High pressure cleaners - those must-have accessories

15th of December 2016
High pressure cleaners - those must-have accessories

How far do accessories affect the end result of a high pressure cleaning system? And what
other factors could help to improve performance? Ann Laffeaty finds out.

There are any number of variables in a high pressure system that can make it more effective for the task in hand. The obvious one is the actual pressure. Turning up the force a notch or two in the right circumstances will lead to quicker, cleaner results. Then there is water temperature, since hotter water will sometimes be required to tackle particularly difficult cleaning tasks.

But one variable that is often overlooked when purchasing a high pressure cleaner is the range of available accessories. These can include specialist lances, hoses, nozzles and swivels and the choice of accessory can have a significant impact on the end result according to Kärcher’s high pressure cleaner product manager Benjamin Weiss.

“Accessories can improve the performance of a high pressure washer and eliminate the need to purchase multiple machines,” he explains.

Kärcher offers a range of hose reels, trigger guns, steam jet nozzles and spray lances. “We also offer power nozzles that increase the impact force by up to 40 per cent, plus vario nozzles that allow the spray angle to be set between 0 and 90 degrees,” said Weiss. “This enables the machine to remove both heavy and light dirt.” Other accessories include food-grade hoses that are resistant to animal fats, and a gutter-cleaning spray lance for cleaning gutters through gratings.

Also available from Kärcher is a pipe-cleaning accessory. “This has backward-facing nozzle openings that automatically pull the nozzle and hose into the pipe,” he said. “This enables deposits inside the pipes to be dislodged and washed out backwards. While you could clean the pipe with a conventional high pressure cleaner, the result would not be as good and it would take longer to achieve. So in this case the use of accessories saves time, energy and costs.”

New to the company’s range is the EasyForce trigger gun for use with cold and hot water high pressure cleaners. This is said to reduce the operational effort required on the part of the user.
“The fact that reduced force is required helps to prevent operator muscle cramps and hand and finger strains,” said Weiss. “Meanwhile, accidental operation is prevented by means of a yellow safety lever which can be released again after briefly operating the trigger.”

Other factors

According to Weiss, other factors that can impact on performance besides accessory choice include temperature, spray angle, spray distance, nozzle pressure, water volume, contact time and cleaning agent.

“Using warm water can reduce cleaning time by between 40 and 60 per cent,” he said. “As for the spray angle, the impact force will be at its maximum at 0 degrees but the working area will be small. However, at 90 degrees the power will be at its minimum but the working area will be large.”

Impact pressure is dependent on spray angle, spray distance, nozzle type, nozzle pressure and water flow rate, he adds. “The greater the impact pressure, the more efficiently the dirt is removed.”

The overall objective of an accessory is to reduce the cost of cleaning according to product management director for high pressure washers at Nilfisk Andrew Caddick. This can be achieved by adding a mechanical action for example, or enabling the machine to be used in hard-to-access areas.

Reduce service costs

“A good accessory may also reduce service costs by protecting equipment such as hose reels from damage,” he said.

Nilfisk’s range of accessories can be divided into three categories: lances; accessories that protect the machine, and accessories for special applications. “Lances of various lengths and curvature can be used to facilitate access to the area to be cleaned,” said Caddick. “And lances with different nozzle types - such as rotary nozzles - can add to the cleaning effect or change the cleaning path.”

Accessories designed to protect the machine include Inlet water filters that prevent dirt and sand from entering the pump and damaging the seals and valves. “This category may also include hose reels to facilitate the storage of the hose and protect it from damage,” he says.

Accessories for special applications include pipe and drain-cleaning equipment; wet sandblasting kits; soft-blasting equipment for graffiti removal and brushes for cleaning vehicles and glasswork.
“At Nilfisk we also offer remote controls; water-suction kits for emptying pools and flooded cellars, and surface cleaners for use on any large horizontal surface,” Caddick said. Also from the company are detergent injection kits for spraying substances such as disinfectants, acids and foaming chemicals.

The use of an accessory will typically increase cleaning efficiency and reduce the time it takes to clean, says Caddick. “It will add power to the cleaning effect or increase the cleaning path and range,” he said. “Or it might simply be that without the use of an accessory it would not be possible to carry out a particular cleaning task. This would typically be the case when attempting to remove rust using sandblasting kits, for example.”

Accessories can also allow the machine to extend its range of uses, he says. “For example a water suction kit will convert a high pressure cleaner into a machine that can suck water from flooded areas or empty pools in an action similar to that of a vacuum cleaner.”

He says reducing working time and cleaning costs are a key focus for Nilfisk. “We have carried out various tests on the effect of accessories,” he said. “We found that for an application such as cleaning the concrete floor of a cow farm for example, the use of a rotary lance reduces cleaning time by 30 per cent compared with a normal spray nozzle. But when using a 500 mm floor cleaner you can reduce cleaning time by around 70 per cent.”

Higher temperatures

Among Nilfisk’s latest accessories is a four-in-one lance. “This can be used for normal high pressure cleaning with a 25 degree jet; low pressure cleaning for flushing or applying detergent; high pressure cleaning with a 60 degree jet for cleaning softer surfaces such as vehicle bodywork, and as a rotary jet for cleaning terraces, forecourts, patios and car parks,” says Caddick.

Besides accessory choice, factors such as water volume, water pressure, temperature and the addition of a detergent can have an impact on performance, according to Caddick. “A detergent may speed up the cleaning process and produce better results, or perhaps provide a disinfectant function,” he said. “Higher temperatures will melt substances such as fat, grease and oil while particularly high pressures are required when the dirt is strongly attached to a surface.”

R+M/Suttner’s high pressure cleaning accessories include sand-blasting kits, telescopic lances, nozzles and hoses for sewer cleaning along with wash brushes and foam devices says head of sales Dirk Niesen.

“We also offer a broad range of rotating nozzles to provide an even clean on large surfaces,” he said. “Whether the cleaning application is in the industrial, municipal technology, weed control, food, sewer cleaning, car wash or tank cleaning sector, the focus is not only on the cleaning task but also on user-handling. For example, spray guns that rotate under pressure and accessories with an easy screw-in coupling will immensely facilitate the daily work routine.”

R+M/Suttner considers itself to be an accessories expert, says Niesen.  “We take the view that it is only possible to achieve maximum performance by using the most suitable accessory parts,” he said.

“A lot of homework needs to be done to ensure that the most effective performance using the minimum amount of resources is achieved.” For example, he says it is possible to make energy savings of up to eight per cent by using a suitable accessory with a standard 7.5 kW device.

New from R+M/Suttner is the Weeddevil for sustainable weed control. “This combines a pressureless application with almost boiling water to control weeds without using chemicals,” he said. The Weeddevil can be used for low and high pressure applications from 0 to 350 bar.

Also new is a series of pipe-cleaning nozzles and hoses. “With the growing shortage of available drinking water there will be an increasing demand for such solutions,” said Niesen. “Our pipe-cleaning nozzles and hoses make it possible to clean pipes of up to 300 mm in diameter using comparatively small quantities of water.”

He says the use of foam, chemicals and mechanical and thermal energy are other ways in which high pressure cleaning can be enhanced without the use of accessories. “Extending the exposure time of the detergent before cleaning a surface also makes it possible to significantly reduce the quantity of cleaning detergent while also boosting efficacy,” he said.

Idrobase offers more than 10,000 high pressure cleaning accessories through its Club dei Riparatori brand according to group co-owner Bruno Gazzignato. These include fan spray, sand-blasting and rotating nozzles plus foam lances.

“Accessories can have a significant impact - not only on cleaning performance but also on the health and wellbeing of those who use them,” said Gazzignato. “One of the chief challenges today is to carry out cleaning in a way that is compatible with sustainability and health and safety constraints. For this reason all our cleaning systems are designed to be ergonomic and to preserve the health of the end user.”

Adjust foam density

New from Idrobase is the Piuma foam lance for car wash applications. This enables the density of the foam to be adjusted to three levels and is said to weigh less than 66 per cent of other foam lances on the market.

According to Gazzignato, there is nothing new to be invented in the high pressure washer industry. “This means that market innovation in the future will come from accessories,” he said. “For example, we might see the development of new accessories for cleaning monuments using micronised water under pressure so as not to damage delicate surfaces.”

Nilfisk’s Andrew Caddick feels that accessory development has actually slowed over recent years. “Many new accessories are simply improvements on old ones and are solving the same tasks as previous generations of accessories,” he said.

“However, development may be stimulated by the emergence of new trends such as the growing use of solar panels and windmills. But even here the solutions will be based on bundling together previously-available accessories such as brushes, longer lances or tubes and water-softening kits.”

On the other hand, Kärcher’s Benjamin Weiss believes the choice of available accessories will widen further in future. “Accessories are the most important part of a high pressure cleaning system and new applications are always arising,” he said. “Rather than having a machine for every application there will increasingly be an accessory for every application.”

And R+M/Suttner is continually working on new accessories to make customers’ high pressure cleaning machines more effective and versatile, says Dirk Niesen. “We believe the ability to provide the right accessory for the right cleaning task will increasingly form the basis of the purchasing decision on the part of the end-user or service provider,” he said.


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