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Shake, Rattle and Roll! The Shaker Filter System

Saturday, September 1, 2012

From the smallest sweeper to the largest sweeper, whether the brand is Tennant or PowerBoss, all the machines have one thing in common. They all have dust/debris hoppers. In these hoppers are shaker filter systems.

Typically the shaker filter systems comprises of the following:

#1 Hopper shaker filter, also commonly known as the dust filter.

#2 The frame or compartment to house the dust filter.

#3 The shaker device.

So, let’s discuss this very important machine design and why it is so important. There are two types of dust filters in sweepers.

#1 The first type is a filter bag. This filter was used first in the industry. They were usually made of cotton or polyester. The problem with the cotton was that it had a tendency of rotting over time from moisture.

The moisture usually came about from sweeping wet debris or floor surface. The polyester was then introduced sometime in the 1990’s and solved the wet issue. Polyester does not rot.

#2 The second type of filter is the panel filter. This filter is usually rectangular in shape. Typically there is one of these filters in the hopper, however, some of the bigger sweepers, such as the Tennant Model 810 have two filters which are designed side-by-side.

My preference has always been the filter bag because they hold-up to more dramatic systems; i.e. more severe environments. They can be removed and cleaned many times. I have seen under proper care lasting literally years. The only sweeper manufacturer that still uses the filter bag is Factory Cat.

So up to now, we have talked about the filters. Second on my list was the frame. Not much to discuss here, so we will move on to the shaker. The shaker or shaker system is made up of a vibrator and a vibrating device. In most cases this entails an electric motor and a weight attached to the shaft of the motor. This weight is usually off-set so when the motor turns this weight produces such a force as to vibrate or shake the entire filter frame assembly, hence “shaker motor.”

In a nutshell this is how it all works together; the debris from sweeping is swept into the hopper from the main broom. The heavy and/or bulky debris stays in the bottom of the hopper. A vacuum fan pulls the lighter dust up and through a dust filter where it is captured. When the dust filter becomes clogged the filter shaker switch is pushed. This usually unclogs the filter.

One of the top three questions I have encountered is about a sweeper that does not sweep. In many cases it is due to poor dust filter maintenance. This is what you do:

Shake: Push the shaker switch.

Rattle: Listen to the filter, Rumble and Rattle.

Roll: Then you can roll and continue sweeping.

Shake, Rattle and Roll!

As always, thanks for reading Creamer’s Corner. If you have a question or comments you can e-mail me at

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