9 Steps to Improving Air Sweeper Performance

Any time the sweeping head is out of adjustment the sweeper performance will decline dramatically.
Any time the sweeping head is out of adjustment the sweeper performance will decline dramatically.

The high performance and efficiency of a sweeper is a direct result of how well the equipment is maintained on a daily basis. Air sweepers rely on air movement and air flow management to maximize performance. Any blockage, misdirection, or leaks to the air flow will affect the sweeper’s performance dramatically.

To keep an air sweeper performing well it is necessary to keep the air flow moving, and distributed, as designed from the manufacturer. To maintain a high performance level there are some key components that will have to be maintained regularly. These key components are:

  • Debris hopper
  • Hopper screen
  • Fan
  • Air seals
  • Sweeping head
  • Curb brooms
  • Hydraulic system
  • Water system

To keep the sweeper energized and performing well, these systems and vital parts must be well maintained – and replaced in a timely manner as the need arises.

  1. Clean the debris hopper daily. Daily cleaning helps avoid dirt accumulation, which will generate rust as well as restrict the air flow and the performance.
  2. Maintain the hopper screen. This is essential because the hopper screen is the main area where the air flow will move freely to the fan. So maintain the screen, keep it clean and keep it free of any obstructions.
  3. Inspect the fan and fan inlet. This should be done daily. Look for debris buildup that can cause vibration and result in bearing and drive line damage. The fan should be replaced at the first sign of machine vibration. When it is time to replace the fan, the drive line should also be replaced with new bearings to keep it fresh and up-to-date.
  4. Inspect and replace air seals. All rubber seals that are associated with the fan inlet, intake tubes and doors of the hopper should be replaced as they become worn to allow a tight seal for optimum vacuum. All rubber seals should be replaced routinely.
  5. Inspect and adjust the sweeping head. On all air sweepers the sweeping head is considered the most important part of the machine. Any time the sweeping head is out of adjustment the sweeper performance will decline dramatically. A bent or twisted sweeping head will be very difficult to adjust, and since it is the most important part it should be kept in alignment and the rubber skirts replaced when it is no longer possible to be adjusted.
  6. Inspect the rubber skirts daily. The rubber skirts reach the ground, so make sure they are sealing to the ground creating optimum vacuum. The rubber skirts should be replaced when it is no longer possible to achieve a good seal on the ground.
  7. Adjust & replace curb brooms. The curb brooms are designed to move the debris from the curbs to the path of the sweeping head. As the curb brooms wear, they will require adjustment. It is necessary to replace the bristles or adjust the curb brooms’ strike pattern (as specified in your sweeper owner’s manual) to maintain the optimum settings. The curb broom bristles should be replaced when it is no longer possible to achieve the strike pattern to clean the curb efficiently.
  8. Monitor & maintain the hydraulic system. The hydraulic system of the sweeper should be maintained regularly with the correct viscosity oil, hydraulic filter changes, and pressure settings to ensure high performance. Replace weak or inoperative hydraulic components at the first sign of hydraulic pressure loss. Replacing the hydraulic filter will prevent hydraulic oil contamination and also return back pressure which will develop restriction on the hydraulic flow.
  9. Inspect the water system. The water system is vital to the life of the fan due to dusty conditions. A properly functioning water system will keep the debris moist as it enters the hopper, not allowing it to stick to the screen, which would restrict air flow. Also, inspect the water filter daily to make sure it’s kept clean and that spray nozzles are clear. Repair or replace the inoperable water system components to keep adequate dust suppression for your sweeper.

Following these steps and maintaining these components are the keys to a high performing sweeper. Preventative maintenance is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is the key ingredient to keeping your equipment running efficiently.

Costas Cordonis is warranty and training administrator for Schwarze Industries Inc., Huntsville, AL; www.schwarze.com.