Buyer's guide - blowers, vacs and sweepers

Many of the latest tractor-mounted and towed machines can improve productivity, Sally Drury explains.

Efficiency: a range of tractor-mounted equipment can be used to improve productivity - image: Wessex International
Efficiency: a range of tractor-mounted equipment can be used to improve productivity - image: Wessex International

Whether you work for a local authority, contractor or golf course or you are an estate manager or professional gardener, you will be aware that productivity counts more than ever these days. Any kit that means a task can be completed with reduced effort, in less time or perhaps making fewer passes should be investigated.

Tractor-mounted and towed blowers, vacuums, sweepers and collectors can improve productivity, particularly in autumn when leaves need to be collected. But it is not just in autumn when this type of kit can save effort, time and money.

Blowers and some brooms are ideal for removing dew before early morning turf-maintenance tasks and mowing operations. Brushes also help lift grass blades prior to mowing and many find a role in top-dressing dispersal and incorporation.

Following outdoor concerts and rallies, the trailed vacuum can be used to clean the site and remove debris — be it crisp packets or beer cans — and after storms the same machines can tackle the clear-up of twigs and broken vegetation.

There are also trailed machines available that combine sweeping, scarification, flail mowing and collection, ensuring that they can be put to work all year round.

The popularity of synthetic turf pitches has seen the development of brushes and equipment to keep infill mobile and hygienically clean.

If you are looking to improve productivity through new machinery, think about the jobs that need to be done, the frequency of operation and the areas involved. If considering blowers, be sure to investigate air velocity and match to the conditions you expect to encounter.

For collecting, your hopper capacity should reflect the volume of litter or debris that you are likely to encounter, but it is also important to consider how and where that hopper will be emptied.

Supplier information & contact details

The following is a list of major manufacturers, importers and distributors of tractor-mounted and towed blowers, brooms, vacuums and sweepers. Omission of any company or product does not imply criticism:

Campey Turf Care Systems
01260 224568
Campey Turf Care Systems offers two blowers, the Votex B40 (pictured above) for 40hp tractors and the B60 for 60hp tractors. The high-capacity units are designed to the "focused air guidance" principle and have a double-sided air inlet to enlarge the intake without enlarging the turbine. For vacuuming, Campey supplies the Votex VT420 compact, high-tipping vacuum/sweeper with 4.2cu m capacity. Suitable for tractors of 45hp plus, the VT420 comes as standard with a 1.7m vacuum funnel that features a weight-transfer system. Optional extras include a manual suction pipe, scarifier and flail mower.

Charterhouse Turf Machinery
01428 661222
In addition to a range of kit for sweeping and cleaning synthetic turf surfaces, Charterhouse Turf Machinery also offers the Speed-Brush (pictured) and Verti-Broom for use on natural turf. The Speed-Brush works to a width of 1.4m while the Verti-Broom comes with 1.5m, 1.8m or 2.4m working widths. For collecting debris from turf surfaces, the company supplies the Turf Tidy unit.

Double A
01334 657602
Included in Double A’s portfolio is the Dream Turf Sweep-N-Fill 3 Greens Brush. Launched at BTME in January 2015, it is a third-generation brush that has improved on the original design by incorporating electric lift and infinite brush height adjustment.

08450 669 993
A towed grounds-maintenance machine, the Envirostar incorporates a chipper, mulcher, vacuum, bagger, blower, pressure washer and generator.

Etesia UK
01295 680120
Attachments available for front-mounting to the company’s ride-on mowers include a sweeper/collector
with gulley brush option.

Gambetti UK
01361 883418
The company supplies three models of Intermac leaf blowers with impellers of 39cm for tractors up to 35hp, as well as 45cm and 60cm for larger tractors. All feature hydraulic wind direction angling up or down 15° and rotating left and right through 180° as well as twin support wheels that are adjustable for height.

John Deere
01949 860491
There are grass collectors available for some of John Deere’s ride-on mowers.

Kersten UK
0118 986 9253
The LBV blower from Kersten has a dynamically balanced aluminium fan producing an air velocity of 230kph. Silencers at the air inlet and outlet, plus the use of a one-piece plastic fan housing, result in noise of less than 85dB at the operator’s ear. The unit can be supplied with Cat 1 linkage and 540rpm power take-off (PTO) for mounting to the rear of compact tractors. Kersten also offers sweepers for mounting to ride-on mowers, small or large tractors and forklifts. PTO or hydraulically driven, all have optional collectors and gulley brushes and will angle left and right. For heavy-duty yard sweeping, the company supplies the KM52 brush with 52cm diameter and 1.25m working width. It requires a tractor of 30-60hp.

Lloyds & Co
01462 683031
UK distributor for Buffalo Turbine blowers, Lloyds offers the Cyclone PTO and Cyclone KB3 debris blowers. The PTO model has a rigid but lightweight welded tubular steel frame. Belts, pulleys, jack shafts and pillow blocks are replaced with a direct-drive gearbox, resulting in the machine weighing just 108kg. Model KB3 has a 23hp Kohler engine and utilises wireless nozzle and throttle control from a water-resistant handheld remote transmitter. The latest product offered by Lloyds is the Buffalo Cyclone Squared (pictured). Again featuring wireless control, this machine has a Kohler Command Pro 40 engine and a second turbine and nozzle to up productivity.

Overton UK
01522 690011
Overton’s commercial leaf collector range includes T7, T10 and T175 vacuum leaf loaders. The company is also the sole distributor in the UK for Barber Surf Rake beach cleaners, including the high-tip 600HD 1.5cu m model for use with tractors of 60hp and above.

Ransomes Jacobsen
01473 270000
Based in Ipswich, Ransomes Jacobsen offers the Smithco high-capacity,
belt-driven blower for 25hp compacts. It features a 40cm-diameter, eight-bladed impeller and three-point hitch. Also available is the Turfco Torrent Blower, powered by a 27hp Kohler Command engine with electric start and featuring fast nozzle rotation through 180°. Wireless control technology allows the user to dial in the exact nozzle direction for this multiple-speed-setting machine.

SCH (Supplies)
01473 328272
Leaf sweepers/collectors and powered leaf vacuums are available from SCH for use with lawn tractors and sub-compact tractors. The company also offers a range of sweeping equipment for use on synthetic turf.

Schiller Grounds Care
0800 840 0888
As well as push and self-propelled Little Wonder vacuums, this company also offers 16hp, 22hp and 27hp shredding truck-loaders. The units can collect and condense thatch, leaves and other debris, with the higher powered models featuring five-bladed steel shredding Talon rings.

01332 824777
Oscar 3 is a tractor-mounted powered brush designed to reduce the number of passes on sports fields, golf courses and amenity areas. Sisis also supplies the 5.35m Flexibrush and multiple-action Varibrush to disperse top dressing, remove excess material or strip natural turf and to keep infill mobile on synthetics. The Flexi400 interchangeable unit for use on golf fairways and sports grounds is new this year. It has seven fully floating heads, can be fitted with roller or brush heads and is said to be ideal for removing dew, striping, lifting grass prior to cutting or brushing in top dressing.

The Grass Group
01638 720123
Home of Trilo equipment, The Grass Group offers a wide range of tractor-mounted blowers from the BL300 for 20hp compact tractors to the BL960 for tractors in excess of 45hp. The latter boasts an air movement of 385cu m/min and air speed of 245kph. Units can be equipped with reverse exhaust spout to alter airflow direction. By using the machine with the exhaust spout at half height, it can clear the area to left and right. There are also many Trilo vacuums, from the SG400 needing a 35hp tractor to the SG670 multifunctional vacuum/sweeper. The latter can be equipped to form a leaf sweeper, scarifier or flail mower. The S Line Range allows customers to configure their machine to suit individual requirements.

Wessex International
01264 849241
For debris collection, Wessex International offers the STC scarifier, sweeper/collector range in widths from 1.2m to 1.8m and ProLine MultiFunctional Collectors suitable for tractors from 18hp upwards. A range of kit including paddock cleaners is also available for use with quad bikes and utility vehicles. The company’s portfolio features Wessex and SweepEx push brooms, including the 2.44m-wide MegaMax (pictured), for use with tractors, forklifts and skidsteers. One of the latest sweepers available is the Push Broom PRO240, a 2.4m-wide machine designed for heavy-duty sweeping tasks. It features eight rows of hard-wearing bristles.

Wiedenmann UK
0141 814 3366
In addition to a wide range of specialist sweeping and cleaning kit for synthetic turf, Wiedenmann supplies the Whisper Twister (pictured) hydraulically swivelling unit for front mounting to commercial mowers or three-point linkage mounting to compact tractors of 25hp or more. The Whisper Twister produces 200cu m/min at speeds of 50m/sec and incorporates a parking stand and rear support wheels. For collecting debris from sports fields, parks and golf courses, Wiedenmann offers the 2.1m-wide, 2,500-litre capacity Super 500. The unit, which can be used as verticutter, flail mower or turf sweeper, features a parallelogram guided head for optimal working position at all times. Joining the 500 last year, the Super 600 ups the tank capacity to 4,500 litres.

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