Material Handling Network

July 2018 Issue

July 2018 Material Handling Directory

2018 Inserts


Social Media Links

View Printer Friendly

WHAT DO I USE? Sweeper, Scrubber or Sweeper/Scrubber

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It’s the same question forever. Do I buy a sweeper, scrubber or a sweeper/scrubber? We are answering these questions today, in this article.

So, let’s begin. First of all, you must pay attention to your facility and just look around for the answers.

  1. Look at the size of your facility. Is it 10,000 square feet or is it 100,000 square feet? This will determine whether you use a walk-behind or a rider machine. This is another story. So, let’s move on.
  2. Is your facility a foundry or a distribution center? The type of operation your company has determines everything. If you have a lot of dust and also a non-food-related facility, a sweeper may be all you need. The types of companies that I have seen with strictly sweepers operating are:
    A. Foundry, Aluminum, Grey iron, etc.
    B. Cement companies
    C. Wall boarding manufacturers, Sheet Board or plastic board
    D. Furniture manufacturers or woodworking companies where the presence of wood, sawdust creates a problem.
    E. Recycling centers, junk yards and scrap yards are definitely sweeper operations.
  3. A scrubber operates nothing like a sweeper and actually cleans the surface. Just as the name implies “it scrubs.” This machine has a clean water (solution) tank and a dirty water (recovery) tank. As the machine moves forward it applies a detergent solution. At that point the brushes scrub as it is moving forward. In the rear of the machine it vacuums the dirty water into the Recovery tank. Situations where these machines are prominent are:
    A. Clean manufacturing such as an automotive assembly plant.
    B. Food processing plants. A good example would be a company that cans food such as soups, vegetables etc.
    C. Any facility that has the presence of oil, petroleum products will also want to clean with a scrubber. An automobile repair shop is also a good example. Another one would be a company that manufactures steel products such as “gears, shafts etc.” that has wet or oily steel shavings on the floor. This situation could be questionable, however, as I have seen sweeper/scrubbers in these operations.
  4. And, now this leads us into the sweeper/scrubber. These machines are just what it says. It sweeps and scrubs in one motion. That is, to say, in one pass. It is comprised of a “cylindrical” main sweeper brush and at least one curb broom, two to three rotary (disc) scrub brushes and a rear squeegee assembly. So let’s describe this motion, as it is moving forward.

The curb broom sweeps debris in front of the machine. The main broom sweeps debris into the hopper. Debris could include paper cups, soda cans, broken-off wood pieces, broken glass, etc. I am sure you have the picture! Behind the main broom the start cleaning the surface. The process is completed when the rear squeegee vacuums the dirty water/debris into the recovery tank.

The most likely location where you would use a sweeper/scrubber would be a soft drink bottling company. Glass is the main debris problem here that is controlled by the sweeper part of the machine.

The syrup solution is controlled by the scrubber part of the machine. Other facilities where you may want these machines in would be a very large food warehouse or distribution center. There has been controversy on when or whether it is necessary to use a scrubber or sweeper/scrubber. Keep in mind that a sweeper/ scrubber is much more expensive to buy and operate.

The decision is the owner or facility managers. However, just look objectively at your own circumstances. These are the factors to examine:

#1 Facility Size
#2 Floor surface
#3 Debris to clean/or pick-up
#4 OSHA or FDA requirements to cleanliness.

Thanks for reading. You can e-mail your questions or comments to

I wanted to take this moment to wish Bob Behrens a Happy Retirement. It has been a pleasure and honor to work with someone so professional. It is becoming rarer to find people that take a certain pride in what they do. With this I bid him a sincere

Hope you enjoy reading my articles every month. I appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments you can e-mail be at

Home  |  Subscribe Now  |  Industry News  |  Business Profiles  |  Product Previews  |  Featured Columns
Advertising  |  Media Planner  |  Current Digital Magazine  |  2014 Digital Directory  |  Contact Us

Privacy Policy  |  Site Map

Web Design and Web Development by the OIC Group

Copyright 2017 © Material Handling Network • 217 Loren Street, Washington, IL 61571
Tel: 309-699-4431 • Toll Free: 800-447-6901 • Fax: 309-698-0801
A WoodwardBizMedia Publication