Sometimes manufacturers create options that only a few buyers want; sometimes options become so popular they become standard features; and sometimes there are just options that for whatever reason find increasing demand in the market.
In many cases those options are the result of a combination of available technology, the ability to incorporate the technology into the equipment, and usually interest expressed by customers.
Here are just a few of the features that buyers of street sweepers in recent years have increasingly found essential. While manufacturers in this article discuss features specific to their equipment, most other equipment manufacturers offer similar features – rear view cameras are a good example – or even other options not outlined here.
Rear View Camera
This is a perfect example of an option that was made available as technology improved and that has now become a standard feature for manufacturers such as Elgin, which began installing its rear-view camera as a standard feature in 2008. Elgin’s Mobile Camera System features a high-resolution Sony camera, a 5.6-inch TFT-LCD dash-mounted monitor, infrared LEDs for night work, and a 150-degree viewing angle.
Brian Giles, Elgin sweeper products manager, says rear view cameras have become “the Number One feature” buyers want on their street sweepers. “That’s why Elgin’s Mobile Camera has become standard on our units,” Giles says.
“Sweepers are out and about and turning around continually,” Giles says. “Because they’re turning around continually and because so many buyers were adding the rear-view camera, we made the decision to make the rear view cameras standard. If people want us to take it off we can but generally we don’t,” Giles says. “It’s become an important safety feature so most people leave it on.”
He says the rear-view camera gives a much better panoramic view than can be obtained from just the rear view mirror or the side mirrors. “It’s just like being in a car and having a complete view of what’s going on behind you,” Giles says. “Operators realize it’s for more than just backing up. Because it’s a better view there’s more safety.”
Giles says the camera and on-dash monitor are easy to learn to use and most operators adjust to them quickly. “It takes even less time for an operator to realize he can see all the traffic behind him including any traffic in his blind spots.”
Hydraulic Boom-assist Hand Hose
An option clearly designed to enable a unit to multi-task, Tymco Inc. offers a hydraulic boom-assist hand hose, according to Tymco’s Tom Rokas. Used primarily on the Model 600, the 10-foot long, 8-inch diameter hand hose enables users to clean out catch basins and to reach places the unit can’t. The hose features a 42-inch aluminum nozzle with two extensions that enable cleaning storm drains as deep as 126 inches.
“The fact that the boom is hydraulically controlled makes it easier for the operator to handle the hose. He can control it better,” Rokas says. “It also enables Tymco to use a heavier duty hose made of thicker, sturdier material so it can last longer.”
Rokas says the boom is “pendant controlled,” which is similar to a remote control on a TV. The remote is available both in a wired and wireless version and can control the boom up and down. It also can control the engine RPMs. “Engine RPMs are important because as you rev up the RPMs you increase the airflow and create more suction,” Rokas says. “But some jobs need more suction than others so this puts that control in the operator’s hands. He can increase suction when he needs to and reduce it when he doesn’t need it.”
Leaf Bleeder Indicator
Joe Hendrickson, Schwarze Industries’ national sales manager, says increased sales of regenerative air sweepers have led the company to develop a Leaf Bleeder Indicator to help operators not only sweep as efficiently as possible but to help the equipment operate as effortlessly as possible.