Avoid Downtime with These Daily Inspections for Broom Implements
Doug Amerman — Jan 09, 2012
Sweeper attachments are some of the most versatile attachments available, and keeping them running smoothly requires daily inspection and proper maintenance. These attachments require a certain kind of finesse. Too much brush contact or an overly aggressive operator can greatly diminish brush life, but proper adjustment and operation will keep your attachment running smoother, longer.
Performing daily inspections and maintenance before each use is the best way to keep your sweeper attachment running at its maximum efficiency. Sweepster, a Paladin Construction Group company, along with most other sweeper manufacturers includes a maintenance schedule work sheet with each of its attachments to help its customers perform proper maintainance. Taking precautions before each use to determine whether your sweeper attachment requires maintenance.
The optimum brush pattern adjustment for a sweeper attachment is 2 to 4 in. for the brush to pick up debris with a "flicking" motion. If pressure is too light, the debris won't be lifted. Too heavy, and the brush acts like a mop, leading to excessive wear as a large portion of it is dragged across the surface.
To check your sweeper attachment's brush pattern:
- Move the sweeper to a flat, dusty surface.
- Set the prime mover's parking brake and leave the engine running.
- Start the sweeper at a slow speed. Lower it so the boom arms bottom out. Run the sweeper in a stationary position for 10 seconds.
- Raise the sweeper and back away. Switch off the engine and remove the key from the prime mover. The pattern left in the dust should be 2- to 4-in. wide, running the length of the brush.
To adjust your sweeper attachment's brush pattern:
- If the pattern is too wide, reduce the brush pressure or brush-to-surface load. Several of Sweepster's pickup sweepers feature a "T" handle quick pin that allows for tool free adjustment.
- If the pattern is too narrow, increase brush pressure or brush-to-surface load.
- Repeat the steps for checking your sweeper attachment's brush pattern until it is 2- to 4-in. wide.
Make sure all hydraulic hardware and hydraulic fittings are tight, and that all clamps, guards and shields are installed correctly. Check for damage and replace parts if any of the following conditions are present:
- The end fittings are damaged or leaking.
- The outer covering is chafed or cut.
- The reinforcing wire layer is exposed.
- The outer cover is ballooning locally.
- The hose is kinked or crushed.
- The hose has been pulled or stretched.
Carefully inspect fittings and hoses as escaping hydraulic fluid can have enough pressure to penetrate the skin, causing serious personal injury. Do not bend or strike high-pressure lines. Do not install bent lines, bent tubes, kinked hoses or damaged lines, tubes or hoses. It is important to repair damaged or loose lines, tubes and hoses to prevent leaks.
Insufficient prime mover oil flow can result in sluggish broom operation. A low level of oil or dirty oil and/or filter can cause excessive oil temperatures. Check your prime mover's oil levels and cleanliness before each use. All hydraulic fluid should be filtered before use in a sweeper attachment to obtain the ISO cleanliness standard of 17-14 or better, as required by the prime mover.
Check all hardware to assure it is tight. Make certain that all locking pins, latches and connection devices are properly installed and secured. Remove and replace any damaged, fatigued or excessively worn parts. Keep safety decals clean and in place, and replace them if they become worn and hard to read.
Store It Right
Inspections and maintenance are futile if the sweeper attachment isn't stored properly. Place it on blocks or storage stands to avoid putting excess weight on the brush, which will deform bristles and minimize sweeping effectiveness. Do not store polypropylene brushes in direct sunlight. This can cause the material to deteriorate prematurely. Take these precautions before placing your sweeper attachment in storage:
- Clean the unit thoroughly, removing all mud, dirt and grease.
- Inspect for visible signs of wear, breakage or damage. Order any parts required and make the necessary repairs before storing.
- Tighten loose nuts, bolts and hydraulic connections.
- Coat exposed portions of the cylinder rods with grease.
- Lubricate grease fittings.
- Seal hydraulic system from contaminants and secure all hydraulic hoses off the ground to help prevent damage.
- Store unit in a dry and protected place.
These three in combination — inspection, maintenance and proper storage — are your best defense in the fight against failing attachments.
Doug Amerman is the director of marketing and business development for Paladin Construction Group in Dexter, Mich.