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Types of Industrial Vacuum Cleaner

There are almost as many different types of industrial vacuum cleaner as there are different types of waste to be removed.

Using a vacuum cleaner to keep our house clean is commonplace and if we should perhaps miss a week no one would probably notice. Neglecting to use an industrial vacuum cleaner in a commercial environment however would not only be sloppy but it could be dangerous as well.We are much more aware these days of the hazards to safety presented by things like residue left on the floor which may cause slipping or tripping, as well as hazards to health caused by things like airborne particulate which may cause problems now and in the future.

Many industrial vacuum cleaners are called wet and dry cleaners which means they are capable of collecting both liquid and dry deposits. On the face of it this sounds fairly straightforward but it depends what the liquid is and what the dry is.

Industrial vacuums are often designed to suit a particular market sector or application for example:

Vacuum cleaners for factory use

For example in a factory environment perhaps manufacturing metal parts there may be swarf and metal filings as well as oil and lubricants on the floor. Obviously the aim would be to keep this problem to a minimum but this is not always possible. There are industrial vacuum cleaners to deal with this scenario like the Nilfisk S2B/S3B range of industrial vacuum cleaners which can collect the greasy liquid deposits and the metal by-products of the manufacturing process.

Packaging & distribution

Efficient debris removal is also critical here, where the waste is mainly plastic, paper or fabric offcuts which require clearing away. Carrying out this work efficiently creates a safe working environment and ensures that production is not impeded.


In some industries cleanliness and hygiene is of the highest importance. The food and pharmaceutical industries for example have demanding cleaning requirements which would need a particular type of vacuum cleaner to cope with wet and dry waste.

There are therefore a variety of industrial vacuum cleaners, but which one to choose?

Dust control – vacuum cleaner filter types

With any vacuum cleaner or other piece of cleaning equipment finding the right cleaner depends on the type of residue to be removed and dust control is also a major safety factor.

There are three types of filter commonly used in industrial vacuum cleaners which are designated as (in ascending order of filtration effectiveness) ‘L’, ‘M’ and ‘H’.

  • The basic L class filter would deal with the least harmful types of dust such as that produced by a softwood
  • The M class filter controls denser dust such as concrete or brick dust
  • H class (HEPA) filters deal with hazardous dust which is directly dangerous to health by trapping very fine dust particles. In this environment not only is the efficiency of the suction and filtration important but the system for the removal of the particulate from the cleaner also needs to be correctly carried out to effectively contain the dust.

Selecting your industrial vacuum

Some machines like the Nilfisk VHS120 wet and dry industrial vacuum offer versions which can be fitted with any of the three different standards of filter, so are versatile enough for many applications.

In addition to filters, there are many other things to consider such as the size of the collection tank, the suction power, and safety features such as an alarm to alert the operator when the tank is full. You might also need accessories, e.g. to reach awkward areas.

No cleaning job is straightforward, the residue being removed and the surfaces being cleaned can vary and are often particular to a process. Drawing up a specification for the right industrial vacuum cleaner can be difficult without the right guidance.

B&G Cleaning Systems have over thirty years’ experience in the cleaning equipment industry and have seen the increasing sophistication of industrial vacuum cleaners in recent years, so if you need advice, ask us – we’re happy to help.

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