Wayne Sweepers: The Sweeper Source

***Republished from the November 2009 Issue of Allied Paving Equipment Magazine***

Centurion Street Sweeper

2010 Wayne Centurion Street Sweeper

by  Janie Franz

Two years ago, Wayne Engineering, a leader in the manufacture of refuse vehicles and automated waste collection equipment, decided to expand into building street sweepers. It was a bold decision but one that grew out of five decades of proven manufacturing know how. This expansion came under the leadership of Kevin Watje, the new President/CEO of Wayne Industrial Holdings, the parent company of Wayne Engineering.

“Kevin Watje established the goal of becoming a leader in a broad range of truck-mounted, municipal equipment,” says Mark Watje, Marketing Manager for Wayne Sweepers, and Kevin’s son. “He believed that the next natural step for Wayne Industrial Holdings was to create a line of street sweepers. Both street sweepers and refuse trucks rely upon an extensive knowledge of chassis integration, hydraulic operations, and programmable logic controls. Furthermore, both product lines share a common focus:  Keeping our communities clean. Utilizing the expertise that Wayne Engineering already possesses in these areas, Wayne Sweepers was launched in the summer of 2007 with the introduction of the Gladiator mechanical street sweeper.”

Wayne Sweepers is housed along side of Wayne Engineering in their facility in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That site maintains state-of-the-art machining centers, robotic welders, brake presses, and plasma and laser cutters. Sharing equipment and expertise has helped speed this transition into a new manufacturing arena.

Even though Wayne Sweepers is a young company, it has already been able to bring innovations to the table. “One of the most important is hydraulic functions,” Watje explains. “Every operator knows that the key to a good sweeper is a strong hydraulic system.”

Wayne Sweeper has also benefited by relationships with chassis suppliers that Wayne Engineering has established and utilizing Wayne Engineering’s experience in OEM chassis modification. “Because of this, Isuzu engineers have worked with Wayne to cohesively mate the Gladiator and Centurion sweepers with the FVR chassis. That means more power and fewer issues,” Watje adds.

In addition, Wayne Engineering has an extensive dealer network for refuse trucks in the US and Canada, allowing Wayne Sweepers to tap into that resource, too. “Many dealers of refuse trucks are also dealers of street sweepers, and vice versa,” Mark Watje says. “Therefore, we are able to utilize our pre-existing dealer network to service and support the street sweepers we sell. Our dealers are able to effectively service and repair our street sweepers because they have extensive experience with chassis issues and heavy-duty machines. This is an advantage that very few new entrants to the sweeper market possess.”

Last year, Wayne Sweepers acquired Centurion Street Sweepers from Tennant Co and began offering the Centurion sweeper in addition to their Gladiator line. Immediately, Wayne Sweepers began tweaking the sweeper designs. “We added new controls, improved conveyor bearings, improved conveyor roller design, increased the horsepower and torque, and created a new fan motor and bearing design,” Watje says. “The controls provide for increased diagnostics and better user interface while boasting a larger LCD display screen. The improved conveyor bearings and conveyor rolling design provide for longer life and better conveyor belt tracking. Meanwhile, the increased horsepower and torque allow for a much improved dust suppression system without compromising sweeper performance. Finally, the new fan motor and bearing design corrects a known issue with former Centurions and substantially increases the life of this component.”

Since that acquisition, the sweeper industry has responded favorably. “Current and former owners alike have called in expressing their support of the product and appreciation to Wayne Sweepers for taking it on,” Watje say. “Several customers have even offered very helpful suggestions for improving the product design. This overwhelming support has encouraged us to further enhance and promote this great product.” Moreover, Wayne Sweepers is offering an alternative to buying Centurion sweepers outright. “Wayne Sweeper customers have the option to lease and lease-to-own re-certified Centurion units,” Watje explains. “Our lease program provides an affordable solution to meeting the sweeping needs of our customers during these difficult economic times. All lease vehicles are put through a rigorous re-certification process that includes many updates and complete refurbishment of the sweeper. It is a great way to get a ‘like new’ sweeper without the price tag of an ’09 or ’10 unit.”

Furthermore, Wayne Sweepers builds upon their CEO’s commitment to customer service. “My father always ensures that employees: ‘Serve the customer first, even if it means taking a loss! Never let a customer leave without a smile on their face,'” Mark Watje states. “Members of the waste industry know of Kevin because of his phenomenal warranty support. In several instances, he has even replaced entire refuse trucks because ‘it was the right thing to do.’ This kind of respect for the customer drives us to create better products, provide better support, and make sure our customers are successful in their endeavors.”

That kind of integrity, not only in manufacturing quality but in customer service, has earned the company respect and contracts. Recently, Wayne Sweepers was awarded a highly-prized contract for up to 20 Gladiator units over the next three years from the City of Chicago. “The city chose Wayne Sweepers over several competitors because of the Gladiator’s superior sweeping ability and ruggedness,” Mark Watje says. Clearly, Wayne Sweepers has become the sweeper source for municipalities across the nation.


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