"As a tube broom loads a hopper, for example, the tube broom flicks debris onto the elevator and up into the hopper and it usually fills the hopper from one side or the other. This can create an unbalanced hopper which can result in coning of the broom. That doesn't happen with strips because strips move material from the outside edges toward the center of the elevator so the hopper is loaded from the center resulting in a more evenly distributed load."
Strip brooms will streak or trail when the unit turns, and strips lack a wire option for more aggressive sweeping, so some contractors consider their use to be limited.
"Everybody has their own preferences as to what type of broom they like and what they like to use on a particular job, and a lot of people like strip brooms," Stenzel says.
"The decision on what type of broom to use needs to be based on what you're comfortable with and what operation you're used to. With strip and tube brooms you can adjust the down pressure and it takes a little more finesse to get them to sweep for you the way that you want. If you put too much down pressure on a strip broom, for example, the machine will really bounce and vibrate so you have to adjust it.
"A big part is operator preference and what the operator likes and what the customer is comfortable with," Stenzel says. "It can often come down to what they like the best and what works best for them. In the end they all end up sweeping and getting the job done."
Tube brooms are one-piece brooms available in either all polypropylene or a poly/wire mix. Where wafers are manufactured in a variety of diameters and can fit any sweeper, tube brooms are manufactured for specific models of sweepers and can't be used on other models. Tube brooms are also more difficult to store and ship and are more costly to ship.
And where wafers and strip brooms can be replaced in the field, tube brooms are usually changed in the shop.
"Our contractor Tube brooms are one piece and are between 89 to 96 in. long and they're heavy," Stenzel says. "An all-poly 8-ft. broom weighs 300 lbs. and a poly/wire weighs 385 lbs., so it's just easier to change them out in the shop."
But Staab says replacing tube brooms is quicker than stacking wafers. "Once you have the tube broom lined up you just slide it on and you're done," Staab says. "So it is much quicker than loading wafers."
Staab says tube brooms and wafer brooms are not as stiff as strip brooms. "If you put your hand on a tube or wafer broom and pushed the filament back there is less resistance than doing the same thing with a strip broom because the filaments in a strip broom are packed together in a channel so they are a lot stiffer, a lot more resistant. So if you need a really aggressive broom that really gets in there and digs you would look at a strip broom."