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Sweeping Industry Supplier Profiles

Information About Applied Sweepers' Green Machine Product Line

by Francis Galashian, with Ranger Kidwell-Ross

The following is excerpted from an interview with Francis Galashian, U.S. sales manager for Applied Sweepers, Inc. The interview was held during the APWA's 2005 Congress and Exposition.

Green Machine sweeper logo My father started Green Machine back in 1965 with a small walk-behind sidewalk sweeper. About 10,000 of these have sold through the years worldwide, and the product is currently in use in about 45 countries around the world.

By and large, this is a simple product designed to fit through a 4-foot space and that have a tight turning radius. Primarily, these replace a person with a broom and a dustcart and very few skills are required to use one of the machines.

The operator walks behind the sweeper or, in some cases, may use a fold-down 'sulky-type' seat. Our most popular machine, historically, is our model 414-RS, which gives the operator the opportunity to ride when it's not too congested, and then walk behind it when sweeping among pedestrians.

In the U.S., these are primarily used in an urban environment for smaller spaces, such as sidewalks, cart paths, bicycle lanes and that sort of thing. Because they're in widespread usage where there's no ready access to dumping, they are designed to use standard trash bags to collect the debris. These can then be deposited into a municipal trashcan directly, or set next to them for pickup.

One of the great positive factors of using our small machines is their high visibility. We have invested a significant amount on the styling and detailing of the machines, knowing that cities, contractors, BIDs [Business Improvement Districts], and other customers are using our sweepers in high traffic, high visibility areas during the daytime. They want people to see that these areas are being cleaned regularly, so unlike much of the rest of pavement sweeping, our machines are primarily used during the day.

400 Green Machines Animation We are especially concerned with keeping the noise level down, as well as controlling the dust well. As one city director told me, 'It's one thing to be sweeping; it's quite another to be seen sweeping.' Being able to sweep during the day is a huge plus for most of our customers. Our machines are very 'people-friendly.'

Because the small machines have a small payload capacity, one of our trademarks on all of our machines until recently has been to run all the material picked up through an impeller fan. The shredding action this creates serves to reduce the volume of collected debris by around a factor of 3- or 4-to-1.

Since there is wear created by the debris going through the shredding fan, we have designed the fan to wear as well as possible, and on the walk-behind units we warranty the impeller fan for life.

A little over 3 years ago we launched our first cabbed model, the 525-HS, which is designed to be a rider instead of a walk-behind. The 525-HS was brought into the U.S. about a year later. The 525-HS was a departure for us, since it has a cab, a hopper and a usable capacity of about 10 times the smaller units without a footprint that was much bigger.

The machine has a 1 cubic yard hopper capacity, however was designed with a 'cyclonic-type' airflow such that it doesn't mound debris in the center of the hopper. This allows us to achieve a full load of the hopper. To design this type of hopper loading took a great deal of research. A lot of time was spent with clear-sided hoppers and high-speed cameras in order to come up with a design that fills up from the outside to the center. The finished machine is outfitted with swirl plates, which allow the hoppers to be loaded levelly and fully to the top. With its shredding action, the 525HS can actually hold up to 4 cubic yards of leaves in its 1 cubic yard hopper.

With this class of sweepers the dust control system is very important, since much of the sweeping often takes place among pedestrians. Unlike with larger sweepers that have substantially larger hoppers, the airflow on sub-compacts is such that there isn't time for the air to slow down when it goes into the hopper. The larger the street sweeper, the more time air stays in the hopper, allowing the dust it contains to fall to the hopper floor. When you work out the airflow details on sub-compact sweepers, however, you find the air is only in the hopper for under a second. This doesn't give time for the dust to settle via that method.

500/600 series Green Machines So, we had to work very hard to achieve good standards of dust control without having to add in filters. Some products use panel filters to separate out the dust in the final stage. Over the years, we've found the performance at the end of the day, when the filters have blocked up, isn't near enough to the sweeping ability at the beginning of the day.

There must be a bypass added for sweeping in wet weather, as well. Plus, there's the question of replacement costs. Although filters work fine in indoor applications, we don't like them in outdoor sweeping. Our dust control utilizes a cyclonic action and careful design of the water system. The 45-gallon water capacity lasts for about 2.5 hours of heavy sweeping and about 4 hours of moderate sweeping.

Our idea with the 525-HS was also to have a machine with what I call 'good road manners.' This simply means we wanted enough speed to be able to travel to the dump area with both speed and comfort. To gain this, much attention has been paid to making sure the 525-HS doesn't ride like the typical sweeper.

Because the machine was born in Scotland, which is a rainy area, we also wanted a machine that was durable through adverse weather conditions. So, our 525HS, as well as the larger 636HS model we're introducing at the 2005 APWA show, are made almost entirely out of stainless steel. This includes the hopper and the chassis frames. Although it makes them a bit more expensive to build, we think there is no question that this provides a better value over the useful lifetime of the machines.

The average sweeper in this class is operated about 800 hours per year, which, for whatever reasons, is less than half of the yearly use the same machines see in Europe. With the expected lifetimes of the Kubota engines and hydraulics used on the machines, it means the owner should be able to get 10+ years from one of our Green Machines before needing to think about replacing it. So, the corrosion resistant features on our sweepers make sense to us and to our users. We now have a 10-year corrosion warranty on our chassis components.

We also kept any maintenance needs in mind when we built these models. First off, they have a clamshell design that allows the whole cab unit to tip forward. The rear door, which has the water tank, is hinged to swing out, and the fiberglass panels on the side snap off. The whole design may be likened to a Swiss Army knife, with its simple and easy access for maintenance.

The 525-HS machine is designed to pick up anything our smaller machines can handle, as well as rocks up to about 3/4-inch in diameter. The 636HS will suck up half a house brick. They are outfitted with front-mounted brooms that move in and out, so debris may be gathered in easily. The cab allows all-weather operation, and the larger hopper size means they may be operated for a longer period of time between when dumping is needed. They can still fit through a 4-foot space, though, so they may still be operated in most any area built for pedestrian traffic.

One feature of sub-compact sweepers is that, because of their limited width and length, the hopper tends to go up fairly high. As a result, they have typically been limited to traveling at only about 15 mph. More than that and there is a real possibility of rolling over. An innovative feature on the 525-HS and 636-HS models, though, is that it is built with an expanding front axle. The axle width in front may be increased, via hydraulics, about 8" a side with just the push of a button. This allows the sweeper to be driven safely at higher speeds than would otherwise be possible. The 525HS has a road speed of 22-23 mph, and the 636HS of about 25 mph. Once the operator arrives at the destination and they want to start sweeping again, they can get the axle widths back in so as to get the tighter turning radius and sub-4-foot sweeping width once again.

The new 636HS is a departure for our Green Machines, in that it is our first pure vacuum machine, i.e., it doesn't have a compacting impeller to provide a larger capacity. The 636-HS design reflects that, for larger debris, it's better to have a clean fan pickup system that then cleans the dust from the airstream after the debris gets to the hopper. The 636-HS can happily pick up half a house brick all day long without the attendant problems you'd have if you tried to put that kind of debris through a fan.

The 636-HS is powered by a 4-cylinder, 42hp Kubota turbo engine, and a 1.3 cubic yard hopper capacity. Water capacity is 55 gallons, and the dust suppression system is designed in such a way as to allow that amount to last for about 4 hours of heavy sweeping.

For more information on Applied Sweepers' Green Machine product line, you can take a look at the company's website at You may reach Francis Galashian via email sent to: The contact phone number for the U.S. is 1-800-793-3740.

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