A new hydraulic sweeper for the Rideau Canal is opening new doors for local manufacturer METEC Metal Technology Inc.

The Vankleek Hill company – known for its custom metal fabrication – recently delivered a new dual-motor Rideau Canal Sweeper to a contractor responsible for maintaining the waterway’s skating surface. While it won’t see action this winter, the massive unit – which has a 25-foot working width – is expected to open new doors for METEC.

“This is opening up a new door for larger wheel loaders, because it has its own hydraulic system,” says METEC’s Vice President of Operations Marc Walz, whose company has been building smaller sweepers for more than a decade. “Maybe we can sell another 10 sweepers a year to a different market.”

In addition to its size, METEC’s Rideau Canal Sweeper’s hydraulic system is designed to be more reliable than conventional mechanically-driven units currently in use on the world’s longest skating rink. The sweeper and dual plow wings are all driven by hydraulic power, resulting in a much simpler and more reliable design.

“This one is purely hydraulic driven, so there are less things to break,” Walz explains, noting the entire unit was built specifically for the Kubota tractor on which it is mounted. “Just the way the wings lift is with two hydraulic cylinders, instead of cables running up and down everywhere.”

The building of the sweeper had to meet a number of critical design specifications, including being able to fold to a width that allows it to be driven on public roads. The entire unit is also designed to be easy to service by technicians.

“All of our stuff works together, you can get it in one place and the service is behind it,” Walz assures. “We will do whatever we can to help a customer.”

METEC will be looking to market similar large sweepers to other customers. The company has in recent years diversified its customer base, selling completed sidewalk sweepers and other equipment to municipalities, end users and tractor companies.

METEC also builds salter spreaders, plows, watering arms, snowblowers, pressure washers and other specialty attachments. METEC-built equipment is used by numerous municipalities, including Ottawa, Toronto, Hawkesbury, Champlain, North Glengarry and East Hawkesbury.

The company has posted a video of its new Rideau Canal Sweeper in action on METEC’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu9DsUVLhUk .

METEC Lead Assembler Sylvain Roy (left) and company Vice President of Operations Marc Walz with one of the company’s sidewalk sweeper attachments. Roy was a key person involved in building METEC’s new Rideau Canal Sweeper. Photo: Reid Masson