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Join us at the Holiday Inn-Rolling Meadows, Ill. for an educational one-day conference, June 7, with key industry leaders giving you ideas to take back to your business tomorrow. This four-session format will include topics that are trending in the industry. Take part in networking opportunities before and during the event, plus a vendor mall for ideas on products and services to expand your product line.

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Look Ma, No Brakes!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

With Tennant sweepers and scrubbers there is a directional control pedal. This pedal controls forward and reverse. One pedal for both, that’s right. Unlike other equipment, such as forklifts, there is no transmission. No transmission as we know it. The sweepers and scrubbers are strictly hydrostatic.

What does that mean you say? This set-up has a main hydraulic propelling pump mounted directly to the IC engine, whether it is gas or LP gas. In this set-up, the directional pedal does control both forward and reverse motion. So you are less likely to use the brakes. It is not only the Tennant Company but all the sweeper / scrubber manufacturers. These include Nilfisk/Advance, American-Lincoln, Power Boss and others.

So if you have, a Tennant Model M20, it is hydrostatic. You say your running a Power/Boss SW9XR, guess what? Yes, it is hydrostatic. How about your American-Lincoln 7760 sweeper/scrubber? Yes, hydrostatic.

So, by using the hydrostatic pedal, there is less use or necessity for the brake pedal. Through the 30 years that I have been in this industry, I have seen many things. One being a machine with “no brakes.” Yes that is correct, no brakes. With the correct control of the direction control pedal, I have seen company’s run their sweeper / scrubbers with no brakes. Is this a good idea? Probably not, but you can run these machines without brakes and do it safely.

If you were to investigate, this is what you would find in the American-Lincoln operations control manual: Accelerator & Directional Control Pedal.

The accelerator and directional control pedal is located on the floor of the driver compartment, to the right of the brake pedal. The accelerator and directional control pedal controls the machine direction and travel speed.

  1. Put foot pressure on the upper portion of the pedal. The machine will move forward.
  2. Increase the foot pressure on the upper portion of the pedal to increase the forward speed.
  3. Put foot pressure on the lower portion of the pedal to increase the reverse speed.
  4. Increase the foot pressure on the lower portion of the pedal to increase the reverse speed.
  5. To stop the machine, put light foot pressure on the lower portion of the pedal. If the machine is moving in reverse put light foot pressure on the upper portion of the pedal.

So, you see, no brakes required...or you could say...Look Ma, No Brakes!

Thanks for reading every month and if you ever have any questions and/or comments, contact me at

Michael Creamer

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