Blessed are the street sweepers: the most popular machines for 2018

Written by: Steed Webzell | Published:
Dawsonrentals added 46 new machines to its fleet

As the proverb says, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Steed Webzell finds out which sweepers are currently proving popular here, abroad – and even in the Vatican.

Among stand-out investments of recent months was a municipal vehicle order from Dawsonrentals Sweepers that saw 46 new 15-tonne Iveco Eurocargo road sweepers delivered into the company's 700-strong fleet. The order marks the largest for Iveco road sweepers in the UK since relaunching a dedicated Euro VI chassis in 2016.

Dawsonrentals Sweepers specified the Eurocargo chassis for its new medium-range sweeper fleet renewal programme, with technology proving key to the purchase decision.

Supplied by Brighouse-based Northern Commercials, the new arrivals are suited to the low-speed environment and frequent stop/start nature of sweeper applications. They are the only Euro VI medium-range vehicles to meet emissions standards with a single anti-emission system – Iveco’s proprietary HI-SCR technology – which utilises passive regeneration of the diesel particulate filter (DPF).

This means that productivity is increased, as the HI-SCR system requires neither driver involvement nor downtime from forced regeneration. HI-SCR technology also eliminates any requirement for customers to periodically operate the vehicle at motorway speeds to clean out the DPF, which can negatively impact fuel use, vehicle availability and driver hours.

"The HI-SCR system was a huge draw for us,” admits Paul Shires, managing director at Dawsonrentals Sweepers. “The low speeds involved in sweeper operations means that downtime for forced regeneration can be a frequent occurrence. With HI-SCR, there's no need for our customers to stop and regenerate, and drivers don't have to push any buttons to operate the system. This is the first Iveco order we've placed in eight years and we're putting the new vehicles into service on contracts across the UK. Early feedback has been very positive."

Johnston Sweepers provided bodies for 40 of the new left-hand-drive trucks, with the remaining six mounted by Scarab.

Cleaning the streets of Brum

Elsewhere, Birmingham is the latest city to opt for sweepers from Johnston, with 31 compact CX201s supplied by Dawsonrentals joining the council’s fleet. Johnston Sweepers says its best-selling compact remains the popular choice for city centre cleaning, largely thanks to its manoeuvrability, performance and clean-air technology.

Users of the CX201 find that the small turning circle and front-facing brushes are a good combination for city sweeping on narrow streets and busy pavements. With short transfer distances and sweepers going into work mode soon after leaving the city depot, the C201 is also said to offer fuel savings over other compact sweepers in its class. According to Johnston Sweepers, these savings can help to reduce running costs by as much as £40-60 per machine per week. For councils operating large numbers of sweepers, the amplified savings are hard to dismiss.

Heading down south

Approximately 60 miles southeast, Bicester Sweepers has taken delivery of a Scarab Magnum Hydrostatic mounted on an 18-tonne MAN sleep-cab chassis. This new sweeper joins a growing fleet of Scarab truck-mounted sweepers that includes two Scarab Magnum Hydrostatics and a twin-engine Scarab Mistral.

The Magnum is fitted with the new Scarab high-speed fan option, which gives up to 40% more suction performance. Furthermore, a newly designed and strengthened hopper offers a 7.5-tonne payload. Numerous options were taken by Bicester Sweepers, including an auxiliary channel brush mounted on the near side, an overhead suction boom, high-pressure power wash and a high-power Scarab Hydrostatic gearbox.

Visedo's hydrogen powered technology is proving popular

Scarab also announced that Havant Norse South East, a contract services and frontline public service provider, recently took delivery of an ex-demonstration Scarab M65T, the company’s premium twin-engine truck-mounted model. Havant Norse had been running other manufacturers’ twin-engine sweepers for many years.

The new M65T is mounted on a DAF chassis, and comes fitted with the dual-sweep option, a high-pressure sweep and wash system, as well as Scarab’s overhead boom system.

Of course, some towns require special attention when it comes to street sweeping. A case in point is Tenby on the Pembrokeshire coast. Tenby was designated as a conservation area by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1972 and awarded a Silver in the best UK coastal resort category at the British Travel Awards in 2014. More recently, Harbour Beach in the town secured the top spot as Best Beach in Europe, due to the quality of its water, the beauty of its environment and its reputation among visitors.

Getting tourists on board

Pembrokeshire County Council is responsible for cleaning the town, which attracts more than four million visitors a year, injecting an estimated £544m into the local economy. With these facts in mind, keeping the town’s streets clean is a top priority, which is why the council relies on Faun Viajet 6 road sweepers, two of which were ordered recently. The council operates the machines on a 10-hour, seven-days-a-week basis.

“We trialled several types of sweepers prior to the tender, but the Faun Viajet impressed us on fuel consumption, effectiveness of sweep and suction, and the air-recycling system,” explains Gerald Rowlands, fleet manager at Pembrokeshire County Council. “The crews liked the machine and it performed better than other models we tried.”

In modern times, the demand for clean streets is matched by the need for clean air, particularly in large, tourist-heavy cities such as Amsterdam. It is Amsterdam’s intention that by 2025 all public transport should operate without producing any emissions, something that also applies to vehicles operated by the city’s municipal works department. For this reason, the technology of the Schmidt Swingo 200+ with the Koanda system impressed officials during the most recent tender for street sweepers.

The combination of pressurised water-recirculation system and patent-pending Koanda air-circulation system is said to reduce the emission of harmful particulate matter by up to 95%. In addition, the need for time-consuming stops to refill water is eliminated, thus facilitating extended sweeping operations. The pressurised water recirculation system ensures reliable and low-wear collection of dirt thanks to large amounts of water in the suction system. What’s more, the water-recovery system guarantees compacted and semi-solid debris.

Clearly, the demand for zero emissions is driving developments across the street-sweeping market. Indeed, with a nod to the future, Visedo has leveraged its electrification expertise in a first-of-its-kind project to convert a street sweeper from diesel to hydrogen. The Finnish manufacturer recently completed the delivery of an electric-drive system for a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered cleaning machine that is not only much quieter than a diesel model, but emits water rather than CO2 pollution.

The machine was converted by Holthausen, in co-operation with the municipality of Groningen, and the sweeper recently entered service in the village of Hoogezand – the first project of its kind in the Netherlands. Visedo’s machine can run for one and a half days on a single hydrogen charge and its operating noise has been reduced by 50%, from the 120 dBA of a traditional diesel-powered vehicle to 60 dBA. This number is expected to fall even lower, to about 40 dBA, with upgrades.

According to Videso, several Dutch cities, including Rotterdam and Amsterdam, have shown interest, while the Vatican City has also requested information about the project. The future, it seems, is based on hydrogen.

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