A winning battle against snow and ice

Once invincible, the reign of snow and ice over the American populous has been reduced to an after thought due to a technological revolution in snow and ice removal equipment

edited by Tim Gregorski / December 28, 2000

In the yearly battle waged against snow and ice, manufacturers of snow removal equipment pile up their defense against one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful weapons. Unfortunately, the beauty of a snowfall can quickly rear its ugly head.

The blankets of snow that are laid upon us can cause major headaches for the crews responsible for maintaining the country’s roadways. Therefore, a full barrage of snow and ice removal equipment is advancing beyond the conventional snow plow.

New equipment and devices have been engineered and developed in order to defend against snow and ice, while providing safety and mobility on the nation’s roads during the winter months.

After the onslaught of storms that the nation endured last year, especially in the northeast, it goes to show that the persons responsible for the removal of snow in their community need to be prepared for anything that may blow their way.

ROADS & BRIDGES provides the following roundup of some various snow removal equipment ranging from snow plows to salt/sand spreaders to ice control systems.

Plows—Fisher Engineering

As a trail-breaking v-blade, the EZ-V plow from Fisher Engineering, Rockland, Maine, is useful for punching through drifts and snowbanks in order to get started after a snow fall. In the scoop position, this plow cradles and controls the snow in crowded locations, like tight parking lots where it can’t be cast to the side. When a straight or angled blade is needed for windrowing, the 8 1/2 ft plow adjusts quickly and easily. The easy-to-use hand-held control, called the Fish-Stick, allows for the operation of all functions—raise, lower, moving the wings in or out either simultaneously or separately. Additionally, the Insta-Act hydraulic system offers a power source that allows the operator to hydraulically lock the blade wings to act as one.

The plow incorporates a triple-edge design to keep the plowed snow out in front of the blade and make stacking easier. Backdragging is simplified due to double-acting cylinders that are used to hold the wings firmly in place.

Henderson Manufacturing

The Snowfoe line of plows, from Henderson Manufacturing, Manchester, Iowa, includes reversible, one-way, patrol wing and mid-mount wing plows designed for medium to heavy-duty trucks.

Marty Ward, director of sales and marketing for Henderson Manufacturing, said that the new line of plows, which were designed from the ground up, incorporate many new and exclusive features. According to Ward, an exhaustive study was conducted to determine the shortcomings of other plows and the needs of customers before the design was developed.

Plows Unlimited

The Sno-Way Predator Plus with the exclusive down pressure system, from Plows Unlimited, Truckee, Cailf., offers weights and specifications to match plowing applications for minimal front axle overload. The plow allows the user to engage the DPSystem via a switch for power down-plowing, backdragging and scraping under difficult ice and snow conditions. The plow offers a choice of lexan or steel moldboards with extra hard-cutting edges and high-strength steel alloy components.

Root Spring Scraper Co.

The original F-89 underbody scraper designed by Root Spring Scraper Co., Kalamazoo, Mich., is a multi-purpose unit that is equally adept at maintaining gravel roads in the summer or plowing snow in the winter. The plow combines the efficiency of direct down pressure to the road surface with the convenience of improved visibility. The F-89 comes standard with a 1-ft high carbon heat treated moldboard, 14-in. wide hangerboard with 20 1/2 circle clamps, a 2 1/2-in. hinge shaft, thrust blocks at the end attach points and a full moldboard shock absorbing system with heavy-duty shock springs.

Western Products

Poly Plows, from Western Products, Milwaukee, are designed to meet the needs of plowers who want improved snow rolling action. The slippery blade surface created by the use of thermal formed, high-density polyethylene allows users to plow faster while saving fuel and the use of non-corrosive poly and powder coated steel structural combine to create a rust resistant blade.

Sand/salt spreaders—

Fisher Engineering

The Speed Caster 2 from Fisher Engineering, Rockland, Maine, is capable of spreading all types of material including wet sand. The spreaders two-stage design features a belt conveyor to assure positive feed with all types of materials. The 1,200-lb capacity hopper assembly can be easily removed from the vehicle without the use of tools.

H.T.C. Manufacturing Inc.

A sander attachment from H.T.C. Manufacturing Inc., Milford, Iowa, can convert a hydraulic truck conveyor for use year-round. The hydraulic driven unit operates off of return from the conveyor and both the conveyor and sander unit work on one control.

Detachable doors allow the user to sand one or two lanes of highway and the conveyor will hold enough material so the dump box need not be in the raised position. The lightweight unit can be attached to a truck by one person.

Tyler Ice

The Zero Velocity unit, which attaches to an existing salt spreader, from Tyler Ice, a division of Case Tyler Industries, Benson, Minn., reduces the use of road salt by as much as 50% According to the company, the Zero Velocity concept is rather simple. For example, if a truck is spreading salt while traveling at 30 mph, the salt Zero Velocity spreader will project the salt at 30 mph rearward. The resulting velocity of the salt is zero relative to the roadway. This allows the truck operator to place the salt exactly where it is needed, in a narrow path on the crown of the roadway. This process eliminates bounce and scatter with all the salt remaining on the roadway instead of being bounced and scattered. The operator now has control as to where the material is placed to get the most effective use and benefit of the salt.

The New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Virginia and Connecticut DOT’s implement the Zero Velocity spreader attachments.

Western Products

Western Products, Milwaukee, offers a self-contained material spreader for ice control on driveways, roads and parking lots. It mounts easily on a pick-up, dump or platform truck and it can be easily dismounted and stored when not in use. Available in 12-gal or 16-stainless material, its capacities range from 1.8 to 3.3 cu yd and an electric throttle and clutch are standard.

Ice control system—

Dickey-John Corp.

The ICS2000 ice control system from Dickey-John Corp., Auburn, Ill., maintains a uniform application rate of granular material as ground speed changes, hydraulic flow changes or hydraulic motors begin to wear. Four granular materials, with separate application rates for each, can be entered into the console’s memory. The console has a three-position spreader switch for off, automatic and unload operation of the spreader, a blast switch for spot spreading and an eleven positions pinner control knob. Also it includes three backlighted touch switches for selection of display readouts and to change application rates.

The control is able to drive an actuator which retrofits to Fluid Control 2FFL12 or equivalent valve and pulse width modulated valves. It can be used on vehicles with mechanical or electrical speedometers. In addition, a spreader calibration procedure allows for calibration of the spreader without the use of ground speed simulators or stop watches.


TrynEx International

Mounted atop the plow, the Poly Snow Deflector, manufactured by TrynEx International, Royal Oak, Mich., is constructed of tough polyethylene with reinforcement ribs and is rigid enough to perform the duties for which it was designed, yet flexible to avoid damage. Standard in 8-ft lengths, the deflector can easily be reduced to 7-ft, 6-in. Available with six units per package, the mounting kits include self-tapping bolts and can be customized with a company logo or organizational name, molded into the center of the deflector.

Plow blades—

C.U.E. Inc.

C.U.E. Inc., Cranberry Township, Pa., manufactures urethane snow plow blades which protect personnel, equipment and roads from the bite of steel blades. When the plow strikes a buried road hazard such as a manhole cover, the working edge flexes absorbing most of the impact while riding over the hazard. The blade then returns to it original shape even at sub-freezing temperatures. The reversible blades can be ordered with molded-in mounting slots to adjust for wear.

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