Editor’s Note: For several months I have been corresponding with Villiam Abbondanza, of Italy, via email. He knows little English and I know zero Italian, so this has been an interesting series of exchanges. On my end, I use Google translate and on his he does his best in English.
In Italy, Abbondanza bills himself as an expert in industrial and urban cleaning machines and technology. When you see some of the sweeping technology he is familiar with, as shown below in the article, it’s easy to see his credentials appear solid. Because his knowledge extends throughout Europe and into Asia, I thought he would be a great source for showing us what some of the sweepers, and related machinery, were like in other parts of the world.
With apologies to the manufacturers and to Villiam for any mistakes in translation in the explanations that accompany the series of photos, below are a number of machines I thought readers would find interesting. Many are taken from Villiam’s company website, www.stradepulite.com/.
If you have comments and/or suggestions, please feel free to add them at the bottom in the comments section.
by Villiam Abbondanza with Ranger Kidwell-Ross
In China, where Abbondanza says he has 30 contacts in the sweeper manufacturing business, the machine I found most interesting is a combination street sweeper and garbage compactor patented to run on batteries powered by solar panels. The three machines in the photo are of that machine. The other is of Mr. Wang, the patent holder, proudly holding up his patent award for his solar-powered invention.
This one is a Dutch invention that is a suction sweeper mounted onto a cargo bicycle. The idea is to ride the bicycle/sweeper to places where litter is visible and suck it up with the hand hose. No information was available on how the machine’s pickup system is powered.
The photo to the right is of a type of sweeper support vehicle Abbondanza says are becoming more popular in a number of European urban environments. This is just an example of the type of machine he says is offered by a number of manufacturers.
The operator of the type of ‘mobile cleaning vehicle’ seen to the right also only does spot cleaning where needed. There is an evolution of urban waste removal that is currently evolving, Abbondanza, one where small urban machines like that shown are used by one-person operator. This creates a high level of efficiency at a relatively low cost that allows cities to keep their downtown business districts sparkling at all times. Most of these are battery-powered and are not cleaning on a wide surface or across the roadway width. Rather, they are used for targeted collection of waste in city centers, ‘old town’ areas or other high-visibility or high-tourist areas.
There are many small, suction-type sweepers in use in the relatively crowded European urban environment. Many of these are variations on the Madvac sweeper shown to the right. These, too, often target specific visible debris seen by the operator as s/he travels along a given route. Maneuverable in the extreme, the machines are able to traverse both the roadways and get up onto sidewalks and onto pathways when need be.
Some models combine suction sweeping under the machine with suction wander-hoses, and offer a variety of offloading, as well. The Madvac unit shown dumps into a dumpster; other types and models fill a heavy duty trash bag, which is removed and replaced when it gets full. The bags are typically then left along the sweeper’s route for later pickup by another vehicle. Because traffic and parking congestion are even larger issues in Europe than in the U.S., maneuverability is of greater importance for sweepers used for sweeping in urban settings there. As the American urban areas become more crowded, this type of sweepers is gaining in popularity in the U.S. marketplace, as well.
This sweeper is an example of the many new electric models now coming into the marketplace. With emerging battery life technology, the machines are able to operate for longer periods between charging stops. This makes them viable for working throughout an entire shift. They are quieter than diesel- or gasoline-powered sweepers, have essentially zero emissions from the engine, and offer the same or more operator comfort than comparable fossil fuel-powered machines.
The electric sweeper technology is becoming more widespread each year and that trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future because of the perceived environmental benefits of electric vehicles, as well as due to the rise in the number of charging stations placed both in municipal facilities and throughout urban areas.
Our final vehicle is one that is a utility vehicle that may be outfitted with a variety of attachments designed for different uses. Other attachments common for this particular vehicle are a snowplow and a mower deck. Shown in the photo is the same vehicle outfitted with the company’s ‘pavement sweeper module.’This versatile vehicle is being used by a number of small towns and mountain communities.
We hope you have enjoyed this tour of some of the sweeping technology now being seen in Europe and Asia. For American readers, these may well be the first time they have been exposed to these types of vehicles. On the other hand, those readers who live in Europe and Asia may wonder what’s so different about them!
His company website is located at: