There are many different types of tarmac sweepers and, when searching for a sweeper, it’s important to make sure you are choosing the right one for the job. When looking for the right sweeper there are some questions to ask. Determine the most critical type of FOD and the size that is generally found in the sweeping area. What kind of FOD is present, such as leaves, mud, or dust? Is the surface coarse or smooth? How much personnel can you assign to FOD removal duty? For large, complex environments, you may find that you should dedicate two different tarmac sweepers in order to have proper coverage
A friction mat sweeper is great for small surfaces, including joints and grooves, and is good for remote locations. These sweepers are great at capturing small surface FOD better than others types of sweepers. They are portable and lightweight and can be moved with a pickup truck. They have much lower maintenance costs because there aren’t any moving parts. It can be difficult to use these sweepers for large FOD, such as a soda cans, and can be harder to use in windy conditions.
Mechanical sweepers use a spinning broom to sweep debris into a collection bin. These can reach joints and cracks, especially if they use a bristle height that is adjustable. The can also sweep away heavy materials. It uses older technology, so there are a lot of options. The problem with mechanical sweepers is that they can generate dust during sweeping and bristles can break off and actually create more FOD. There can be a lot of maintenance issues because there is a large amount of moving parts.
Vacuums sweepers are best used for dusty environments and can be used for uneven surfaces. They work by using an air nozzle to suck up the FOD. They do generate less dust than mechanical sweepers and have less moving parts, so they require less maintenance. However, these sweepers can release some debris and air particles back in the environment due to exhaust. The ability to collect FOD can be limited by how big the suction nozzle is and bigger pieces just won’t fit.
Regenerative air sweepers work similarly to vacuum sweepers, but they will recirculate the air. They are able to sweep a broader path than vacuum sweepers and the use of a wider nozzle means they can collect larger FOD. They are more environmentally friendly and can exhaust fewer particles. The wider nozzles means lower suction power though, so they can’t be used on potholes or uneven surfaces.
Magnetic sweepers use magnets to sweep up any metal FOD. They don’t require any maintenance since there aren’t moving parts, but these sweepers don’t collect any non-metallic debris and can be damaged if hit too hard against some obstacles.