The world is changing every day. With these changes come new challenges in the form of new weather patterns, rising fuel costs, limitations in materials, shifting supplies of labor, and much more. The seemingly trivial world of power sweeping is not exempt from these changes and many people behind the scenes are hard at work, trying to adapt for the future. In this blog, we’ll explore the future of power sweeping and why sweeping will always be an essential and necessary service.
Public sweeping has a long and storied history. One of our more unique blog posts explores the 1865 fight for clean streets in New York City. Streets were messier than ever back then, crowded with both people and animals, and all the waste that follows. The story explores the human toll a dirty environment can have on a population and the importance of reliable public sweeping.
The story of 1865 has more to do with politics and less to do with material or manpower. About a century prior, good ol’ Benjamin Franklin devised a system to keep the streets clean by employing several individuals a day to sweep the streets by hand. Worldpowersweeping.com shares this excerpt from Franklin’s Autobiography, in which he discusses his ideas:
“Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding or relating; but when they consider that tho’ dust blown into the eyes of a single person, or into a single shop on a windy day, is but of small importance, yet the great number of the instances in a populous city, and its frequent repetitions give it weight and consequence, perhaps they will not censure very severely those who bestow some attention to affairs of this seemingly low nature. Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.”
The steady march of progress brought us bigger and better means with which to get the job done. Across the pond in 1843, Joseph Whitworth brought us a horse-drawn sweeper and just six years later, C.S. Bishop developed an American horse-drawn sweeper. It was not until 1913 that John M. Murphy and The American Tower and Tank Company brought us the first motor driven sweeper.
“Picture of mechanical street sweeper by Joseph Whitworth” Source: vacuumcleanerhistory.com
But certain parts of the world are still doing it the old-fashioned way. The paper, “Design and Development of Smart Solar Powered Street Sweeping Machine,” discusses the current street sweeping practices in Kolhapur, India:
“This essential daily practice is not performed on a regular basis because of insufficient manpower. A broom and shovel will usually be used by a street sweeping individual to clean up garbage collected on the streets. This is a very long and tedious method. Even, to wash the streets, water hoses were used and to clean the waste that is accumulated on streets. This is a very long and tedious method.”
The researchers go on to discuss how they developed a small, solar powered autonomous street sweeper that consists of, “…frame, brushes, power transmission system and collecting bin,” and that can function without the use of water. This design has the potential to drastically improve the health conditions of Kolhapur and beyond.
A model of the sweeper and the final results can be seen below. It’s still rather crude looking but it’s only the early stages of development.
Over in Helsinki, Finland, the future is now. Similar to the solar powered autonomous sweeper explained above, Trombia Technologies has created the Trombia Free, an autonomous electric sweeper capable of doing large public and commercial areas. The Trombia Free uses Tramobia’s patented “air knife” technology, which allows for thorough cleaning to be accomplished with zero water usage.
The findings of a trial as reported by World Sweeper:
Zero safety risks occurred.
Low noise levels even around the autonomous sweeper.
Effective cleaning results across the whole working with both indoors and outdoors.
Year-round use with waterless air knife technology.
Good cost efficiency that the company predicts will improve even more with remote operator centers rolling out in 2022.
30-tons fewer co2 emissions with every sweeper.
The company Global, introduced the first heavy duty electric sweeper back in 2019, with World Sweeper citing: affordable cost, reliability, top speed of 65MPH, battery range of up to 11 hours, and zero emissions. While this model uses water in its sweeping process, 43 gallons of that water is actually produced by the electro-chemical reaction that is used to power the sweeper itself. Pretty cool stuff!
Because reliable and efficient sweeping will always be a necessity. In an earlier blog, we go over why power sweeping is so important. Sweeping promotes the safety and well-being of both pedestrians and vehicles, prevents flooding, and prevents pollution. Regardless of how the world changes tomorrow, the need for reliable and efficient sweeping will remain.
Cover photo courtesy of NASA