Air or Water? Two Types of Street Sweeper Trucks

Cleaning roads and streets is no simple task, even though the purpose is simple. Leaves, rocks, garbage, and the like need to be removed to make roadways safer and more comfortable for travel. While this can be done with household cleaning implements like brooms and litter pickers, utility crews use street sweepers nowadays. These vehicles come in two general types.

Conventional street sweepers use water jets and fast-spinning brushes to clean roads as they drive over them. Some models employ large vacuum cleaners to suck out dirt and debris as well. Conventional street sweepers are the most common and the simplest to use, mainly because the tools they employ are very familiar, although they not as efficient as the more-advanced regenerative air sweepers.

As the name implies, regenerative air sweepers employ noisy air jets instead of water to “pick up” the dirt and debris they encounter on the road. After being sucked in, the air is filtered then released again, hence the term regenerative air. Similar to their conventional counterparts, some air sweeper models also employ small water jets but they’re mainly used to keep particulates down rather than clean them away. This method makes them more thorough when cleaning streets, but this also means they’re costlier and noisier to operate than conventional sweepers.

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