Cleaning large areas necessarily requires the use of large industrial vacuums. That being said, there are smaller versions now that pack just as much punch.
There are three major classifications of vacuum cleaners. Home vacuum cleaners are intended for the general public. For the most part, they are inexpensive, but also are not built to take extended or frequent usage. Commercial vacuum cleaners are usually of similar design as home models, but are built to be used more frequently. The industrial vacuum cleaner is the sturdiest of the three. Its use in a variety of industrial environments requires design features that are different than either home or commercial models.
Industrial vacuum cleaners are usually constructed using heavy gauge steel, stainless steel, or aluminum. They also have by-pass or two stage motors. They are constructed so that the impeller housing is sealed and isolated from the motor housing. A cooling fan draws clean outside air into the motor housing to prevent dirt or debris from getting into the motor. This extends the life of the unit and makes it possible to pick up large quantities of powdery substances. The storage container is larger than on a normal vacuum cleaner also.
Not all industrial vacuum cleaners are large, however. Smaller industrial vacuum cleaners have many different applications. One of the most important considerations in determining the correct size is the space constraints of the working area. Many industrial situations involve cramped spaces which would make larger units impractical. Industrial vacuum cleaners can be made to be so portable that they can be worn as back pack units. One use for back pack portable cleaners is passenger airplane cleaning.
There are many other specialized industrial venues that each has their own requirements. Agricultural cleaners are used for picking up large quantities of grain dust from silos. Grain dust is highly flammable and the vacuum must be either air powered or have explosion proof and spark proof electrics. Automotive cleaners are used to recover over-spray and powder coatings. These units would require high efficiency filtration units. The Beverage industry would need units with very high static lift for picking up spills.
The definition of Industrial vacuum cleaner would have more to do with increased reliability and tougher construction than with size. The ability to pick up a wide variety of materials such as fine powders and liquids are another factor that earns the industrial classification. Smaller sized industrial vacuum cleaners are often designed for specific applications where a larger size would not be practical.
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