The Evolution of the Sweeper Truck

Freightliner Trucks
Severe Duty Newsletter

Over time, exhaust after-treatment packaging realities required the lengthening of sweeper wheelbases from 120 inches to 184 inches, which created challenges for sweeper operators. Rotating brooms could not be ideally positioned, and the truck’s turning ability was reduced due to the longer wheelbase. However, working with customers and truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs), Freightliner developed a custom package that solves both of these problems.

The solution, developed with customer input, was the packaging of the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system with a canister on either side of the drive shaft. This allowed ideal positioning of the rotating brooms and a return to the shorter 120-inch wheelbase for outstanding maneuverability.

Brian Giles, product manager of Huntsville, Alabama–based sweeper manufacturer Schwarze Industries, explains how collaboration and customer input help solve the issues: “We were starting to get a lot of customer pushback from the longer 184-inch wheelbase because, frankly, there are some cul-de-sacs, particularly on the West Coast, which the truck could no longer turn within,” said Giles. “So we were curb climbing, mailbox hitting, whatever you’d like to call it."

“The advent of EPA 10 after-treatment packaging really changed the game on us,” said Giles. “So Freightliner’s ability to repackage the traps and the dosing system in about the same place that they used to put the pre-EPA 10 exhaust system allowed us to go back to the shorter wheelbase and install the rotating brooms right behind the front wheels for the best performance. Because of that, operators like it way, way better. It’s easier to operate.”

Giles told the story of a public works department visit to Schwarze Industries in Alabama to see one of these new, shorter sweeper trucks. Schwarze built a to-scale cul-de-sac using cones and let the customer test drive the sweeper. The client experienced such a difference with performance and turning radius that they pulled an existing purchase order and placed an order with Schwarze.

“That’s how critical it is,” said Giles. “It makes the sweeper operator’s job easier, the shorter wheelbase makes the turning radius significantly better, they’re quiet, and they’re comfortable to drive.”