Roger Scholz on the cleaning machine he built for playground sand. At the front a bucket conveyor transports the dirty sand upwards. It is sifted and, after the cleaning, falls back onto the ground. The bucket conveyor can be lowered. This way it can scoop up sand from a depth of 40 centimetres.
Cleaning machine for playground sand saves local authorities from replacing sand
Roger Scholz invested five years and a quarter of a million euros. Now Scholz has reached his goal: his sand cleaning machine works as he had envisioned, is TÜV tested and his company already has waiting lists of local authorities who want to have the sand in their playgrounds cleaned.
“It really is a high-tech device,” says a delighted Roger Scholz (42) as he demonstrates the cleaning of an area of sand in the playground in Lämmleinsweg, Karlburg. Between the imprints of the rubber tracks lies loosely heaped up sand free from twigs, foliage and little sand shovel fragments.
With his company RO-FLEX Shade Sails, Sand Cleaning and Play Equipment Installation, Scholz has been active in building playgrounds for a number of years. His teams install play equipment for renowned play equipment manufacturers, sometimes all over Europe. In addition, for around ten years, Scholz has been designing and installing shade sails for nurseries, schools, care homes and swimming pools, such as for the outdoor pool in Karlstadt.
When he was cleaning play sand around five years ago, he found minor shortcomings with the existing systems on the market and began to develop his own machine. He built this on the chassis of a mini-digger with rubber tracks. A 60 cm wide bucket conveyor, which can delve down into the sand to a depth of 40 cm, scoops the sand up. It is sifted through a sieve moving quickly back and forth. The debris is thus filtered and falls into two metal collectors.
Scholz says that, if he has an idea, he thinks about it all the time. “It can sometimes be that I don’t greet acquaintances on the street because I’m so distracted by my thoughts and ideas.” In those five years he kept having new ideas for the sand cleaning machine. It took five different designs before the current device worked as he had imagined. One time the motor was too weak; then it was the hydraulics.
The one tonne heavy machine is constructed in such a way that it can be transported by a minibus and fits through a 90 centimetre wide playground gate. It is powered by a 29 HP diesel engine.
It takes around an hour for one person to clean a five metre long sandbox. Scholz estimates that the playground in Lämmleinsweg, Karlburg, should take around half to three quarters of a working day. The hydraulics are fuelled by environmentally friendly organic oil.
Having achieved TÜV certification, Roger Scholz wants to build further sand cleaning machines for exclusive use in his own company, Ro-Flex.
Scholz reports that a number of local authorities have waited for the completion. The machine is also in use in Karlstadt. Edi Köhler from the town council is full of praise: “Due to the 40 centimetre working depth and position of the sieve, the machine is more suitable than its predecessor.” Mayor Karl-Heinz Keller say cleaning the sand is cheaper than replacing it. Scholz adds that it costs just a third of the price.
This is what the sand cleaning machine sieved out of the playground in Karlsburg within a few meters:
little play shovels, foliage and fine twigs.