sweeper you need for regular street cleaning. Other road sweepers are designed to take up the task of picking up larger pieces like grass clippings, paper, leaves, and other rubbish.


The Biggest Challenge That Road Sweepers Face

While we are on the subject of how road sweepers work, it must also be noted that there is a challenge that hinders road sweepers from working as efficiently as they should. This literal roadblock has plagued so many companies for years, and it is getting the public’s consideration.


Street sweepers are top-of-the-line when it comes to cleaning. The results they produce help the streets look clean and safe. But street sweepers can sometimes underperform due to parked cars. Even when notices are posted way before the actual clean up, cars still pepper the streets and prevent street sweepers from conducting a thorough job.


They are incredibly effective, but they haven’t reached the point of being able to scour through every nook and cranny just yet. That is why parked cars in commercial and even residential areas remain the number one challenge for street sweepers.


Different Street Sweeper Models and How They Work

There are several street sweeper models available in the market nowadays. They may differ in functions, load, and sweeping capacity. But, in general, they still follow the same working mechanisms that we have discussed in the previous sections.


You can use this information for future reference in case you’d like to invest in one. Maybe you wish to hire a street sweeper for your own community. Either way, you can find a lot of insight in the next discussion. Here are the different kinds of street sweepers and how they work:


Conventional Models

The conventional model is one of the most popular models of a sweeper. This standard model operates with two spinning brushes at the front, instead of in the middle. It has an added cylindrical component that brushes further back, depositing the debris into the hopper. The cylindrical brush can be replaced with a suction nozzle for cleaner results.


Vacuum or Suction Sweepers

Vacuum or suction sweepers rely more on the suctioning mechanism of road sweepers to clean. There are many variants to this particular type of sweeper including walk-along and ride-on suction sweepers. You can choose any variety depending on what kind of materials you want to be removed out of your streets.


Mulching Fan Sweeper

Do you have a problem with cumbersome rubbish like cans or bottles? These can be very pesky to remove, especially for conventional sweepers. Mulching fan sweepers are configured to take up all the bigger pieces that conventional sweepers can’t, although they are quite limited to light materials.


Clean Fan Suction Sweeper

Cleaning is generally good for the environment. But there are times when cleaning may disturb dust or materials that should have been left alone. Things like seed pods can be poisonous, yet they are prominent in several areas of the country. For this reason, a clean fan suction sweeper is the best choice as it can suction materials without the risk of spreading the particulates.


Regenerative Air Sweeper

Not all roads are perfect. Old roads have prominent cracks and holes that serve as a breeding ground for dirt and debris. So, for surfaces that have cracks and holes, regenerative air sweepers work best. These sweepers are designed in such a way that they can reach smaller and deeper areas than the conventional types. Regenerative air models are also considered the most cost-effective among all the other models out there.


Multi-Purpose Models

If you wish to hit multiple goals with one sweeper, then hire multi-purpose models that can sweep up practically anything (within reason) out of the ground. Reputable sweeping companies like Supasweep has a wide selection of multi-purpose models that we can use for various sweeping needs.


Our models can be outfitted with custom mower blades, snowploughs, and gritting attachments. Our highly versatile fleet can cover a wide range of needs from residential to commercial premises.


Last Thing to Keep in Mind

Of course, all of the special features that come with any road sweepers would be for nought if they are not well-maintained. Poorly maintained sweepers are very inefficient and dangerous. If you are looking for sweeping companies, make sure to work with ones that look after each of their sweepers.


Want to Learn More? Call Supasweep Today

Hiring road sweepers to clean up your premises poses a lot of benefits. And now that you know just how efficient road sweepers work, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with reputable sweepers like Supasweep.


We have a well-rounded fleet of road sweepers that can perform without fail. Transform your streets into clean and inviting spaces with the help of Supasweep.

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