Podcast! Senior Project Engineer Martin Bugg on the RS655

Regenerative Air Street Sweeper

Martin Bugg explains regenerative air street sweepers

On this episode of the Sweepers & Tankers Podcast, host Matt Starnes chats with Johnston Sweepers/Bucher Municipal Senior Project Engineer about the RS655 vs the RT655.

Martin reveals the ins and outs of testing, the advantages of regenerative air, and much more. Listen to the podcast episode and/or read the full transcript!

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Read the full transcript of the podcast

Matt Starnes: Before we begin this episode of the Sweepers and Tankers Podcast with Martin Bugg, one of our senior project engineers at Bucher Municipal. Just want to point out this podcast was actually the first recorded but the way it’s ending up as, as being released. It’s the third podcast. And this episode really came about, uh, from folks asking when we were at trade shows and other events. Um, you know, what is the difference between the RT and the RS. So we do dive into that in this episode. And also it’s a really good refresher if you’re not familiar with regenerative air and how that works. So sit back, relax. I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Announcer: Welcome to the Sweepers and Tankers Podcast sponsored by Johnston Sweepers, a BUCHER company providing Endless Sweeping Solutions and by Bucher Municipal North America, Powered by Innovation and specializing in the development and manufacture of world-class recycling sewer cleaners for over 30 years. This podcast covers topics on the street sweeper and sewer cleaning equipment market. Now let’s welcome our host Matt Starnes.

Regenerative air RS655 front grill close up

Matt Starnes: Alright, Martin Bugg thank you for joining us.

Martin Bugg: How are you doing? Good to be here.

Matt Starnes: Now I’m really good at dialects and accents. So if I’m not mistaken, that’s a Boston accent. Is that correct?

Martin Bugg: Uh, no, London as it gets.

Matt Starnes: That’s right. And so you’re, you’re actually on the engineering team for the RM, I guess. RS/RT series in Dorking, England correct? Martin Bugg: Let’s call it one thing, let’s call it the RS. All right. Yeah. In the engineering team in Dorking for several years now. The RS is our latest evolution of the RT. Yeah. So it’s here and available in America. Go buy one. Matt: Fantastic and you come out here a couple of times a year, sounds like to Mooresville, North Carolina to our, where we assemble things, all the sweepers.

Martin Bugg: Yeah, Mooresville is great for us. Mostly we like to do product testing in the environment that the machines are going to be working in. Hopefully, we always improve the product we get treated well, it’s a good relationship to have.

Matt Starnes: Excellent. So if you could explain to folks exactly how regenerative air street sweepers work in a nutshell. I know that’s fairly a fairly complex. For you, maybe not. Martin: Let’s give it a go. Essentially what you have is an impeller. Fan. We drive the impeller, which creates suction into the hopper. Uh, but the difference between the regenerative air and a vacuum sweeper is the regenerative air has a contained system so we use high velocity blasted air into a suction hood to create a fair amount of turbulence, pushes the debris across the suction hood to the suction tube. And the suction tube then sucks it up into the hopper debris. Matt: It’s not being pushed. Those particulates aren’t being pushed out after…because it is a self-contained…

Martin Bugg: Yes. Yeah. Essentially. So the, as the sweeper is driving forward, the hood covers, the debris and then a high velocity we call it an air knife at Johnston blasts the towards the suction hood then the negative pressure sucks it up. And that’s different because you’re using a contained system as a vacuum machine uses a pressure differential, so you blast the air out. The group. Um, so yeah, it’s quite a good system. It’s very well received in America…North America? Matt: North America, absolutely, yeah. Martin: The roads here and the versatile climate over the, across the country, are good and provide lots of challenges for engineers.

Regenerative air RS655 angled side view

Matt Starnes: That’s very good. What do you, would you say is the biggest advantage of regenerative air? Is it the self-contained system or… Martin: The way it can pick up volumes. So leaf pickup in Autumn let’s say or depends on the conditions, but if you have high dry conditions and it’s very good for sand, lots of volume for leaf season leaves.

Martin Bugg: So general litter is fine as well. You need flat surfaces. So we sell well to airports. We sell well across North America because we have quite a lot of flat roads. Matt: A lot of pavement Martin: In England, I was educated on the American term is crown in the roads, which we call a camber. And that’s not particularly great for regenerative air. So that’s a little more difficult for them to be sealed… the tarmac and the asphalt. Matt: Any other advantages of regenerative air that you… Martin: The full-width sweep, the full nozzle is two meters into imperial 90 inches or 93 inches. So that’s, that’s very good because you’ll technically not missing any area. You’re not missing any area and have the ability to blast the debris out of the cracks in the asphalt or tarmac and then suck it up is it’s quite brilliant and that’s why we can pick up so much so efficiently our induction size is very big. The diameter is 14 inch. so very good volume, that’s probably one of the biggest benefits. Having such a big hood.

Matt Starnes: I want to kind of get into the meat and potatoes of it, but the differences really of our predecessor, the RT, and the RS because we’ve got a lot of people, dealers, and end customers too. They’re curious what the difference is. I know uh, at the time of this recording here in Mooresville working on the fine tuning some different things with them, with the RS. Martin: Absolutely, we should just hire a Mustang and visit all these nice people.

Martin Bugg: The main difference is we’ve removed an engine and by doing that you transfer the power draw and you have to pull power from somewhere. So in this case we decided to use juul ptos gearbox, Ptos, to be specific off an Allison Transmission to power our hydraulic system. That’s the main thing we use. The John Deere on the regenerative air on the RT. We’ve got away from that because uh, we think low or no emissions being cleaner is the most positive thing we can do ultimately. Matt: Absolutely. Martin: And that’s the main difference. We run a hydraulically driven fan so we’re not using the Johnston zed drive gearbox and fluid coupling to drive the impeller. We did a lot of development on how we control the hydraulic driven fan and a lot of testing and all of the understanding of how the airflow works and what the differences are.

Martin Bugg: So the customer, that side of the control aspect is the main thing that they’re going to notice the difference we’ve made the machine full Cambus, which is in line with our VT range. So we’ve pulled a lot of technology from that which is tried and tested in America and everywhere in the world. So now we have a machine that is a single engine runs full Cambus and is easily controlled with all the real positives that the vacuum has in terms of control. So we can do a lot of manipulation for user preference and we are quite happy to say that machine works really well now. Matt: So a lot of customization depending on what the need of the end customer is? Martin: Yeah, I mean you get all the user preferences that you get on the V Range and we listened to a bit to the parts that are more difficult for maintenance and we’ve listened to parts that were a little bit clunky.

Martin Bugg: Um, so we can improve that as well. And it comes with a lot of other little updates the gutter brooms are updated now and share componentry with the ES351. So that kind of evolution updates or incremental updates, but they’re good they’re going to be better. I know that those things should add up to a whole better package it’s actually it’s a lot quieter as well. Matt: It sounded that way. Martin: I think removing the need to service a diesel engine is positive the Pto is completely covered by our manufacturer warranty we’re the manufacturer of the chassis. So that’s a positive as well. And I think it’s a rather nice machine. Matt: And you, you said, um, shared, was it the brush, some of the brush parts? Martin: Yeah, so the gutter brooms, are shared almost completely with the ES351.

Martin Bugg: So that’s a positive for our dealers and customers. You, you know, if you have both fleets. Matt: So you could use the same, that particular same part. Martin: Yeah, the brush head is actually completely unhanded it, so you can take apart the left one and rebuild it into a right hand one. I’ve been through a few headaches with that stuff. It’s challenging and rewarding. So that stuff’s really good. I think our dealers will really enjoy that. Especially with finding how we find laughing in Europe about how really big America really is. Then the componentry from the V Range. There’s lots of common componentry our water pump water our cooling fan. You know, I’m being in detail, but yeah. Um, I love the control system. So what we call our JBM system, which is our main screen and our Cambus system which controls and all of these things are positives, stock issues for maintenance issues. You know. Matt: How long have you been working on the RS? Martin: For as uh, it’s probably been, once we understood that the flex program on the stage three engines were coming to an end, we got market research done.

Martin Bugg: We then looked into what would be the best fit for the company’s profile and an engineering solution. So we’ve probably worked on it for about two and a half years all in. Including the long engineering lead time to the chassis. Took some time. The engineering design in the fact that you know, parts of it are engineered in the UK and steam freighted over to North America. Then the whole package comes together quite nicely. Matt: As far as maintenance goes on, on the RS, is that easier now? Compared to the RT? Martin: I’ll tell you, yes. I think you still have to do your checks lot. You’d have to check with your hydraulics are Ok and you will have to service the hydraulic oil. But ultimately instead of jumping to and I, which is a whole different unit, you’ve just go check your impellers are okay, the oil.

Martin Bugg:  You’ve got everything you need really. So I would say that you’ve reduced it quite a substantial amount. Matt: Kind of simplifies it having in the single engine. Martin: Yeah instead of having two engines to service you ultimately have one. I believe that the Allison Transmission and the PTO have been installed by the manufacturer. It’s a very positive thing. We have good reliability there. So I think a big positive.

Matt Starnes: Anything you have seen as a difference wise when you’re actually doing your testing as far as the operation to get into that at all? As far as operating the brush and I’m just imagine you would? You mentioned quieter earlier. Martin: For sure. Sure the tone and then the actual overall sound noise level is a lot lower, which is a very nice benefit to have. It sweeps very well.

Martin Bugg: And I think as you get in, will take a little bit of an adjustment. That’s the truth of a twin-engine machine is two independent machines. This machine is a little bit more balanced because we know we’re trying to do two functions with it, so it is more balanced and you have to get slightly get used to. But once you’re used to, I find they’re really nice. It’s a nice machine to have. Yeah, it works because I’ve thought about it. I think it’s, you have to get over that initial hump where you’re like, this is different and then after that, good to go. Matt: All right. And as far as the chassis go we actually launched with a Freightliner. Martin: Yeah. So we’ve got a very good relationship with them. Worked with them a lot on the ES and the V Range and the R Range.

Martin Bugg: We decided to launch a Freightliner M2 class. We’ve taken the ISL nine-liter Cummings, engine 300 horsepower. It will get you places when it’s right on the way home. And we did a fair bit of, now we’re talking to Autocar to have a cab over solution, which is a very big benefit to have, especially on the West Coast. I’ve been looking forward to working with them in the same capacity really. I’m sure a few challenges, but we’re here to sell.

Matt Starnes: So you’re always making adjustments and working out how to make improvements in the line. Martin: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ll probably be back, I’ll probably go back for more testing. So, we’re quite proud of our continuous product development and we need to be, need to be pushing all the time efficiency, performance. Refinements as well. So it’s like the VT652, we just launched that. Actually listened to our customers, but like really engaging with them, updating the machine listen to their feedback and suggestions. Yeah, I know a lot of that comes from our big customers, so it’s good stuff. Couldn’t recommend that more. Matt: Well, thanks for joining me on the podcast this is our first episode, so we’re pretty excited. So yeah, no pressure at all. Just to give you guys the number one on Apple, I’ll be fine. It’s been a pleasure. I love to come to Mooresville and North Carolina is beautiful. So that’s always great. Matt: Looking forward, I’ll see you in in May, actually in Dorking coming over, so…Martin: We’ll get you a pint of warm beer. Matt: (Laughs) Alright, thank you.

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Regenerative air RS655 rear view