As part of developing a new version of the Nilfisk Outdoor City Ranger 2250 with a number of technical improvements, the new machine was test-run for an eight-month period. The test took place at Kaj Bech A/S which, among other things, carries out work for the Municipality of Holstebro's parks and highways department.
"When foreign guests visit Nilfisk Outdoor in Lemvig, they often stay at Hotel Schaumburg in Holstebro's town centre. In the past, they used to tease us every so often about being woken in the morning by the sound of a competing suction sweeper. This prompted the idea of asking Kaj Bech A/S whether they were interested in test-driving our new model. Kaj Bech A/S is a company which is sufficiently big and professional to ensure good feedback, and they also spend many hours in the streets of Holstebro," says Thomas Bonnichsen, Sales Development Manager at Nilfisk Outdoor.
Karl Christian Christensen, team manager at Kaj Bech, immediately leaped at the idea, even though the company did not have any Nilfisk Outdoor machines.
"We are very keen to test-drive machines for machine manufacturers. It's something we often do. It helps to keep us up to date with latest developments in the industry, and our employees find it interesting to be part of the development process, and feel more committed as a result. It also helps us to retain talented employees, and is a way of ensuring that we are the first to implement the latest know-how - which boosts competitiveness and supports Kaj Bech A/S's company values."
"Innovation is a key priority for us, but some of our customers also demand it. We have in some instances been required to come up with ten new initiatives in a single contract period. We also have contracts which require savings of 2 per cent annually, which means that we must streamline our operations and be innovative," says Karl Christian Christensen.
The Municipality of Holstebro has particularly high standards for cleaning in the town centre. Consequently, Kaj Bech A/S sweeps the streets seven days a week, 365 days a year.
"This means that the suction sweeper unit runs up to 30 hours a week, which is a lot for this type of vehicle. The drivers have provided feedback, and asked, among other things, to have the monitor for the rear-view camera moved, and for the sensitivity of the drive pedal to be adjusted, just to mention a couple of examples," says Karl Christian Christensen.
Lower fuel consumption and noise level
Follow-up meetings have been held, where personnel from Nilfisk Outdoor and Kaj Bech discussed operating economy and cleanliness levels.
"With the wander hose and high-pressure cleaner, it is easy for the operator to suck wastepaper or leaves up from between bicycles standing in a bike rack or to rinse melted ice cream from a rubbish bin, tasks which get done when the attachments are easy to use," says Karl Christian Christensen.
"The test-driving also revealed that we save 0.2 litres of fuel per hour compared to the previous machine. This might not sound like much, but when we work systematically with all our machines to keep fuel consumption down, it means a lot on the bottom line. In addition, the engines run at approx. 1,800 rpm and therefore produce less noise than previously," he says.
The test period ran from April 2014 and until the end of the year. A procurement process then started which saw the purchase of a new machine for street cleaning in Holstebro.
"We followed the usual procedure which involved looking at several different machines. We had specified a number of criteria, with a price weighting of 60 per cent. The choice fell on the Nilfisk Outdoor City Ranger 2250, primarily because it is very narrow and manoeuvrable, and is thus able to clean awkward corners, and also because it is easy to access the wander hose and high-pressure cleaner.
"We are very thorough when we switch marks. We are quite loyal to our suppliers, and we see them as business partners. Consequently, we play with a very open hand, and put everything on the table," says Karl Christian Christensen.
Exciting to be a test pilot
This openness and professionalism on the part of Kaj Bech A/S has been crucial to the value of the test-drives, but the fact that Kaj Bech used the machines so intensively has also been an important factor.
Kaj Bech's suction sweeper has two regular operators. They each work a seven-day shift, and are then off work for a similar period. The two operators are Rudi Holmstrøm and Bjarne Pedersen, and they both agree that it has been really exciting to be 'test pilots'.
"When you take an interest in what you do, you are also keen to implement improvements. We have used machines from other manufacturers, but we were in no doubt about the choice of this Nilfisk Outdoor City Ranger 2250. There are pros and cons with all of them, but the City Ranger 2250 scored highest. In particular, it is extremely easy to use the wander hose and the high-pressure cleaner, and then the high-pressure cleaner sits on the back and doesn't get dirty. We also really like the front brush kit; the brushes are so low that they easily go under benches and other street furniture," say the two drivers.
"There is a really good view from the cabin. We have had the monitor for the rear-view camera moved slightly so that it doesn't obstruct the view of the brush, but there are also windows at the back to the sides. Bicycles often come hurtling past us in the pedestrian streets, so it's important to keep your eyes open," say Rudi Holmstrøm and Bjarne Pedersen.
"Another deciding factor was the four brushes. The two front brushes can be extended to clean under a bench or up on a ledge, and they can suck the dirt out of an entranceway, for example. You drive forwards and close the brushes together and take the dirt with you when you reverse," say the two drivers.
Improved operating reliability
The new Nilfisk Outdoor City Ranger 2250 series B0 is a technical improvement on the original City Ranger 2250. The improvements include new wheel motors, an up-to-date wiring harness to meet new standards, additional heat sensors for measuring the temperature of several components, LED lights as well as more stainless components. All this increases reliability, extends service life and cuts operating costs. The cabin and the outer body on the other hand are unchanged.
Karl Christian Christensen says that Kaj Bech A/S has not had any downtime relating to the machine since the testing started in April 2014.
"In addition to the suction sweeper unit, we have bought a snow sweeper for the machine. This will be used for snow clearance, for example near shops and entrances after more powerful snow-removing machines have cleared most of the snow away."
"At the same time, we have purchased a further two machines with snow sweeper, a snow plough and salt spreader for winter use at a housing association in Struer, northern Jutland. I don't have summer work for these machines at the moment, but I expect to, so they will also become all-year machines," says Karl Christian Christensen.
The dealer for the Kaj Bech A/S machines is Herning Skov, Have & Park ApS. Here, Daniel Lyhne expects close cooperation with Kaj Bech A/S's workshop.
"They service the machines themselves, but we provide backup, supply spare parts and ensure the machines have the right software updates. We have a service van providing a regular service for customers, and we offer a 24/7 emergency call-out. This is a necessary service for our customers during winter," says Daniel Lyhne, Sales Manager Business, Herning Skov, Have og Park ApS.