How to Selecting Right Snowplow Blades for Your Equipment
LESS TIME. LESS LABOR. LESS OVERHEAD COSTS. THESE DAYS, IT SEEMS EVERY COMPANY IS STRETCHED TO DO MORE WITH LESS. WHILE ’LESS’ SEEMS TO BE THE OPERATIVE WORD, IT’S THE ’MORE’ THAT REALLY COUNTS. MORE EFFICIENCY. MORE PRODUCTIVITY. AND THE BIG ’MORE’ — MORE PROFIT.
To get “more”, companies are attempting to become increasingly streamlined and resourceful. The snow and ice management business is no stranger to the efficiency crunch, as it is one industry that’s had to be more efficient each and every year in order to keep up with everything from government liability regulations to skyrocketing salt prices. It is absolutely essential that plowing be thorough, efficient and risk free. Whether you’re a construction or landscape contractor just entering the business or a seasoned plowing veteran who’s been in the game for 10 years, there have never been more reasons to reexamine efficiencies in your operation.
Perhaps the most critical decision to starting up or improving a current snow and ice management operation is having the proper snowplow. The right plow will move more snow, increase operator ease and safety and reduce repair expenses, not to mention costly downtime. In addition, the right plow positively impacts the life of the machine powering it, whether it’s a small skid steer or larger loader.
THE TRADITIONAL BUYING DECISION – ALL ABOUT SIZE
Traditionally, many contractors, whether first time buyers or experienced in snow removal, chose their plow based on size. Some thought the biggest, most expensive plow was the answer. Others approached the decision looking for the smallest, cheapest plow they could possibly use.
Snowplows have always come in a variety of styles and sizes. Equipment mounted plows, commonly referred to as containment plows or box plows, typically range in size from 6 ft. (1.8 m) for smaller machines such as skid steers, up to 30 ft. (9 m) for larger equipment like wheel loaders.
Plow size primarily affects how much snow is removed and with what precision. Longer, one-piece containment plows will move larger quantities of snow the first time, but also will leave behind a significant amount as they ride on the highest ground.
No pavement, whether a road or parking lot, is completely flat and level. Roads tend to be higher in the center and gradually slope downwards on each side, while parking lots have both raised and depressed areas scattered throughout. A longer plow will always rest at the highest point on a surface and float over lower areas — leaving behind inches of snow and resulting in the need for follow-up plowing, usually from a pick-up operator with a smaller plow. In those instances, businesses have to make the choice whether to add their own pick-up operator to the staff — increasing labor, equipment and fuel costs — or sub-contract that work. Either way, it’s going to cost more. There also is a high likelihood that salting will be needed, another time-consuming process and added expense.
A shorter plow on the other hand is more concentrated and precise. Operators are able to better target an area and clear more snow with less follow-up. They also are ideally suited for common, smaller pieces of equipment in a fleet like skid steers and compact loaders. Their downside is that more total passes are required to remove the same amount of snow. Outsourcing or adding a pick-up plow to handle follow-ups may be required, as shorter plows will still miss small areas like dips in roads or parking lots. In addition, some degree of salting will be required.
It appears to be up to an individual decision on what’s more important: sheer volume of snow cleared or precision. But there’s an option for those not willing to compromise.
THE NEW BUYING MODEL – SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGY CHANGES EVERYTHING
To offer the benefit of moving more snow, yet with greater precision and less follow-up, some plow manufacturers have tweaked moldboard designs and offer sectional configurations, with Arctic the clear leader in this area for the last ten years.
moldboard designs consist of several pieces that, together, form one large surface area, allowing large amounts of snow to be removed in a single pass. What’s unique about these styles is the way the sections operate also to provide precise, efficient removal.
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