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Street cleaning: Frequently asked questions

19 October 2017

Nilfisk answers nine questions the company is frequently asked about street cleaning.

1. What is a vacuum sweeper compared to a good old fashioned street sweeper? A vacuum sweeper is a machine that uses vacuum technology to collect leaves, rubbish and other detritus in an efficient and swift manner utilising just one operator. A vacuum sweeper such as the Nilfisk City Ranger 3500 has a large hopper capacity of 1.4m2, collecting huge amounts of rubbish, when compared to that same employee using a traditional yard broom and cart. The width of the vacuum trap is important, a trap with a width of 740mm enables the machine to collect large debris.

2. What is the benefit of spraying water whilst sweeping? Water is used to suppress any dust that is created throughout the sweeping process. This allows the dust and debris to be contained within the machine and not released back into the environment. Water nozzles can be sited directly on the brushes or within the suction hose. In the case of the City Ranger 3500 there are nozzles on both the brushes and within the hose.

3. What are the advantages of using a compact sweeper with a smaller sweeping width? There are several advantages to using a compact sweeper over a larger truck mount. The most obvious is size and the accessibility available in our ever more crowded streets. The smaller size and increased manoeuvrability allow an operator to get on to pavements, in between street furniture and bollards. Another benefit of a machine that weighs below 3500kg, is that any operator with a standard driving licence is permitted to drive it without any further DVLA test. This includes the Nilfisk City Ranger 2250 that has a clearing width of 1200mm with 2 brushes and 2100mm with 4 brushes. The added advantage is the high degree of manoeuvrability.

4. What additional functions will a fitted pressure washer enable you to perform? A pressure washer attachment allows the operator to carry out tasks such as cleaning road signs, street furniture and graffiti removal. It is also an excellent solution for any spillages that may occur creating a public slip risk. The pressure washer also allows the operator to keep their own vehicle clean and working to full efficiency.

5. What is a wander hose and why would one be specified? A wander hose is a remote vacuum tube which allows the operator to use the machines suction power in tight areas that even a compact sweeper cannot access. This attachment should be specified where the operator has lots of awkward areas to clean or if they need to collect leaves or debris from under street furniture, parked cars or in planted areas. The Nilfisk design enables the 4m hose to be rolled up inside the hopper when unused. It is powerful enough to unblock sewers and empty rubbish bins in an instant.

6. What is a street scrubber drier? A street scrubber drier is a machine or an attachment that allows for the washing, scrubbing and removal of water in one pass. This type of machine would be used to remove spillages or soiling from any paved or concreted areas. The Nilfisk City Ranger 3500 features independent suspension that maintains constant ground pressure on the squeegee following the ground perfectly.

7. Street cleaning equipment is becoming increasingly multi-functional. Why is this? In these times of shrinking budgets and efficiency drives, multi-functionality is seen across Europe as the future. The key benefit is that machinery has higher utilisation rates, this means that machines are used every day for a variety of tasks rather than a company having to have multiple machines that may only get used for a couple of weeks a year. This considerably reduces the capital investment required and the associated maintenance costs.

8. What additional functions can be performed from specifying attachments?This list is long and varied, but the functions include ‘winter maintenance tasks’, such as snow clearance, salt spreading and brine spraying. Or ‘green tasks’ which vary from grass cutting, chemical free weed removal to trimming of a hedges. Other available attachments can scrub and dry the street, pressure wash street furniture and even water flower beds. The Nilfisk Park Ranger 2150 for example is a lightweight machine that has an all-season range of over 15 attachments including suction sweeping. It is a 4 wheel drive, articulated machine, just 1m wide with a turning circle of 1.5m.

9.Is it really as easy as bolting on a rotary mower attachment? Where’s the catch? Most attachments can be fitted without the use of tools; it just requires the pulling of a lever to connect hydraulics and electrical connectors. Then away you go, complete your job, change attachments and carry out yet another task.

Demonstrations of all models are available across the UK and Ireland.