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Wessel-Werk EBK: Geared Belt Systems

When you see a quality product with good engineering it's hard not to be excited about it. When we think of the EBK series Power Brush from Wessel-Werk we get all warm and fuzzy inside, envisioning this amazing nozzle brushing the fibers of carpets all over the world. Do we admire an electro-mechanical vacuum nozzle just a bit too much? Perhaps. Does the EBK340 deserve our lavish affection?
Oh yes.

Why so deserving? In one word: GEARED.
Most brands of power brush on the market use the common flat rubber belt. The belt is stretched into place and friction is used to transfer power the brush roller, a round core with embedded bristles that provides agitation - beating, sweeping and brushing responsible for most of the cleaning on a carpeted surface. As you suspect, when a flat belt heats with usage or stretches with age (flat belts are to be replaced every 3-5 months) it loses it's grip and begins to slip. Worn flat belts can reduce the speed of the brush roller by more than 50%, increasing your work time and leaving more soil in your carpets.

Geared belts on the other hand are fiberglass reinforced. They do not stretch, do not slip, do not break - and transfer 100% of the motor power to the brush roller. The high reliability of geared belt drive systems not only means better cleaning, but also more convenience. Remember back - that last time you needed your vacuum and the belt broke. Hard to find, hard to install and a big waste of time. In fact, if you own an EBK this may be the very last time you ever think about its belt. Geared belts are a great idea, no doubt. So cool in fact, you may ask "why don't all vacuums use a geared belt?" The answer is, complicated.

Driving a brush roller fast without the sloppy tolerance of a rubber belt is a complicated procedure. Take this scenario; the in-laws are coming over, last minute as usual. You grab your power nozzle and juice up the central vac then blaze through the living room. Shoving the power brush under the sofa you quickly hear a screech and see a puff of smoke as you pull the nozzle back out only to find the dish towel that Jake your 8 month old sheppard pup pulled off the kitchen counter. Lying next to the towel on the floor is a black rubber band and little black pieces that smudge like ink on your carpet.

Congratulations, you have just successfully tested what our industry calls "Brush Motor Protection". That's right, the flat rubber belt of vacuum cleaners are made to break if something other than dirt is pulled into the vacuums brush roller housing. While your brush motor is saved, you are now without a vacuum until you can get another belt; and the burnt belt pieces only leave more black stains on your carpet as you try to clean them up.

Geared belt systems also incorporate motor protection, but you need not break a belt to test it. Because of the direct connection from motor to brush the EBK needs a bit more protection than a burning rubber belt. Wessel-Werk devised a solid-state circuit to monitor the brush of the EBK thousands of times every minute. When you do pull an object into the brush nozzle that is too large to pass through the system an integrated load checking circuit picks up on the excessive current draw as the motor tries to overcome the resistance and quickly shuts down power to the brush before any damage can be done. This is followed by an alert to the user to let you know what is wrong. The quick fix - just unplug the unit, dislodge the offending object, plug the nozzle back into its power source, tap the reset button and start cleaning. No service call, no burnt belt pieces on your rug, and with such a system you may never know the frustration of trying to franticly clean your carpet with the broom from your kitchen.

The brush monitor circuit of the EBK, just as other components in this nozzle is also a durable device. Using solid state switching controls and manual reset circuit reset the control board has no moving parts and no power reducing components that generate high heat. Save a direct lighting strike, the EBK will run quietly and smoothly for years with little or no maintenance.

The EBK's cleaning efficiency is due in large part to the brush rollers design. The roller is a solid core poly base with steel axels and brass inserts. The brush rolls bristles are made of a blended nylon and arranged in a double row twist centered chevron configuration. The chevron configuration guides Debris Towards Intake Orifice and provides Constant and Even Brush Contact to the Floor, Reducing Wear and Prolonging Life of the Belt, Bearings and Motor.

This special configuration ensures there are always two sets of bristles touching the floor at all times driving the dirt and debris to the center where it is lifted into the funnel shaped intake. The extra large intake orifice assures better airflow and lessens the chance of clogging from large debris. The solid core roller is balanced after the bristles are embedded providing smooth rotation with ultra low vibration. The solid core roller is not susceptible to being knocked out of round or out of balance like other brush rollers, even those that are made of metal. The EBK's geared belt is side mounted to the brush roller and enclosed in it's own path to prevent damage from dirt and debris. The side-mounted belt also ensures a larger uninterrupted opening for the cleaning path of the brush roller.

The geared belt that powers the EBK's brush is driven by a quality purpose built brush motor. The EBK's 1.75 amp brush motor features an all-metal lower plate with double ball bearing construction. The motors top unit is seated into a rubber boot that slides into a locked position in the nozzles base to further reduce vibration and noise. Motor cooling is also unique in the EBK's design with a primary method and backup system.

The primary method of cooling is to use the vacuum connected to the EBK340. Just inside the brush rollers cavity is a small vented opening that is open to the vacuums suction. When the vacuum (or central vacuum) is running a small amount of cool air from the environment is pulled under the nozzles cover, over the brush motor where it removes the heat and is moved into the brush cavity and onto the vacuum. This cooling method is best for the motor because cool, clean air is used to exhaust heated air from the motor.

When the vacuum is not running, but the brush roller is (though this would not be normal operation) the motor has it's own fan to cool the field and armature. Dirty air is prevented from being pulled into the motor through the brush cavity opening by a one-way filter and hot air is exhausted through normal convection under the nozzles hood.

The EBK's housing is composed of three components. The vacuums lower base is made from a single piece of high impact ABS. A master craft work of injection molding, the base features differing finishes from smooth in the airflow passage to ridged texture on the underside. With precision molded channels to seal in the dirt and route wiring, differing gauges of thickness for everything from latching pins to support plates the entire base housing is one continuous component. With no seams and no screws required to keep the base together, the entire system is solid and durable.

After internal components including the motor, electronics and brush roller are installed a sealing hood fits into the nozzle. The sealing hood creates the special air cavity for the brush roller, seals the dirt path and secures the components into the base. On top of the sealing hood fits the finish cover that provides protection to the power brush system and gives the EBK it's sleek good looks. The beautifully textured nozzle cover will not show most scratches and also adds further to noise reduction. The textured flat nozzle hood helps the power brush to keep its short stature, just 3.5" at its tallest point. With the low profile the EBK will have no problem going under wherever you need cleaned.

One last feature unheard of in power brushes that caught our attention in the Wessel-Werk EBK were the balancing plates installed opposite the power brush motor. Knowing that the nozzle had sufficient weight for cleaning, we were curious about the small plates and placed a call to Wessel-Werk. The answer was simple, when you look at it from the mind of a German engineer; the plates serve to balance the nozzle for use and transport. "We take extra steps to precision balance both the motor and brush roller, we thought no different of the complete nozzle assembly." stated the Wessel-Werk representive. Though the plates serve no purpose in respect to actual cleaning ability, "We want to make sure that the owner of our tools is satisfied in every aspect of its use, from beginning to end."

The pursuit of perfection is a demanding task not considered trivial by Wessel-Werk. A trait that was evident not only in the design and manufacture of their products but goes to the very heart of the company's zero defect production goal, or as they say at Wessel-Werk; "We don't check quality, we produce quality."

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