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Sweeping Industry News Bulletin


Elgin Sweeper Introducing New Non-CDL Sweeper Models... and More

Elgin, IL – January 2022

WorldSweeper's Editor discusses Elgin's new sweeper models with Eric Marx, the New Product Development and Program Manager at Elgin Sweeper. The conversation is shown below.

WorldSweeper: I'm looking forward to having you talk to the industry about where Elgin Sweeper is headed for 2022. I have learned that for 2022 you have a 26,000 GVW chassis option that can go under your RegenX and your Broom Bear.

First, let me get the ball rolling by saying that I know it's been reported that currently there are between 60,000 and 80,000 truck drivers needed in the US marketplace alone. Plus, in the sweeping industry CDL drivers are even harder to obtain and keep. They are not only hard to find and cost more, but once they get trained a lot of times they go off to higher paying jobs or want to work daytime instead of nighttime, that sort of thing.

I know when people learn about the non-CDL chassis your Broom Bear and RegenX can now be mounted onto, they're going to want to know if both of those units will still provide the same level of heavy duty sweeping capability. So please be sure to address that factor during our discussion.

Eric-Marx Elgin Sweeper: Absolutely. Both models are basically the same units as you would get if you ordered the same machines on a 33,000 GVW chassis. Both have the same output capacities as their 33K GVW predecessors. We've done a handful of things on the Broom Bear to reduce weight to provide the end user more usable capacity in the way of GVW limits. We've done those things primarily to the sweeper, where it made sense, where there wouldn't be any risk to the end customer.

We've even gotten clever with the chassis. On the chassis we went to aluminum wheels to save weight. In some of our 'voice of the customer research,' many were interested in having a 26K GVW Broom Bear for purposes of sweeping on certain sites where they could subsequently dump on that site. So, they in essence wanted to drive to the site empty and sweep all day while dumping multiple times. Then, at the end, they wanted to drive back to home base empty so they would have no concern about GVW limits while driving on the road.

26k GVW_RegenX For the RegenX, the same thing holds true. The unit's exactly the same except it's on a different chassis that is rated for 26K GVW. The good news about the RegenX is it was designed to be lean from a cost perspective from the get-go. That had an unintentional byproduct of keeping the weight down, so we can still get a substantial amount of material in the same hopper – the 26K version hopper is the same as the 33K version – before we go over the GVW limit.

WorldSweeper: That's great to hear. I know you involved contractors significantly in designing the RegenX so no wonder the end result was leaner, lighter! Still, it's good to hear there's nothing of significance that has been left off or modified in the two machines to get them onto a smaller chassis.

Elgin Sweeper: Correct, especially the RegenX. The RegenX is built on the Elgin assembly line exactly the same as the 33K version. However, we do put a couple of decals in the cab to remind the user/operator that he's driving a 26K version. The only other thing is we set the whisker switch for the hopper overload alert to the operator at a different dimension.

The Broom Bear, however, is a heavier unit so we did find ways to take weight out of it. For example, we took 50 gallons of water capacity out, although that still leaves the 26K Broom Bear version with 310 gallons. There were a handful of other things that, in combination, added up to be some benefit to the end user in the way of hopper capacity, but nothing super major other than taking away the 50 gallons of water.

WorldSweeper: We want to put in a caveat here: If you're buying a sweeper just to stay onsite at your location, or if your contractor is going to a site and dumping multiple times on that site, there's no apparent downside other than safety issues that might occur due to having more material onboard. That's something you have to assess, whether you can go over the GVW safely in the location you're in. I would caution to be especially careful offloading if you have lots of material in the hopper.

RegenX-DumpingElgin Sweeper: That's exactly correct.

WorldSweeper: What's the lead time if I decided to write you a check for a Broom Bear or a RegenX on a 26K chassis?

Elgin Sweeper: Before we go on to lead time, one of the things I will say about these chassis is they are visibly the same chassis to the end user from 30-feet away. There are different things about each chassis that de-rate them to the 26K GVW, but you wouldn't identify from 30 feet away that it's a smaller chassis. It's still the industrial built Freightliner.

Relative to lead times, we are currently seeing unprecedented challenges when it comes to supply chain issues to do with everything that goes into our sweepers. Chassis supply is no exception. It's tight from all the major OEM's; I'm sure everybody's going through those same challenges. The good news is that the 26K GVW versions for the Broom Bear and the RegenX do not have any additional challenges that we are seeing with the 33K. The bad news is to obtain the 26K chassis we face the same challenges as we currently have with the 33K GVW chassis.

As a result, the lead time varies based on OEM supply, based on "spoken for" chassis in our supply chain, etc. So at the moment, anyway, it's relatively long; however, Elgin always manages its chassis supply chain very well to try to ensure that a customer that wants a sweeper doesn't have to wait the full lead time for a new unit.

WorldSweeper: That's something they should find out when they place their orders, right?

Elgin Sweeper: Right. They would contact their individual dealer directly based on the version they want and the chassis they want. Within short order, they can get a lead time of what it would be, whether that's a combination of a chassis or for production of the sweeper. All of that also varies based on what configuration they want.

WorldSweeper: Is is true you're going to offer the RegenX in a single-engine configuration as well as the current twin-engine model?

Elgin Sweeper: Absolutely! We are now taking orders for the single-engine RegenX. We're still using the same proven technology that we have used on our Crosswinds and our Whirlwinds. Since we were in development and trials of single-engine technology for four years prior to releasing the Crosswind and Whirlwind, we felt that was the route to go for our end users.

Over time, we have found that our single-engine technology is generally looked on very favorably. Many view it as an opportunity to save on maintenance costs or maintenance issues, since they only have to service the chassis engine. A lot of people see having one engine as one less major item that could cause a sweeper to go down.

One of the other feedback items that we've received is that a lot of people like the idea of being able to use the chassis OEM to service the engine. They don't have to worry about an auxiliary engine, whether to have it serviced by that OEM dealer or their internal technician, etc. It's kind of 'eye of the beholder.' We don't have a strong preference since we still offer dual-engine technologies on all of those platforms. Rather, our goal is to tailor our offerings to the whole spectrum of the market.

Hybrid-Broom-Bear2022 WorldSweeper: Another topic we should talk about is electrification of sweepers. Where is Elgin on that?

Elgin Sweeper: We're years into what we call our EV Sweeper journey. There are different segments that are showing interest in moving into electric. Those segments are typically the larger cities or cities with the gray-green initiatives. One of the things we absolutely are aware of and have become very intimate with, is sweepers are not the only pieces of equipment that those types of folks are looking to either electrify or to go to a plug-in hybrid type of solution.

Typically, they're trying to meet certain emissions targets that their political leaders are setting for them. Sweepers are just one possible solution in that regard. We've partnered with many folks out there so that we can provide the best solution that could possibly fit for them.

Sweepers are very different from police cars and pickup trucks when you talk about different pieces of equipment. Sweepers require a lot of energy to run them as compared to, say, a police car or a pickup truck. So, most of the customers that we see in the EV sweeper market, when they buy an EV or hybrid sweeper want it to work in the same fashion as the gas or diesel equivalent they would potentially replace.

Most to date have 'range anxiety,' meaning this: They have Sweeper Model X today that goes out and sweeps Route Y. If it's a full electric and they only can get 2/3 of that route done today, they look at that as them potentially needing to add a second sweeper. That would be very costly for all the obvious reasons. They want to be able to take any EV or plug-in hybrid sweeper and be able to run it on their furthest route from the home base.

They do not want to buy a sweeper where they have to stay close to the home base. So, we have a commitment of uncompromised performance in any EV sweeper model that we release such that it won't create that issue.

WorldSweeper: Is one of the issues you face with designing electric sweepers the overall weight? Batteries are very heavy and then we add debris weight on top of that.

Elgin Sweeper: Absolutely. Batteries are heavy and batteries are what stores the energy – the pent-up power – needed to operate the sweeper. The other factor of weight in regard to an electrical, plug-in, hybrid sweeper is the cooling system. The cooling system is integral into any electric or plug-in hybrid sweeper. You need to be able to properly cool the batteries. You need to have the right temperature in those batteries to operate at optimum conditions.

Then, along with those challenges, you have additional challenges in terms of balancing the chassis. For example, that means you could be very rear-heavy, for instance. For the plug-in hybrid Broom Bear that we are currently selling we moved some of the water. We didn't reduce any of the water capacity on the unit, but we did move some of it to a front water tank.

That front-mounted water tank is designed – after lots of trials with a number of different operators in many different cities – to meet any cul-de-sac requirements that are an issue relative to mailboxes. The hybrid Broom Bear is designed so that you can even have a tall curb and it won't damage the water tank. We kind of radius'ed it off on the corner so that it doesn't clip any mail boxes.

By doing that we have balanced out the weight of the axles. It also helps in maintaining integrity in the operation or the driveability. One of the terms that a long-time sweeper operators will often refer to is, if a full sweeper becomes very heavy on the rear end, is that it's "light steering." If the rear load is too heavey in terms of keeping a balanced chassis, it's almost like a 'wheelie effect.' If you don't have enough force on the front steering, it's hard to turn the sweeper. I'm glad to report that we've gotten five-star kudos from our hybrid Broom Bear operators on that move. They like the drive and the overall operation of that unit as a result of what we accomplished by rebalancing that water weight.

WorldSweeper: Are there any other concerns or challenges you'd like to mention with regard to all electric sweepers?

Elgin Sweeper: The challenges are many, in how to get all the functions on the sweeper operating correctly. Fortunately, the technology is ever evolving in our favor, since it is largely being driven by the automotive industry. Some of the higher volume trucks in the way of the Class 8 and even some of the Class 6 delivery trucks are starting to utilize technology that we will end up benefitting from.

We understand how much power is really required throughout a sweeper's shift as well as where that power's being consumed from, whether it's side brooms or conveyors or other components. Over time, we really have gained an understanding of that and have side/parallel projects in the works to try to find ways to mitigate the required power in those instances. Our goal is to be seamless to the end operator such that they don't notice any compromised performance.

We will be successful in that, and what that will lead to is being able to essentially have smaller batteries, along with battery management for the cooling systems that will reduce the footprint for the design of that sweeper. Those types of breakthroughs will also result in lowering the amount of weight on the sweeper, which will help us with all sorts of things.

WorldSweeper: I offer as an analogy that it's kind of like going from incandescent light bulbs to LED lighting, At first, when it was new it was very expensive but now look at all the ways we are using it. It's exactly what's happening in the electrification of sweepers – everything's moving so quickly. Battery technology is changing quickly and powertrains are doing the same.

Elgin Sweeper: Great analogy.

WorldSweeper: Any thoughts or research on autonomous street sweeping? Is that almost here? Ten years out?

Elgin Sweeper: I don't have a great guess for that although I'd be very surprised if autonomous sweepers existed within the next five years. However, with how quickly technology is moving I think it's anybody's guess. It's something we're watching very closely, but here's one of the things we talk about: The challenges with autonomous vehicles of any kind are many. The challenges with autonomous street sweepers are exponentially more. Safety concerns are the bedrock, the cornerstone, of Elgin Sweeper and is front-and-center on all the products that we build and design. So, it'd be a difficult mine field to navigate given existing technologies.

We do believe, that based on the upper trajectory of technology, it's not an if, it's a when; however, it's just probably not in the next five years. But at Elgin Sweeper we will be keeping our eye on the evolution of all that technology. As you might imagine, we're watching it closely. Again, we want to have something that increases value to the end customer, not just something that's kind of a novelty item.

WorldSweeper: When you talk about autonomous sweepers, the image that sticks in my mind is of 'taggers' spray painting the machines.

Elgin Sweeper: That's a great example. And, if some of those folks tag some of those sensors and things of that nature, that can present a challenge. And again, it's the Elgin name on that sweeper if it crashes into a car or something, so those challenges are many, like I said.

I have little doubt that we'll come up with something some day that will address those challenges and still be safe, effective and worthy of our customer's purchase orders. But I don't believe that in the next five years there will be a commercially-viable product.

WorldSweeper: Is there anything else we should talk about on this call?

Elgin Sweeper: I believe that's pretty comprehensive of some of the things that we've done recently, as well as what we've got going on. We're always working on other things that are in the hopper that. In maybe 6-12 months, we'll be able to have another discussion where I'll be able to share some more exciting things we'll be rolling out to the public.

WorldSweeper: I look forward to that discussion. Thank you for your time.

You may reach Eric Marx via email sent to If you have questions or comments for WorldSweeper, send email to

About Elgin Sweeper Company

Sold and serviced through a network of more than 100 dealer locations worldwide, Elgin Sweeper products are the sweepers of choice for a variety of general street maintenance, special industrial and airport applications. With more than 100 years of experience, Elgin Sweeper offers municipalities, contractors and industries the most sweeper options in the country, using the latest sweeping technologies – mechanical, pure vacuum, regenerative air, alternative fuel and waterless dust control. Elgin Sweeper is a subsidiary of Federal Signal Corporation's Environmental Solutions Group. For more information, visit

About Parent Company Federal Signal

Elgin Sweeper is a subsidiary of Federal Signal Corporation's Environmental Solutions Group. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, with manufacturing facilities worldwide, the Company operates two groups: Environmental Solutions and Safety and Security Systems. For more information on Federal Signal, visit

Federal Signal builds and delivers quality equipment that moves material, cleans infrastructure and protects the communities where we work and live. Founded in 1901, Federal Signal is a leading global designer, manufacturer and supplier of products and total solutions that serve municipal, governmental, industrial and commercial customers.

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