Johnston Sweepers recently launched a brand new range of sweepers at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. Clients and distributors of the company came from all over Britain and Europe to see the new C201 range in action, and the new compact sweeper didn't disappoint, reports Ann-Marie Knegt.

The smooth transition between two-wheel steering to four-wheel steering was especially impressive, as it enabled the C201 to efficiently clean the most difficult curves. The sweeper automatically transfers from two-wheel steering into four-wheel steering when transgressing from transit to working mode.

Clive Offley, Engineering Director for Johnston explains that no other sweeper currently on the market currently has this ability. “The C201 is extremely manoeuvrable, as the 80 degree steering lock of the two-way steering is excellent for turning on it self, and the intelligent hydrostatic control enables easy turning in the C201.”

When turning, initially the rear wheels turn opposite to the fronts proportionally up to 20 degrees for outside curves at roundabouts and road junctions. However, when a tighter turning circle is required, the front wheels continue to the traditional 80 degrees, turning the machine almost on itself. In transit mode the two-wheel steering provides more control at higher speeds.

The new suspension system, Glide 2 incorporates a single coil on each wheel instead of a dual coil on the previous system. Large dampers with increased oil capacity and a semi-trailing arm are now also present on the sweeper.

Clive adds that the hydraulic pipes in the chassis, are replaced by steel pipes instead, and therefore reducing maintenance issues. “The articulated brush arms have been fitted with forward impact shock absorbers, and side impact hydraulic dampeners. If the shear pin in the brush arms breaks due to some type of impact, the operator is able to replace the pin by himself and with ease.”

These are not the only improvements on the C201 sweeper. The cab has been completely redesigned and looks sleek and modern, and features 25% more glass in the floor, so the operator has increased visibility of the nozzle box, making it possible for the driver to see if the under carriage is free from debris and rubbish. For night time use a nozzle light has been integrated in the same area. The windscreen is heated, so it won't steam up or freeze in adverse weather conditions and allows for quick demist at the start of the shift.

Graham Howlett, marketing manager for Johnston Sweepers says that many of the features on this sweeper were actual customer requests. “Client requirements were at the heart of the design of the new C201. Operator comfort, for instance, was high on the agenda, and therefore we have integrated air suspended seats, an adjustable steering column for height and rake, temperature control, hydrostatic power steering, and a radio with MP3 player and SD card option into the cab.”

To improve driver comfort even more, a special shuffle button has been introduced in the armrest control, and this provides the option of reversing at slow speed to pick up any rubbish that has been missed.

Low cost of ownership

Several other features in the transmission system of this sweeper have also been improved. The sweeper can be set to operate in ecomode; in this working mode it will perform at the optimum number of revs per minute for municipal operations, saving fuel and producing less carbon emissions.

“We are aiming to keep the cost of ownership of this sweeper very low. The C201 uses 40% less fuel than its competitors in work mode, and we can prove this, and are willing to demonstrate this to anyone. We have calculated that it uses 4.2 litres of fuel per hour. At current fuel prices of £1.40 per litre, we can make savings of £12,521.60 per machine per annum, based on a 40-hour workweek for 52 weeks,” comments Graham.

The J-Plex 2 control system monitors not only fuel consumption, but also records the, time swept in work mode and time travelled in transit mode, the average RPM over time, as well as many other functions. The screen also displays a speedometer, and provides access to the Can Bus data for safety and maintenance. More options are being developed to show exact cost of fuel, the weight of the material collected and daily operator checks. When available these can be updated easily within the software.

All data can be downloaded with a USB stick and then downloaded straight onto an ExCel file. All the available data can be used to work out how many machines are really required in an organisation to effectively provide the service. Driver behaviour can be analysed and therefore corrected, if necessary.

Environmental benefits

Graham adds that environment is also high on the agenda for local authorities. “What we wanted to achieve was a small carbon footprint, and can now demonstrate the amount of real carbon offset through the fuel savings on the C201. We know that this is of prime importance for Councils and contractors, because they have to report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change every July on how much carbon they have offset over the year. On our older model, the CX 200, we used 12,040 litres of fuel per year, which stood for a 16.2 tonne carbon saving, while the C201 improves on that with 19.2 tonnes of savings per year.”

Another environmental issue that has received much attention lately is the ultra-fine particles ' PM10s and PM 2.5s. Graham explains that the C201's water curtain dust suppression system uses small nozzles next to the brushes to project a fine water spray ahead of the sweeper brushes, so the fine particles are trapped and brushed in the path of the nozzle box.

The dust and debris are contained with fans of water travelling at upto 200MPH. The dust is being soaked with water so the ultra-fine particles attach to the water droplets, so it safely falls to the bottom of the hopper. The water is then re-circulated so all dust is contained in the sweeper.

There is 250 litres of water in the recirculation system and the sweeper carries 152 litres of clean water. A high-pressure hand lance with a 10m hose, which can be fitted with a fan and a pencil nozzle, is supplied as standard with the machine, and this enables the operator to remove any type of persistent dirt.

Johnston Sweepers tested the machine extensively at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, says Graham Howlett.

“There it underwent a simulated five years of extreme use on Belgian cobble, twist humps, kerb strikes, and driveway ramps. These tests replicated the life of the machine very rapidly, enabling maximum performance and durability to be achieved before its launch.”

Clive Offley adds: “In designing the C201 we have taken all the latest ideas a step further to produce a completely new machine with pioneering technology and best-ever ride, comfort and drivability, which we believe will be competitive in Europe and the UK.”