Sweeper Trucks: Another tool for prepping roadways for better pavements

This sweeper truck is cleaning up materials before new asphalt is placed on a roadway in Oregon.This sweeper truck is cleaning up materials before new asphalt is placed on a roadway in Oregon.

A cleaner workspace is always a good thing, but in paving, it can contribute to the road’s quality, if done prior to additional lifts being applied, before seal coating and following milling.

Paving contractors can use several sweeping options: they can own their own sweeping trucks, rent them or contract with a sweeping company to clean.

The advantage to owning a sweeping truck, is it’s readily available, and not reliant on the schedule of another contractor. The downside: the equipment is often idle.

Sean Wolf, owner of Wolf Paving in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, has owned sweeping trucks for several years. After milling, his company uses the trucks to push material onto road shoulders to be used later, rather than collecting the millings and hauling them off. In this application, Wolf Paving uses heavy trucks with angle brooms. Prior to seal-coating, the company sweeps with smaller non-cabbed machines.

To make better use of these machines, Wolf says, the company started offering its own sweeper services. “We have a couple of sweeping contracts,” Wolf explains, adding that the work is mainly for commercial and municipal clients. “It keeps that equipment from being idle when it’s not in use cleaning up road construction jobs or after milling.” For Wolf, that’s important during the winter in Wisconsin when paving activity slows.

Contractors are paying more attention to the level of cleanliness prior to paving, says Adam Braun, associate product manager for manufacturer Elgin Sweeper. “Asphalt laying contractors understand that cleaner surfaces provide better adhesion, which leads to longer pavement life. This, in turn, saves everyone money.”

Braun adds that the paving contractor demand for street sweepers has followed the uptick in funding for infrastructure improvements. “These contractors have always been an important business segment for us, and we have seen steady and healthy sales in this segment since 2008.”

But not all contractors are able to buy sweepers outright, he explains, so Elgin dealers offer sweepers through leases or rentals.

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Here’s an overview of sweeper products on the market:

Schwarze Industries

Schwarze Industries launched the SuperVac Vortex earlier this year, based on the design of its SuperVac Gale Force and SuperVac Updraft machines.

The SuperVac Vortex offers the Isuzu NPR Gas chassis, a 109-inch wheelbase and a 31-horsepower Kohler liquid-cooled, fuel-injected engine.

Other features include:

• Dump height of 77 inches.

• Heavy chain intake baffle, which slows debris as it enters the hopper.

• 4.8-cubic-yard hopper.

• C12 stainless-steel hopper standard.

• Separate dump and screen cleanout doors.

• Screen cleanout door fitted with a lever to open and prop the door from the ground level.

• Hydraulic cylinders on the dump door sequenced to open before hopper lift.

• Adjustable dump door hinges.

• Built-in dual rear hopper strobe lights.

• Optional shroud with sound-attenuating foam inner liner.

• 159-gallon water capacity; 93-gallon standard, with a 66-gallon option.

Schwarze also has introduced a free five-year/5,000-hour extended warranty program on its A7 Tornado, A8 Twister and A9 Monsoon sweeper engines. It covers all sweeper engine conponents and applies to new John Deere Tier 4 propulsion engines installed between April 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2019.


Elgin Sweeper

Elgin has two primary models for road construction applications: the Road Wizard and Broom Bear. The company reports the machines can take care of broken pavement, asphalt and concrete millings, mud and other construction debris.

The trucks offer adjustable dumping heights and can unload debris into staged dump trucks or containers on the jobsite, so contractors do not need to take the time to unload at another location.

“When it comes to road construction applications, the bigger the side brooms, the better,” says Braun. “Both sweepers feature 46-inch trailing arm, free-floating side brooms that offer four-way motion and protection against damaging impacts. Hydraulic lift and extension control on both sweepers enhance performance while sweeping within a 10-foot-wide path.”

The Road Wizard has a standard 5.4-cubic-yard hopper and a squeegee elevator that is the full width of the main broom, a feature the company says allows the machine to move large amounts of millings into the hopper without stalling.

The Broom Bear offers a single engine, short wheelbase and can travel at highway speeds. “From our experience, both contractors and municipal customers are changing their focus on single-engine sweepers to minimize daily checks, maintenance costs and noise, while increasing payload capacity,” Braun explains.