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Simplify my life, please

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A big issue of my customers is that the sweepers and scrubbers of today are so complicated. Many of my colleagues regularly ask me if it is all necessary, or why they can’t make it simpler.

The short answer is that it could be simplified in several ways. The long answer is that many items added to the design are for safety and very necessary.

So, let’s talk about some of these issues. When I entered this market years ago, one problem that had occurred time and time again was fire in the hopper as a result of sweeping hot cigarettes into the hopper. This problem was very dangerous and had to be solved. Tennant solved it by installing a fusible link that broke when heat was introduced and closed the air intake of the hopper. They figured that no air, no fire. It worked beautifully and was used for years. Today, an electronic heat sensor replaced the old fuse design and is required to be installed on all models.

One item you could probably get rid of is your side brush up and down switch. All four sweeper manufacturers originally used a simple lever to control the side brush. The operator released forward for the down position and pull the lever back, locking it in the up position, very simple. The American Lincoln Model ATS46/53 still wisely uses the main and side brush lever.

Today with the switch design, of course, the switch goes bad. However, the actuator needs replaced from time to time, especially in a severe environment. Average price on an actuator is $250.00 to $300.00 and labor, which in today’s market could be very costly. Typical models would be the Tennant 810 sweeper or the American Lincoln 3366XP.

When Tennant replaced the 527II/528 generation with the Model 7400 in 1996 there were quite a few design changes. With these changes came one that few people are even aware. Unlike the manual scrub brushes adjustment the new 7400 had hydraulic cartridges in a valve to control the up and down pressure. Not only that, but there is more than one cartridge which coincides with the brush being used for your application. So, if you are using an aggressive grit brush, you need the aggressive grit cartridge, a nylon requires the nylon cartridge and so on. In short, if you used a nylon brush with an aggressive brush cartridge that brush will basically have about ½ life wear because of the down pressure applied to the brush.

The complications of this equipment is one of the top issues I am hearing so often that I will discuss more in the future on this subject. But think about this; as I was sitting behind the wheel of an American Lincoln Model ATS46, between the levers, push button switches, warning lights, pedals and instrument gauges, there were 29 different items to push, pull, press, watch or whatever else you have to do.

At this time, I also want to thank MH Network for the privilege of sharing my knowledge and experiences every month in Creamer’s Corner. May all of you have a wonderful holiday season.

For your comments or questions, please e-mail me at or call at 1-800-346-2319.

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