After three years of reviewing customer feedback and re-examining every component of the truck-mounted range, Johnston Sweepers has now launched its new intelligent sweeping evolution, the V Range, writes Ann-Marie Knegt.

It has been a busy year for Dorking-based Johnston Sweepers. Following the launch of the critically acclaimed C201 in 2011, the compact sweeper went on to win several awards. After pulling in the title for Waste and Recycling Vehicle of the Year at the Plant Waste and Recycling Show (PAWRS) in Paignton last June, the machine was named 'Mechanical Product of the Year 2012' at the British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEA).

The C201 features a four-wheel steer system ' the first of its kind in Europe ' as well as a data capture system, which provides operators with essential information about driver behaviour and the sweeper's performance. 'It is also very environmentally friendly, using up to 40% less fuel in 'work mode' than any other sweeper in its class. The machine includes the 'Eco-mode' function which comes as standard, for maximum fuel economy in transit. The combination is a significant financial and environmental improvement for fleet operators,' said UK Sales Manager Graham Howlett.

Johnston Sweepers didn't rest on its laurels, and has recently announced its new V Range truck-mounted series, which will replace the V650, V500 and V800 range.

Johnston's engineering team spent three years reviewing customer feedback and re-examining every single component of the new V Range, in order to evolve the technology so it is up to speed with modern requirements. The new series of sweepers include the V651 (6.1m3), the V 501 (5.1m3), and the V801 (7.7m3).

The machines are powered by an auxiliary engine system built by JCB in its Derby facility. 'It is the first time that Johnston and JCB are working together, but we have created one of the cleanest and most efficient truck-mounted sweepers available on the market, and at the same time it is a totally British product.

'JCB claims that its engines have 10% lower fuel consumption than comparable products. However, when we tested the JCB engines on the new V Range, we actually measured 13% less fuel used,' commented Graham.

Johnston chose the JCB engine because of its advanced design and high performance levels. Another deciding factor was the fact that the 55kW power pack already met the future Tier 4 emissions legislation (emissions standard for engines in plant and construction equipment and applications that do not power road engines). Graham adds that this is the only engine that is able to perform suitably in its displacement class without requiring SCR (Ad-blue) after-treatment systems.

Steve Douglas, Product Manager for Johnston Sweepers, explains that one of the most striking features of the new range of sweepers is the increased on-station work time, made possible by larger water tanks with a 21% increase in capacity on the V651 to 1572 litres. This is a 36% increase for the new V501, combined with newly-designed water jets, which have been optimised to use water more intelligently, so dust can be suppressed and water can be conserved.

Another design feature that has been added are the self-unblocking nozzles, and this means that the water system has become more efficient. And with the increased hopper capacity on the new V501 model - from 4.8m3 to 5.1m3 - it means that operators do not have to return to the depot as frequently, and therefore the sweeper can be operational for longer.

'We are gently trying to educate operators to use their sweepers in a more intelligent way. This means using less fuel, and generating less dust and noise, and reducing wear and tear,' commented Steve.

The Can-bus system that was first introduced on the C201 (compact sweeper) has now been implemented on the new truck-mounted V Range as well. The 7” colour display screen, mounted in the cab, displays operational information, including an in-cab water tank gauge, as well as diagnostic data for safety and maintenance. The display can be connected to as many as four cameras installed around the sweeper, and thereby visibility and safety is greatly increased.

'We have shifted our focus towards control systems and technologies which help operators become more efficient by increasing ease of use. There are now half as many buttons to press, simplifying matters greatly for novice drivers. At the same time if you are more experienced and you want to get more out of the machine, there is the option to dial down more menus, so the sweeper can be tuned to your expectations. The driver can, for instance, override the Eco-mode (the most fuel efficient operating calibration under average conditions), when operating in a harsher environment.

In addition, the Can-bus system on the V Range has the same logging capabilities as on the C201, and this means fuel economy and driver behaviour can be recorded and downloaded for further interpretation and analysis. This information can then be of benefit to identify points for improvement in order to create the most optimum and sustainable fleet management solution.

The data capture facility also monitors time swept, and all information is simply downloaded via a USB stick.

Johnston's customer feedback revealed that operators are finding increasing value in measuring and monitoring real-time cost and operational information. Steve said: 'Clients have asked us to become more efficient, provide this type of data, and monitor the whole life cycle of the machine, and this is exactly what the Can-bus system provides.'

Another improvement implemented in the new range is the redesign of the sweepgear, as the company has decreased wear and tear by introducing a hydraulic motor in order to simplify maintenance requirements. Johnston has also included a labyrinth on the bottom of the channel brush motor to prevent twigs, threads and nylon packaging material from getting wrapped around the mechanism.

Steve explained that the flexible hydraulic hoses on the old series have been replaced by steel pipes. 'They are far more robust, minimise leaks and cool more effectively. They are also lighter and therefore reduce running costs. Even the hoses on the water-cooling system have been replaced with efficient new push-in fittings instead of the old-style jubilee clips.

Further client feedback highlighted the requirement for the hopper to be able to be tipped for maintenance without running the auxiliary engine. The V Range enables the operator to do this with one push on the pendant control from the cab, without generating any noise or harmful emissions in the workshop.

The V Range of sweepers are built and assembled at Johnston's facilities in