Tips and Tricks

Easily Eliminate Finishing Problems

Brushing effect too light

Brushing effect too heavy

1. Increase surface speed by:

a. bigger brush diameter
b. increase speed of rotation (rpm)

2. Decrease trim length

3. Increase diameter of fill material

(e.g. wire 0.35 instead of wire 0.30 or
abrasive nylon grit 120 instead of grit 180)

1. Reduce surface speed by:

a. smaller brush diameter
b. decrease speed of rotation (rpm)

2. Increase trim length

3. Decrease diameter of fill material

(e.g. wire 0.30 instead of wire 0.35 or
abrasive nylon grit 180 instead of grit 120)

Action of brushpeens burr to adjacent surface

1.  Decrease trim length

2.  Check position of brush and work piece

Finish too coarse and unequal

Finish too smooth and bright

1.  Decrease trim length

2.  Reduce diameter of fill material

3.  Reduce grit size

4.  Increase surface speed by:

a. bigger brush diameter
b. increase speed of rotation (rpm)

1.  Increase trim length

2.  Increase diameter of fill material

3.  Increase grit size

4.  Reduce surface speed by:

a. smaller brush diameter
b. decrease speed of rotation (rpm)

Buffing/Compounds Tips and Tricks

Quick tip when hand buffing, color buff when the part is still somewhat warm or hot, this will make the color buff operation quicker and avoid transfer of compound from the buffing wheel to part.

Pre-heat aluminum parts to speed up the buffing operation. Use a worn belt from your last Polishing operation on stainless before buffing, (whatever the last belting operation is , use the same grit but with worn belt ) This will reduce the grit line from a fresh belt and help with leveling before buff.

Our recommendation for proper usage of road sweeping brushes

Speed of Sweeper

Keep to the manufacturers recommended travelling speed. Travelling too fast will cause premature brush wear. In this case brushes will be forced to scrape the road instead of brushing over it. The side brooms would not only wear rapidly but may even shear off as the brush hits the curb at speed causing danger to pedestrians or damage to cars and other objects. Front brooms would be rendered ineffective and the brushing material might even be forced to fold under its head against the direction of travel. Excessive speed may also damage the side arms and support mechanisms of the brushes.

Proper Distance from Road Surface

Rollers and sections

Rollers and sections need to sweep and not scrape the road surface. This means that the brushing material needs to be able to flick the dirt in the direction of rotation and into the suction nozzle or directly into the hopper or bucket.

Measure the sweeping pattern to establish the correct down pressure. To do this, operate the broom at its normal rotational speed whilst standing still. Lift the broom and check the marks on the road surface.

A width of around 35 mm is about right for a roller or segment of around 380 mm to 400 mm diameter. A broom diameter of 500 to 600mm should produce a mark of around 75 mm and anything over 600 mm a mark of around 100 mm. Large deposits may need several passes - resist the temptation to sweep in one go as this will mean turning the brush into a bulldozer and this will invariably reduce the life of the brushes and even damage them and the brushing mechanisms necessitating immediate replacements.

Side Brooms

Care should be taken to set the angle to the horizontal in keeping with the OEM’s instructions. Generally speaking about 1/3 of the wire strands should be in contact with the road surface, however this will depend on the size of the brush. If a different style of brush is used the operator should check how much of the brushing material is in contact with the road rather than the angle of the head to the horizontal. The reason for this is that the angle is set to the manufacturers supplied brushes and these may be dimensionally and proportionately different. If there is an option to increase downward pressure this should be used sparingly, if at all! It is more cost effective to sweep regularly and often than to force a brush to prematurely wear out.


Front Brooms

Again take care to set the angle to the horizontal in keeping with the OEM’s recommendation. This also applies when a different suppliers brush is used. It is usually set so that the brush sweeps between 1/3 and 1/2 of its diameter, depending on the width of the suction box and other distances. 

Matching the Surface Conditions

Roller & Segment Brushes

There are three basic fill configurations:

a. Complete brush in Polypropylene

b. Half Polypropylene and half Wire

c. All Wire.

a. Polypropylene is perhaps the most popular filling. It is good for general sweeping and sweeping loose dirt in dry conditions also dry snow. We use copolymer material which does not freeze in freezing conditions and therefore individual strands will not freeze and snap off in use. Copolymer has the added bonus of being more durable than homopolymer. It is arguably the most cost effective material available today.

b. Polypropylene/Wire mixture gives a ‘best in any situation’ performance. Whether wet or dry the polypropylene will sweep loose debris whilst the wire will scrape or scarify impregnated dirt enabling the polypropylene to pick it up and flick into the side of the road or the hopper. It is a general all-rounder and operators usually default to this assembly to save time and effort in not having to change configurations to suit changing surface conditions. This type of configuration is also used in areas where dirt and debris is continually being trodden down as in, say, a recycling plant or in road building or an entrance to and from a building site in wet conditions.

c. All Wire is the most aggressive combination. Used in extreme conditions it can cut away compacted and heavy grime and dirt unlike any other combination. It can be used in wet snow and ice and is especially effective in quarries and scrap yards where protruding surface material, heavy debris or sharp metal objects can easily render an all Polypropylene broom ineffective.

Front Brooms

The most popular material is Polypropylene. Front Brooms are used mainly on Precinct Sweepers. Since these are used in pedestrianized areas Polypropylene will not damage expensive surfaces, and unlike wire it will not remove filling from in between cobbled or tiled surfaces. Sometimes Wire & Polypropylene is used in areas where wet conditions have caused discarded paper and other material to stick to the floor. All wire front brooms are usually used only on tarmac surfaces such as side roads.

Side Brooms

Built to withstand wear rather than match surface conditions, these will usually be in flat wire and either in 3 or 4 rows, or more. Polypropylene, Polyester or Nylon are usually only used in areas where wire can cause damage or danger. For example they are almost exclusively used in petrol and oil refineries where wire can cause fire. Some airports insist on all polypropylene brooms because wire can break off and damage aircraft tires or be sucked up into aircraft engines.

ZigZag Segments

For some industries these are the preferred option. Where it is not possible to mount the sweeper at an offset angle to the direction of travel, then the zigzag is the best option. This is the case with bucket sweepers such as the Bobcat. Our ZigZags sweep a continuous surface width three times every one revolution. This would result in a clean surface in places where flat sections with spacers would leave streaks. For this reason zigzags are good for clearing coal deposits, sand, mud and discarded building materials on construction sites.


This is a polypropylene strip which, like the ZigZag, covers the complete width it sweeps. It can be used in similar places where the ZigZag is used. Where initial cost is an issue several Poly-Pro® strips can be banked together and used as a static push broom which attaches to a tractor or truck (see Osborn Broomate). In this way it is one of the best value-per-cost available mechanical brooms. Very good performance on uneven surfaces.

Optimum performance

Brushes should be replaced before ever they wear out completely. Once the length of strand has shortened to below its half original length the sweep becomes inefficient, ineffective and therefore costly. From then on dirt and debris will be spread over the road surface rather than swept and deposited properly to the suction nozzle or into the hopper.