1-800-SWEEPER Blog

NPE 2017 Marks First Public Viewing of Sweeper Simulator Tool

Dec 1, 2016

NPE 2017 Marks First Public Viewing of Sweeper Simulator Tool

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1-800-Sweeper has developed the industry’s first sweeper operator training simulator to help screen and train operators, before receiving on-the-job training in an actual sweeper. Our organization will publicly showcase the technology – dubbed the SweeperSim – at the National Pavement Expo 2017 in Nashville, Feb. 1-3, 2017.

“Virtual Sweeping” was created to help address one of the highest priority problems in the commercial power sweeping industry – recruiting, training and retaining drivers. 1-800-SWEEPER along with Vendor partners Schwarze Industries and Nitehawk Sweepers will unveil the simulator to the industry and give NPE attendees an opportunity to experience the technology first-hand in the form of a “virtual sweeper rodeo” Feb. 2nd and 3rd in Nashville.

SweeperSim addresses a real-world challenge.

“The number one problem we all have is finding and then training people,” according to 1-800-SWEEPER President, Mike Lucht. “It was not as big a problem when parking lot sweepers cost $15,000 and we were paying people $8 an hour to operate them, as when I first started in the business. But now the machines cost as much $90,000, they are more complex and we’re paying people up to $18 an hour to operate them. So we need to be more selective about the people we’re putting behind the wheel and more sophisticated in the manner we train them. Up to this point, the technology utilized by sweeping contractors has not kept pace with the technology put into the machines.”

SweeperSim helps employers screen and train potential sweeper operators, before they receive on-the-job training in an actual sweeper. Using SweeperSim, a driver experiences what a sweeper operator typically encounters during night-time sweeping of a parking lot. This experience includes navigating around debris and physical obstacles such as a shopping cart and islands.

A driver controls the SweeperSim using a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, as you would in a real sweeper, with a toggle for activating the beacon, gutter broom and head. Three screens provide views out the front and side windows of the sweeper, mimicking the peripheral vision a driver might experience from the cab of a truck. Scoring is achieved by a weighted measure that can be applied individually to a series of common criteria, allowing for each company to customize the SweeperSim training features to their own operation.

In addition, the driver can see an overhead diagram of the complete property highlighting the parking area to be cleaned as well as a perspective on the current position of the sweeper. The overhead diagram is displayed in the corner on the right-hand screen and upon completion the entire path of the sweeper can be printed with scoring details, for later review and further training.
The operator is in control of the rate of speed and can stop the truck to exit the vehicle to represent performing handwork to move an obstacle like a shopping cart or to “hand pick” debris that are too large to be mechanically swept or areas that are not accessible to the machine such as cleaning sidewalks and corners.

The 1-800-SWEEPER organization introduced SweeperSim to nearly 50 Partner companies during the annual Sweeper Summit in November 2016 in Las Vegas. If the enthusiastic interest at that event is any indication, NPE attendees are in for one heck of an experience and a sweeping good time!