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Sweeping Industry Supplier Profiles

Silent Knight Sweepers Offers Value in the Single-Engine Arena

The following is an interview with the founder of Silent Knight (SK) Sweepers, Bob Hammond.

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SK Sweepers was founded by Stan Brown, John Dubbioso and Bob Hammond, all men with long sweeping industry backgrounds. Bob Hammond, who is the managing partner, has been a sweeping contractor since 1988. He was also formerly a sweeping products dealer for Broom Bear, Schwarze Industries, Inc. and Nite-Hawk. This range of experience has provided him with extensive knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the other single-engine designs.

The trio prototyped the company's first unit in March of 2003. Then, not wanting to make the mistake they'd seen some manufacturers make in rushing untested products to market prematurely, the initial design was tested seven-days-a-week for six months before the machine was brought to market in January of 2004.

Since that time, a number of improvements and updates have been made and SK Sweepers' machines have become known as a top choice in the single-engine sweeper marketplace. Today, SK Sweepers offers two models, both of which are single-engine parking area sweepers.

The original model is on a diesel-powered, 12,000 GVW Isuzu chassis, although these can be badged as a Chevrolet or a GMC. Today, the same 4-yard sweeper is available mounted onto a gasoline-powered, 1-ton, conventional chassis. This latter machine is a low-profile (6' 9") unit that's ideal for parking garages as well as outdoor sweeping.

In this interview, Hammond discusses his company and its niche in the overall sweeper marketplace.

WORLDSWEEPER: Since you offer single-engine machines, your sweeper doesn't have same fuel costs as twin-engine models. What else makes an SK Sweepers model a good choice and/or sets you apart from other parking area sweeping machines?

Hammond: We wanted a sweeper design that went beyond the obvious fuel cost savings offered by single-engine sweepers. Although that's at the core, we also wanted to be able to offer greater value in other areas, for example timesavings. One of our goals is to save the contractor time, from the beginning to the end of a shift.

In that regard, one area of advantage we offer is our sweeper's simplicity of operation. Ours is a very simple machine to train an operator on, since there are fewer items they need to be trained on. For example, there's no auxiliary engine fluid levels to worry about. Basically, on our machines you push a button and it sweeps. As a result, owners don't have to spend extra time training new-hires on the sweeper functions, as is the case with so many parking area sweepers these days. Instead, they are able to concentrate on training about how to sweep a parking lot and how to run the route.

Cabover Model

A second important factor is our standard stainless steel hopper. That sets us apart, as well. After eliminating the auxiliary engine, the next thing that usually happens is that the machine's hopper rusts out. In my experience, most non-stainless hoppers -- at the very least -- look bad after even just a year of use. Most sweepers don't keep the paint looking good on a sweeper hopper. Our SK machines have stainless steel inspection doors and rear dump doors, too; we build the whole thing around stainless. There's also a positive time value with stainless. Because a stainless steel surface cleans out faster, our users save on dumping time as well as on the time it takes to clean up the hopper's interior.

And another time factor with our sweepers centers around dumping; the way our machines are designed means they don't have to be dumped as often as others. Because of the way the air moves inside the hopper, less light material flies up to plug up the screen. As a result, operators are able to sweep longer before dumping. This makes a difference in larger lots where some competitor's twin-engine sweepers have to dump before they can finish the account.

We believe it isn't worth it to just save money in fuel expenses if the sweeper can't pick up well. Our users will tell you the SK line does a great job in virtually any parking lot-type application. SK sweepers use a regenerative air sweeping head which, unlike some others, allows them to sweep well in the rain.

WORLDSWEEPER: How about contractors in a snowbelt area or doing construction sweeping? What should people expect from your machine in those activities?

Hammond: Because our machines are strictly single-engine, they aren't what someone will want for construction sweeping. However, contractors are typically surprised at how much sand our sweepers can pick up. If parking lots are what someone is doing then I think they'll find we're the best, most cost-effective choice out there.

Speaking of snowbelt operation, one of the problems I have had as a contractor in the north (Hammond is based in Michigan) is that we have constantly battled with the wiring supplied by some of the other sweeper manufacturers. Some of the machines simply aren't structurally built to handle the conditions routinely found in harsher winter climates.

Conventional Model

To address the wiring issue, we've gone to a wiring harness that is a sealed system from front to back. Then, on the ends, we put on weatherproof plugs where the connection occurs into the actuators and solenoids. We have no slicing in between, because every time you slice in between then the salt and corrosion can get in. There's no doubt SK Sweepers' machines offer a superior electrical system.

You'll also find that all of the hydraulic lines on our SK models are wrapped in plastic loom. There are few things more frustrating than buying a new parking lot sweeper and then have a hydraulic hose fail within the first months of its existence because of a hose rubbing against the frame. To safeguard against this, we put plastic loom around each one of the hydraulic lines to give it resistance to any chaffing that might wear through the hose. Our worst-case scenario is wear occurring on the plastic loom.

Our sweeper frames are also superior, since the fabricated components on all of our machines are laser-cut. Our tilt frame, for instance, is a boxed-in frame; a C-channel along the bottom and then the upper portion is boxed in. Anyone who takes a look at our sweepers will see that our tilt frame is hands-down superior.

Those are some of the competitive advantages in the SK sweeper line, some of the examples of how we do things differently because we've been in the position of being both a contractor and, now, a manufacturer.

WORLDSWEEPER: What are some of the other things you'd like people to know about the SK Sweeper line?

Hammond: Our standard sweepers come equipped with a strobe light, a stainless steel hopper and a gutter broom. Our only typical option is a 95-gallon water tank, which comes with a full spray bar. We also offer a hand-hose option.

However, we are certainly willing to work through any special needs people have. We're starting to have people in the municipal marketplace who want a dual gutter broom, for example. We are glad to modify our sweepers to suit those kinds of requests.

The website for SK Sweepers is You may reach them by calling, toll free, to 888-767-9337, or via email sent to

Crosswind, Broom Bear and Road Wizard are registered trademarks of Elgin Sweeper Company. Sterling & Freightliner are registered trademarks of DaimlerChrysler Company.

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