He says wafers also are not sensitive to makes or models of sweeper. "Some municipal machines have a 10-in. core and 36-in. diameter broom. Tube brooms are built to a particular width of sweeper. If you use a tube broom you're stuck with buying a specific broom, a 66-in. for Pelican, for example, or a 60-in. broom for an Eagle. You have to buy separate tube brooms for each unit. But if you use wafers you can just keep them in stock and replace the broom as needed. It saves a lot of storage space and money."
Altering Density with Wafers
"A wafer broom is really no different from a tube broom, but the advantage is that with wafers you can alter the density of the broom," Vegter says. "Some contractors see a lot of success by altering the broom to their own density, wider spaces or no spaces."
He says that contractors involved in construction sweeping face problems such as clay and mud baked onto the pavement. "Some of those guys want a heavy-duty broom," Vegter says. "They might need wire to break up the debris and the poly for the sweeping."
Vegter says some contractors want a more dense broom because they can get more hours out of a more dense broom. "If you make it denser it doesn't wear as quickly, and some people say a denser broom just works better," he says. This is not always the case because in other applications a lighter broom can flick debris much better than a denser broom."
A dense broom can be effective for certain applications, but to obtain the best result contractors need to be careful how dense a broom they are using. "You have to have space between the wafers for it to be effective," Staab says. "If you don't have that space to get the flicking action it won't sweep efficiently. It depends on the application as to how dense you make it."
He says that if a broom is too dense it can result in problems for the equipment. "Machines are designed to use a certain weight and density of broom. With a more dense broom the sweeper equipment might not be designed to power that broom and might actually wear out sweeper drive components because there's so much more friction"
In addition to making brooms denser, some contractors like to "double up" on the broom ends, increasing the density on the ends. "This eliminates trailing for those machines that tend to trail," Vegter says. He says conveyor-style sweepers with rear-mounted brooms often experience trailing on tight turns.
"Some contractors really dense up the ends of the brooms so they don't trail," Vegter says, adding that some tube brooms also are tight wrapped on the ends to obtain the same effect as adding wafers to reduce trailing.
Replacement Strip Brooms
Unlike wafers, replacement strip brooms are available only with polypropylene bristles. Strip brooms are shipped in pairs (36 pair measuring 48-in. long, for example, to use on a 96-in.-wide broom). "They are shipped in pairs because they are much easier to handle," Stenzel says. "Handling one long 96-in. strip is like handling a wet noodle."
With strip brooms a mandrel slides on over the equipment wafer core and the strips slide into slots in the mandrel. Many contractors say strips are easier to replace than wafers or tube brooms, as Stenzel says 18 rows of strips can be replaced in 20 minutes.
"When changing tube brooms, you have to remove the entire tube broom from the sweeper," Staab says. "But with strip brooms you just drop the end plate, slide the used strips out and replace them with new strips."
Vegter says that while strip brooms can be used on a variety of applications, they have become the broom of choice for contractors sweeping up pavement millings.
"Some contractors, especially those who do milling, seem to like strips because they pick up millings very well - there's a pedaling effect," Vegter says. "Because of the spaces in between, the strips seem to flick debris better onto the conveyor. We've had a lot of success with strip brooms with milling sweepers and also with sweepers who do fall sweeping where there are a lot of leaves."
Staab says another strip broom advantage is that they tend to load a hopper more evenly than other types of brooms.
"The channels that the strips slide into are crescent-shaped, so both ends of each strip section are lower than the center and when the broom rotates the outer edges of the strips sweep the pavement first. As they spin, the debris moves toward the center of the broom before it is transferred on to the sweeper elevator belt," Staab says.