Single Blade Moldboards and Trip Edges = NO SNOW LEFT BEHIND

Most traditional single blade manufacturers offer a trip edge feature. As an obstacle is encountered, the plow ’trips’ or lifts slightly to clear the object without damaging the plow. The drawback is that when the plow lifts up, it misses a large amount of snow making re-plowing inevitable. moldboard plows offer the same concept, but on an individualized basis. Rather than the whole plow width tripping, only the individual section encountering an obstacle trips, leaving virtually no snow behind and eliminating the need for follow-up plowing. Not only does this reduce fuel and labor costs, plowing a clean lot the first time also contributes to fewer liability issues and costs resulting from slip and fall claims.

Single Blade Moldboards and Trip Edges

Single Blade Moldboards and Trip Edges

In addition to how it clears obstacles, the independent movement of each ’mini plow’ provides further efficiency and precision by essentially contouring to the road or parking lot. On sloped roads, the outer pieces rest at lower points, while those towards the center rise up as the pavement does. The same is true in parking lots. As the plow approaches a depressed or elevated area, the section will respond to the change in elevation and adjust itself accordingly. This ensures virtually no snow is left behind and essentially eliminates the need for a pick-up mounted plow or salting.


Obviously, the individual tripping action helps prevent damage to the plow and machine if a small obstacle is encountered. But what about larger, rigid objects like curbs? To avoid significant damage, consider a plow with mechanical side panels.

Most containment-style plows are built with side panels, or wings, attached to both ends of the moldboard. The panels keep snow contained, eliminating excess amounts of snow rolling off the sides. But fixed side panels pose major challenges.Moldboards and Trip Edges

Imagine a loader plowing full speed on a city street using a model with fixed side panels. The snow is deep and blowing across both lanes, so the driver can’t see that he’s approaching a concrete median on his left side. When he eventually hits it, something has to give. Either the plow, the machine or the operator is going to absorb the impact. And the last thing any business owner wants is serious injury to an employee — not to mention the worker’s compensation costs that go along with those injuries. In the most extreme cases, an operator has been ejected from the machine’s cab upon such harsh impact. To address this serious problem, you will want to consider a plow with mechanical side panels.

Mechanical side panels respond to impact from major obstructions like curbs, medians and manhole covers. Rather than hit these objects head-on, the side panels lift up and go over, clearing even tall obstacles. The benefit is three-fold, as it reduces damage to the equipment, plow and, most importantly, the operator.

Beyond operator safety, there’s also the concern of equipment damage. The impact must be absorbed and thus the machine may end up damaged, resulting in significant expense. Skid steers, loaders, backhoes — any large piece of equipment —cost several thousands of dollars. It could take months of extra work for a contractor to recoup the cost of replacing an entire machine or even undergoing significant repairs. Mechanical side panels minimize the chance of equipment damage, saving on costly replacement and repairs, not to mention downtime. On that same note, a well-maintained snowplow with mechanical side panels can last several years even with inexperienced operators, positively impacting ROI.Moldboards and Trip Edges

Features designed to enhance safety are certainly a top priority. But other advancements have been made specifically with the operator in mind. Moldboards and Trip Edges


For many plowing professionals, the machine’s cab is their ’office.’ These individuals spend hours every night in the cab, making it imperative to look for features that enhance comfort along with performance.

Newer hitch designs, particularly the slip hitch type originally patented and manufactured by Arctic, take mental stress off the operator, while also enhancing the life of plow components — and reducing the added worry of maintenance and repair tasks. Plows are picked up and dropped down hundreds of times each night. Typical hitch designs force the operator to manually adjust the plow each time it’s dropped, making for a very challenging, time-consuming and often frustrating process, especially for inexperienced operators. Newer “drop-and-go” hitch designs do this automatically; hence the name. The operator can just drop the plow and go. The best hitch designs ensures the plow will lay correctly each and every time, extending plow life and ensuring a clean surface, even in the case of inexperienced operators.

The best hitch designs let the plow and machine move independently of one another. As mentioned previously, rarely is pavement perfectly level. Take a parking lot — because the plow leads the way, it’s going to reach a raised point in the pavement before the machine does. Normally in this situation, the plow will rest itself on the higher ground and lean slightly forward. The action lifts the machine up off its front wheels, creating inefficient drag, while putting weight on only two tires. Over time, this will result in uneven tire wear and more frequent replacement issues. This action also puts the majority of weight and stress on the plow, making premature wear — along with expensive replacement and downtime — inevitable.Moldboards and Trip Edges

With the right hitches, the plow can lift up and adjust to the pavement, while the machine stays balanced on all four tires — keeping even wear on the tires and the plow. Especially when combined with sectional moldboard styles, this movement further lets the plow continuously adjust to changes in the pavement for optimum plowing efficiency and reduces the need for follow-up plowing.

These types of hitch designs prevent premature wear on the plow’s shoes as well. Side panels, whether fixed or mechanical, include smooth, flat pieces called shoes that ride along the surface. Commonly made of steel, the shoes are designed to last through several years of abuse. But their lifespan can be cut drastically short with premature wear, a common occurrence with typical hitch designs that require manual adjustment. “Drop-and-go” styles are designed to lay flat and ensure the shoes do as well, leading to even wear and less replacement, hassle and headaches for the operator.

Working together, these features significantly enhance performance and minimize maintenance expense, but one more factor and wear item, plays a significant role. The plow cutting edge affects, not only performance of the machine, but also the total lifecycle cost of the plow, and should be carefully considered.


Every plow has a cutting edge. Designed to scrape and clean away compacted snow and ice, cutting edges are like the final icing on the cake — they add the all-important finishing touch and further reduce the need for re-plowing and salting. Cutting edges are available in a few different options.

Ideal for cutting through and scraping snow and ice, steel cutting edges prove to be more effective and more durable than rubber options. On the downside, replacement of steel edges can be significantly more expensive, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent. In combination with sectional moldboards, steel cutting edges are very effective and can be replaced in only one section rather than across the entire length of the plow. This significantly reduces maintenance costs while providing all the benefits of the steel edge.

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