What to Look for in a Commercial Vacuum Cleaner - Part 1

A guide to Comercial Vacuum Cleaners - Part 1

In Equipment, Vacuum cleaner

A guide to Comercial Vacuum Cleaners - Part 1


VacuumCleaner ImageApart from the chemicals and solutions we use to perform the chemical cleaning task, it would be impossible to clean without the mechanical aid provided by cleaning equipment. The term mechanical refers to any piece of equipment that aids the cleaning process that is handled by the operative. In order for the operative to properly apply the various solutions and chemicals provided for cleaning, they will need to know the most effective and correct way of applying it to the surface to be cleaned. For instance, when cleaning large expanses of hard flooring, is it more appropriate to apply it with a machine or with the use of more traditional items of equipment? Only by being aware of how each item can be applied in any given situation can the operative decide which to utilise.

Suction or VacuumThe first vacuum cleaner is said to have been manufactured in Chicago in 1865. It was called the Whirlwind. A janitor named Murray Spangler in Canton Ohio created an early design and had developed the idea after constructing a crude prototype from a desk fan and a pillow case. He sold his idea to his cousin, who owned the Hoover Harness and Leather Goods, Co. Vacuum cleaners have certainly come a long way since and are available in a vast range of designs to meet the needs of the most demanding cleaning environments. There are two major types of vacuum cleaners, the upright and the cylinder. The difference is not just in how they look but how they work. Both, of course, rely on suction. They do this by creating a vacuum.

The PrinciplesDiagramThe creation of a vacuum within the machine, which draws dust through an inlet tube into a dust collection bag, is really all there is to it. Sounds easy? OK, it is slightly more complicated so let’s look at what needs to be done.

Today most commercial upright vacuum cleaners have two motors. One drives the brush roll whilst the other sucks air from an inlet creating a significant difference in pressure between the air inside the machine to that outside. Air drawn through the inlet passes through and out of the machine. The air drawn from the area surrounding the inlet contains soil, debris or water lifted from the surface by the force of the vacuum effect that is created.

The different types of machine collect the soil in different ways and fall into two main categories.

These are:

1. Those machines where, as the dirt-filled air makes its way to the exhaust port, it passes through the vacuum-cleaner bag. These bags are made of porous woven material (typically cloth or paper), which acts as an air filter. The tiny holes in the bag are large enough to let air particles pass by, but too small for most dirt particles to fit through. Thus, when the air current streams into the bag, all the air moves on through the material, but the dirt and debris collect in the bag.

2. Those machines where the air stream passes through a wider area, which is positioned over a bucket. When it reaches this larger area, the air stream slows down. This drop in speed effectively loosens the air's grip, so the liquid droplets and heavier dirt particles can fall out of the air stream and into the bucket.

Types of MachineThere are two types of machines - upright and cylinder vacuum cleaners. Uprights are recommended for wide spaces on one level, whereas cylinders are easier if steps and stairs are present.

1. Cylinder-type Machines

Henry Vacuum CleanerMost variations of this type of machine employ the bag principle as explained above. They are suitable for everyday vacuum cleaning and are effective in collecting relatively light soil and debris deposits. This soil and debris is trapped within a paper bag enclosed within a cloth bag and is situated in the main body of the machine between the inlet and the motor. The walls of the dust bag are designed in such a way that will allow air to flow through it, yet trap fine dust particles within it. The exhaust air then passes through a series of filters, which trap finer particles, preventing them from being emitted into the atmosphere. These filters must be cleaned regularly in order to maintain their effectiveness. Henry Hoover

Canister or Tub Machines

Industrial Vacuum CleanerThese can be designed to employ either the bag or bucket principle. Tubs employing the bag principle are suitable for most tasks requiring the removal of relatively light soil deposits. They are very similar to cylinder vacuum cleaners in that a cloth filter is situated between the bag and the motor housing. A finer filter is usually placed between the filter and the motor housing to protect the motor. Alternatively, secondary filters can be fitted at the outlet port. HEPA filtration or Absolute Filtration is available on most Jangro vacuums. This filters down to 0.3 micron at 99.98% efficiency.

Tubs that are designed to incorporate a container are suitable for much the same tasks. The motor in these types of machines is situated in such a way that air flowing through the machines, by-passes it, with the exhaust outlets being positioned between the container and the motor. These machines are especially suited for use in picking up liquids, but can be used for dry soil. Soil collected in bags is far easier to dispose of and machines employing this principle are used extensively throughout the cleaning industry. However, the presence of the bag, especially when containing debris can reduce the suction power achieved by the machine.

Back PackBack-pack Vacuum Cleaners

These are cylinder vacuum cleaners that are ergonomically designed to be mounted comfortably on the back of a cleaning operative and allow the operative to safely remove debris from otherwise inaccessible areas. They are particularly effective for cleaning stairs and removing high level dust and debris on ledges, furniture and fittings.

Wet Pick-Up Vacuum CleanerWet Pick-up Machines

Wet Pick-Up machines work in the same way as tub vacuum cleaners but are specifically designed for dealing with large amounts of water. In addition to the filtering systems available for all vacuum cleaners, these incorporate a cut-off mechanism for the vacuum to avoid water coming into contact with the motor. This safety feature usually involves a “float-valve”. This is a plastic float in the shape of a ball or upturned beaker which is housed in a plastic “cage” beneath the vacuum inlet inside the waste tank. As the water rises, so does the float and when the water reaches a set level, the float will cover the inlet, preventing further water being sucked in.


bs36-comfort-img1Upright vacuum cleaners are used in areas where a deeper clean of the carpet is required. Most incorporate the sack principle and soil is deposited within a dust filter bag, situated within the main body of the head, although some models can adopt the container principle. They contain a brush roll at the head of the machine, essentially a belt-driven roller containing stiff brushes that rotates at high speed and dislodges dirt from the carpet fibres in the process. The motor that creates the vacuum is in the vacuum box on the handle and draws the air containing the dislodged soil particles through the machine into a paper sack. The exhaust air then passes through a series of filters, trapping finer particles preventing dust being emitted from the machine. They are a more expensive alternative to tub-vacs but cost effective in large areas, reducing the time and effort required when using a floor wand.

Much of the information contained in this blog is taken from documents commissioned by the Jangro Group


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