A Snow and Ice Management Guide to De-Icing Materials
Anti-icing and de-icing are key elements in the snow removal industry. When it comes to melting ice, you need to start early and spread often because prevention of the ice from forming is the goal. Using a combination of anti-icing and de-icing methods can save you time and money. But before you can begin to prevent ice, you must understand how de-icing materials work.
There are several de-icing material options. However, most ice melt is generally comprised of 7 basic chemicals. These chemicals being:
- Sodium Chloride (Common Rock Salt)
- Calcium Chloride
- Magnesium Chloride
- Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
- Potassium Acetate
- A range of Calcium blends
- Liquids, mostly organic
When considering de-icing material for your snow and ice removal account, the supplier of material will generally provide additional information and help you find the right product for your needs. The ingredients above and the product characteristics below in this guide are important considerations and recommended areas to research further when selecting the correct product for the job.
Melting Temperatures. The chemicals found in ice-melt affect how the snow and ice will melt in many different ways. Their melting temperatures, the lowest temperature at which they can melt ice, vary greatly. This temperature is also referred to as how “hot” the material is. Calcium Chloride, for example, can melt ice all the way down to -25° F while Sodium Chloride (rock salt) only melts to 5° F. Spreading a material whose melting temperature is not “hot” enough for the current conditions is a waste of both time and money. When purchasing de-icing material take special note of the material and melting temperatures.
Environment. You cannot make a decision on a product purely on how “hot” the de-icer is. You should also consider how damaging it could be to the environment. Some chemicals are much more damaging to the grass and surrounding growth, like rock salt, which could be an issue with certain clients. Magnesium Chloride, on the other hand, is gentler on the grass than salt. You should also be aware that certain products could be damaging to the ground water when runoff occurs.
Availability. Some de-icers are more readily available, depending on where you live. Rock salt is one of the most readily available forms of ice melt. Other de-icers composed of certain chemicals aren’t always available at local stores, so you may have to travel out of town or order them online to purchase the needed material. The quantity you’re looking to buy in and where the de-icers are produced will also affect the availability.
Size. Ice melt can be either coarse or fine or anywhere in between. Different sized particles serve different purposes. A larger particle will be heavier. Meaning, as it melts, it can sink down into deeper snow that hasn’t been plowed away yet, all the way to the pavement. On the other hand, finer particles are smaller and therefore not as heavy, but they cover a greater amount of surface area.
Quality. Quality of ice melt is an important factor in deciding what you should buy. Many larger or municipal sized contractors need a large quantity ice melt. That being the case, they will often buy “bulk” rock salt. Bulk rock salt is less costly because it is only screened once, which results in leftover fine, wet particles in the mixture. These particles are not beneficial in melting ice and often get stuck in the spreader’s moving parts. Higher grade equipment can usually handle this, but for those with lower grade equipment may want to consider purchasing bagged rock salt as it is screened 3 times making it dryer and more even. That way, it is less demanding on the equipment.
Your Spreader System. The spreader system that you’re using will be impacted by the type of de-icing material you use. Pintel chain, auger, or paddle and how large or small they are, all work differently with different materials based on the size and quality of the de-icers. The number of motors and accessories you have, such as a vibrator, will also be important factors to consider when deciding what to buy for your spreader. It is beneficial to have a fully sealed motor, preferably stainless steel, as salt, when wet, can be very damaging to the motor. Being fully enclosed helps prevent damage internally and the stainless steel resists corrosion. Finally, the size of your spreader will help determine what de-icing material to buy. Larger spreaders may allow for a wider range of different materials, while some smaller, lower grade spreaders may be better off with a smaller range of products.
Storage. Before purchasing de-icing material, you need to consider how much room you have to store it. De-icing material is often hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs water. That being the case, it needs to be stored in a dry place away from liquids. The amount of available dry space you have may determine how much you should buy.
Price. The price of de-icing material is dependent on all of the above. “Hotter” chemicals and higher quality will be more expensive. Prices could be higher or lower depending on size, as well. Sometimes a de-icer won’t be available in your town meaning you’ll either have to travel or order it online. Material that varies in the way it affects the environment could also change the price. You’ll also need to consider your storage options. De-icers should be stored in a dry place. Availability of space may limit how much you can purchase. The type of job you’re doing and your spreading equipment will help dictate what you need to buy.
There are many different options available when purchasing ice-melt. It comes in numerous different forms and is made up of various chemicals. Finding de-icing material that is right for you depends upon the type of job you’re doing and your spreading equipment. Look to the supplier of the de-icing material, as they will most likely provide you with additional information and help you find the right product for your needs.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nate/27476159/">nate steiner</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a
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How a Dual-Trip Snowplow Can Protect Your Truck
A trip system on a plow is a vital component when it comes to safe guarding the plow, truck, and operator. Typically, there are two different trip systems used: full-moldboard trip and trip-edge. The two will function differently when encountering obstacles. Generally, most plows are equipped with only one system or none at all, but here at BOSS, we think differently. We sat down with our engineer, Tristan Summers, who designed the DXT, for a personal insight into how the dual-trip plow came about. The DXT snowplow is armed with both a trip-edge and a full-moldboard trip to give you optimal protection against any obstacles you might encounter. Here’s how it works:
- Trip-edge. The trip-edge will help reduce the impact on your plow should you hit an obstacle smaller than 6 inches high, these are commonly man-hole covers or large cracks in the pavement. When the trip-edge hits these hidden obstructions, the edge of the plow trips backwards to “give way” to the object. This takes some of the force off of the entire plow, which means less damage to the plow itself, the front of your truck, and to you, the operator.
- Full-Moldboard Trip. As we all know, cracks in the pavement and man-hole covers aren’t the only obstacle out there. A trip-edge does not provide substantial protection when confronted with large icy snow banks or anything taller than 6 inches. That’s where a full-moldboard trip will be beneficial. Should you hit any object taller than 6 inches, the entire moldboard trips forward to cushion the impact. This greatly reduces the force on plow and truck and helps keep you and your equipment safe.
Here’s what Tristan had to say:
What gave you the idea to build a plow like the DXT?
“Basically, I was looking to reduce the amount of force that is transferred into the vehicle. Something that would protect the plow, truck and driver. It just made sense to take two existing systems and put them together.”
Were there any challenges in designing the dual-trip system?
“Yes, the big issues were keeping the weight and complexity down. By keeping those down, the price stays down which makes it more affordable.”
Mechanically, how do the trip systems work?
“Well, the two different trip systems use two different springs. The full-moldboard trip uses 4 extension springs mounted between the Pushframe and Center Section. These springs allow for the plow to trip forward, then contract to bring the blade back to the vertical position. The trip-edge uses 3 torsion springs per blade half. You can think of torsion springs more like a hinge on a door. When the edge trips, the springs tighten. To bring the edge back to the plowing position, the springs will relax.”
What happens when the trip-edge begins to wear?
“It’s inevitable that snowplow cutting edges will wear down. When they have worn down beyond their useable height, you must replace them. This is also true for trip-edge snowplows. When a trip-edge base angle or cutting edge has worn down you must replace it; however, up to the point of replacement the impacts caused by hitting obstacles while plowing become more and more severe. This is a big downfall of a trip-edge only system. You begin with 6 inches of base angle or cutting edge but by the time you need to replace that edge you are worn down to about 3 inches. This means the amount of force required to cause your trip-edge to trip has increased and that means more force being transferred into the vehicle. Think of using a wrench on a bolt, the further toward the end of the wrench, the easier it is to turn. Choke up on the wrench, right next to the bolt you are trying to turn, and it gets much more difficult.”
In your opinion, why do we make a plow like this?
“We’re always looking out for the safety of the operator and the vehicle. We want to keep them out on the road and protect their equipment, ensuring less downtime and maintenance.”
In short, by having both trip systems on one plow, you maximize the range of protection from potential obstacles. The combination of a full-moldboard trip system and a trip-edge will help keep you and your equipment running for longer.
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What Everybody Ought to Know Before Purchasing a Snow Plow
Whether you are responsible for removing snow from your own personal driveway or if you are
a commercial snow removal contractor responsible for multiple accounts, the purchasing of snow removal equipment is an investment and there are many important considerations before you buy. To help sort out all of the elements involved in purchasing a snow plow and to find the right plow match for you, use this list as a basic guideline.
Buy a quality plow and establish a quality relationship with your local dealer.
The relationship between you and your snow plow dealer is vital throughout the entire time you own your plow, and it all begins with the first purchase. Your dealer is going to be there to help you with the installation and initial setup of your plow, but sure to ask if installation is included in the price or if it is an additional cost. The importance of your dealer does not end after you purchase a snow plow. For the duration of time that you own your plow, your dealer will be able to assist you with maintenance questions, spare parts, and repairs.
What kind of plowing you will be doing and what it means for your budget.
Once you find a dealer to buy from, the next step is to determine what size plow will be best for you and your budget.
-If you want a plow purely for home use, or even to clear a few family members’ or friends’ driveways, a 7’ or 7’6” straight blade will be more than sufficient. These products generally range from about $3 - $4,5000; but of course, the specific price will depend on the size and model of the plow. If you own a UTV or ATV, consider the V and Straight blade options for personal use at home or at camp, as their plowing capabilities are almost equal to the efficiency of those of a plow for smaller sized pick-up trucks. UTV or ATV plows can cost anywhere from $200 to $3,000, and be sure to ask if the attachment system is included with the purchase or if it must be bought separately.
-If you are looking to plow commercially (parking lots, long rural driveways or side roads) or simply intend on having more than just a few accounts, you will need nothing less than an 8’ plow. Generally, commercial snow removal professionals need to clear snow quickly and efficiently. So, if you’re looking to go commercial, you may want to consider a V-plow. The multi-position capabilities of V-plow will make plowing snow easier and faster, keeping you moving from one job to the next. Prices for commercial grade equipment will vary. V-blades can cost somewhere in the $6,000 range new, while straight blades will be slightly less costly.
Straight Vs. V
In short, both plows are tough enough to get the job done. Straight blades are still a big seller as they are a less costly than a V-blade. However, due to the multi-position capabilities of a V-plow, it is able to direct snow much differently than a straight blade. In the “scoop” position, a V-plow can stack snow in a way that a straight blade simply can’t match. Slicing through snow that has frozen overnight is also vastly easier with a V-plow. While in the “V” position, the plow’s sharp arrowhead configuration cuts through hard snow better than the flat edge of a straight blade, making operation easier on the plow, truck and operator.
Plow Materials – Poly Vs. Mild Steel Vs. Stainless Steel
-For commercial snowplow work, all three materials will be adequate; however, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Of the three, poly is the most slick. Snow will not stick to blade and will slide off the side faster and easier. Poly is also extremely resistant to scratches, dents, and corrosion. As a result, more and more snow professionals are switching their fleets to poly. Although, one common misconception to dispel about poly is that it is lighter than steel. This simply isn’t true. In fact, most poly plows are heavier than steel because of the reinforced steel framework that rests behind the poly moldboard.
-Stainless steel is corrosion resistant and has a slight advantage over mild steel in “slickness.” Some also consider it to be the most visually appealing. Consequently, it is more prone to dents and scratches. Any rocks you hit will leave “dings” on the plow. Over time, this may look unsightly and could affect the plows performance.
-There’s no doubt that mild steel is the industry standard. It has been used to manufacture plows for decades. Steel plows are treated with a zinc powder coating to help prevent rust; however, over time rust will occur. Still, mild steel plows can be relied upon to be durable, rigid, and valuable.
Ease of Use
The winter season is a rough one and you’ll need to be able to attach your plow in the worst conditions it can toss out, including, the dark, cold, snow, ice, sleet, salt, and grime. When shopping for a plow, you will want to evaluate the attachment system as they vary from one manufacturer to another. Ease of use is one of the main selling points of an attachment system. Look for one that you can quickly attach your truck to and begin your plowing job. If you are a snow contractor, you will also want to consider the attachment systems ability to switch between multiple trucks in your fleet. This also varies by manufacturer.
Lighting and Control Systems
-Visibility is one of the most important components while clearing snow. During major snow events, or even simply plowing at night, visibility is often reduced due to the combination of darkness and blowing and drifting snow. A reliable, efficient lighting system, like a high-output, dual burning system, is a key element to a good plow product. The mounting system should be taken into serious consideration as well. Many manufacturers use a dual-stud system. While plowing, these are often prone to loosening and moving, a great source of frustration for the operator. Instead, look for a system that uses a two-piece “clamp” design, which will keep the headlights in place.
-The controller is also a vital aspect to a plow system. The controller is the source of the only real interface you’ll have with your snowplow, so it’s important that it is effective and easy to use. Every manufacturer offers the traditional joystick or touchpad controller with keypad to quickly position the plow in any way you want. Some controllers can have up to 8 buttons on them, making it difficult for beginners or people with larger hands to learn and use. Again, ease of use is important for a snowplow, so look for controllers with fewer, large buttons for easier use and learning.
What kind of vehicle are you going to use?
Knowing what kind of vehicle you intend on using is essential to matching up the right plow for you. All vehicles have a specific FGAWR, or Front Gross Axel Weight Rating, which is the available capacity of weight on the front of a vehicle. You cannot exceed this amount when adding a plow to your truck. The bigger the plow, the heavier it is.
For commercial work, since you will probably require a larger plow, you will need at least a ¾ ton pickup truck whose FGAWR can handle the weight of larger plows. For personal plow use, a ½ ton truck, or in some cases even smaller, should be ample for your needs. A good UTV or ATV plow will also clear driveways with just as much satisfaction.
Most plow manufacturers have plow selector tools available on their websites to determine what type of plow your truck can handle.
New Vs. Used
It’s always exciting to buy something new. No one has ever used it, it’s in mint condition, and now it’s yours. However, sometimes buying new isn’t always as practical as buying used, especially if you plan on starting a business from the ground up. Many snowplow dealers offer quality, used plows. This is where having a good relationship with your local dealer is really going to pay off. Your dealer is the one who will have your back when it comes to making sure the plow you are considering has been thoroughly inspected and parts that need to be replaced get replaced. While considering a used snow plow, look for any obvious damage. Paint chips and scratches are normal and can be touched up. You need to look for serious abuse like bent blades or beams, etc. Look for damage to the major components and speak with your dealer.
There are more considerations when it comes to purchasing a plow, but this is a great starting list. Visit plowing on-line forums or Facebook pages of the plow brands to learn more. Contact The BOSS Snowplow at any time to ask questions – www.bossplow.com.
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Corrosion Protection Tips for Your Snowplow
Midway through July with the sun beating down, who wants to think about snow plows? For many snow removal professionals, summer usually means switching from snow plows to lawn mowers. However, just because there isn’t any salt on the road doesn’t mean your snow plow isn’t still at risk for corrosion. Heat, humidity, and condensation can all take a toll on your plow. Along with the demanding winter we just experienced, your plow could either have corrosion damage now, or could be especially prone to it in these upcoming months. Corrosion, if not properly dealt with, can result in some big problems. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent the harm caused by corrosion.
- Wash your plow – During the season, it’s hard to wash your snow plow after every snow event, but at the very least make sure you wash your plow before you put it away for storage. If you plow heavy salted roads and lots, then you may want to wash it more often throughout the winter to keep the corrosive salt from building up.
- Rust Spots – Your snow plow is a work horse and it is going to get dinged up. After multiple years of use you will start to see rust locations (mainly at areas of contact). Before you store your plow for the summer check for rust. If you notice rust in any locations, wash the area, sand off the rust, and repaint. This will give the metal a protective coat while it’s in storage.
- Grease contact points – After each wash, before you store your plow, and before you take your plow out for the season, grease all the moving contact points. For example, the center pin (V-blade), the bolt that holds the quad and pushbeam together (straight blade), exposed chrome on straight blade cylinders, cylinder mount locations, SmartHitch pin locations, and the points where the pushbeam or A-frame connects to the coupler are some of the areas you should focus on when greasing the moving contact points. You can use a penetrating lubricating oil, like WD-40®, a low temperature silicone spray, or a low temperature lithium grease, just to name a few.
- Check electrical connections – Before and after each season, you should go through your electrical connections and make sure they are not corroding. If you see corrosion beginning to build up, there are steps you can take to prevent future connection issues. First, make sure there is no power going to the area you are cleaning. On the truck side, disconnect the battery, or on the plow side, disconnect the plow from the truck. Remove the plug or terminal that needs attention. If the plug or terminal is loose or broken, make sure it is replaced. If the plug or terminal appears to be in working order, then use a small wire brush to clean off the corrosion. Once you have cleaned or replaced your connectors, add dielectric grease to all terminals before plugging them back in. This step is important because dielectric grease prevents dirt, water, and salt from gathering on the connection and causing corrosion problems.
- Storing your plow – Your plow should be stored in a cool, dry place in the summer. A garage, pole barn, or lean-to are all adequate storage locations. In the event you cannot store your plow under a roof or on concrete, make sure when it is stored outside that it is sitting securely on blocks or 2X4’s. In all stored locations your plow should be covered; however, the cover should not be air tight. Tight covers can collect condensation underneath and can result in damage to your snow plow.
- Storing your controller – Your controller is also prone to corrosion and should not be left in your vehicle during the off season. All the humidity and heat during the summer months can damage your controller. Store your controller in the garage or house during the summer.
Corrosion is an issue all year long. These small steps can help prevent some big problems down the road. Winter or summer, make sure your snow plow isn’t being hounded by corrosion.
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How To Reduce Back Injuries While Snow Plowing
When winter arrives, you and your crew are the first to meet it head on. Sometimes that
means hours, if not days behind the wheel. That much time sitting in a truck can leave everyone with sore, aching muscles. Chronic back pain and injuries are common for any profession that requires many hours of prolonged sitting. In the contract snow removal business, drivers can be sitting in their trucks for hours at a time without taking the proper measures to protect their backs. Back injuries can lead to down time, meaning a loss of money for the employer and the employee. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, back pain costs employers 7.4 billion dollars per year in employees ranging from 40 to 65 years old alone.1 It is not difficult to take preventive measures to prolong the onset of chronic back pain or injuries. All you have to do is keep these recommendations in mind when heading out to tackle the next snow event.
- Get out and stretch, if you can. When you’re out clearing lot after lot, time is tight and the weather is often nasty, so it’s not always practical to take a stretch out of your truck. But if the weather, and time, allows for it, take a break to walk around and stretch your muscles. Stretching warms up your muscles and gets the blood circulating which reduces your chance of injury and stiffness. Ergonomic experts suggest getting out and stretching about 5 minutes of every hour. If that isn’t practical, try to set the goal of stretching after you finish each job.
- Be aware of how you move. This isn’t something too many people think about, but it should be. Even the most subtle motion, like buckling your seatbelt, can cause back discomfort or injury. Avoid all unnecessary twisting. Be aware of how you move now so you won’t have to worry about which motions will “throw your back out” later.
- Use lumbar support. If the seat in your truck has a lumbar support feature, use it! Not only is this going to make you more comfortable right away, it’s going to reduce the chance for long term back problems. If lumbar support is not available in your truck, simply roll up a towel and put it behind your lower back.
- Adjust the seat and use the “9 and 3” position. Move the seat forward and angle it correctly. By moving the chair forward you’re not straining to reach the pedals or the steering wheel. Position your chair at approximately 100 to 110 degrees. You don’t want to sit up too straight, but you shouldn’t be slouching either. By placing your hands in the “9 and 3” position on the steering wheel instead of the “10 and 2” position, you can rest your elbows on the arm rests of your chair, taking some of the strain out of your upper back. This will also make your wrists more comfortable.
- Use gel seat cushions. When operating a plow there may be some vibration in the cab. This can cause discomfort to the driver’s back. A gel seat cushion will help to absorb some of that vibration.
- Use heated seats, or a heated seat cover. A heated seat, or heated seat cover, is going to act just like a heating pad that you would use at home for back pain. The heat will help relax muscles, dull pain, and promote proper blood circulation to the affected areas. However, be cautious when using a heated seat and then immediately stepping into the cold. The sudden shock of the cold temperature on warm skin can cause muscles to stiffen, thus making them more prone to injury. So, when leaving the warmth of your truck don’t forget to stretch! Don’t move anything until you stretch and warm up your muscles.
- Slow down! If you are driving too fast across the pavement and hit a bump, it is going to cause your body to move in a jarring way, which could be very damaging. The same goes for hitting a snow-bank while stacking snow. And your back isn’t the only thing taking a toll; your entire body is, not to mention the stress you’re putting on your equipment. To avoid these issues, keep to the recommended plowing speed of no more than 14 mph.
Back pain is a serious problem in many professions nationwide, including the contract snow removal profession. If you get a tingling sensation or begin to feel numbness in your legs, thighs or back, it’s time to get up and move around. Sitting for too long without giving your back a break isn’t healthy and can result in some lifelong medical problems. It’s a fact that the injuries derived from improper sitting habits costs businesses billions of dollars per year. By learning how to sit in a way that is most beneficial to your spine, you can save time, money and your health.
1 “Back Pain Exacerbations and Lost Productive Time Costs in United States Workers.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. 15 Dec. 2006: 3052-60. Web. 11 Jun. 2013.
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6 Ways To Protect Your Snow Plow From Theft
A snow plow is an investment and a key tool in being able to service your snow removal accounts. With that in mind, certain precautionary steps should be taken to reduce the risk of your plow being stolen. While there isn’t a 100% theft guarantee on any particular method, taking these simple security measures, your snow plow will be much more equipped to thwart anyone who might want to steal it.
Register your snow plow. By registering your plow, you create a record of ownership with the company, should your plow be stolen.
Engrave the serial number in a secret location. By doing this you almost guarantee that a potential thief cannot tamper with it. This way, when you report your plow stolen, you can disclose to the police where the secret serial number is and ownership can be confirmed. A good place for it would be on the inside of the hydraulic compartment.
Keep your snow plow on your truck. Don’t take your plow off your truck if you don’t have to. A plow mounted on your truck is one of the safest places for it to be during the plowing season.
Store your snow plow in a secure, well-lit area. Store your plow in a building that you can lock and has sufficient lighting for when you’re there and away. For extra measure, an outside motion light could help discourage potential thieves.
Put pad locks on your coupler. There are two different ways you can secure your plow with a pad lock. During the months that your snowplow is not mounted on your truck, you can disengage the pins in your coupler system and slide pad locks through the holes where the pins would normally go. This will prevent the pins from sliding through and attaching to anyone else’s truck. While mounted, if you want to prevent anyone from removing your plow from your truck, make sure the pins that connect to your truck are engaged and locked in position. Then simply position the padlock in the hole between your plow and the locking latch that goes over the handle controlling the pins. Now, no one can unclip your plow from your truck. This method will also work while your plow is not mounted.
Watch this video for additional instructions:
Chain and Pad Lock. Of course, you can always go with the tried and true method of using a chain and pad lock and securing your plow to a pole.
No one wants to wake up one morning and see that the spot where their plow used to be is now vacant. By taking some of these precautionary measures, you can greatly reduce the chances of your plow being stolen. By registering and engraving the serial number on your plow you can increase the likelihood of getting your snowplow returned, should it be stolen.
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Ten Ways To Increase Your Visibility When Plowing Snow
Visibility is an important factor when it comes to plowing snow. Whether it is a bright, sunny day or many hours into the night, there are steps you can taketo help you do your job efficiently and safely. These straightforward tips will help you gain maximum visibility while you’re on the job.
Windshield Wipers – First and foremost make sure you have a good working set of wiper blades. Unfortunately, when it’s snowing, ice buildup is always a problem. A spray bottle of deicer is a big help against the snow and ice buildup.
Water Repellent Glass Treatment – Using a water repellent glass treatment, like Rain-X®, will substantially decrease the melted snow and water on your windshield. In some cases you won’t even need your wipers.
Snow Plow Deflector –This is a good option for deep snow and windy conditions. The deflector will keep most of the snow in the snow plow’s moldboard.
For instructions on proper installation of a snow deflector check out this video:
Plowing Speed – Regardless of whether you have a snow plow deflector or not, your plowing speed is going to play a big factor on visibility. Depending on the snow depth and wind, you may have to adjust your speed accordingly to reduce the amount of snow that flies over the plow and hood, onto your windshield.
Headlight Adjustments – Let’s face it, snow plows take a lot of abuse and it can cause the headlight to fall out of adjustment. Before and during the season, it is a good idea to make sure your headlights are adjusted and pointed in the right direction to ensure maximum visibility.
Dual Burn – If you plow rural and unlit areas at night, dual burn is a good fit for you. Dual burn allows the low and high beam bulbs on your plow to light up at the same time. Anyone with THE BOSS SNOWPLOW SmartLight 2 system has dual burn. Turn on the high beam lights on in your truck and all four plow bulbs will be on. If your truck does not have Smart Light 2, THE BOSS does have a relay kit that you can add to get the dual burn option.
While driving, lower your snow plow – When moving to a new job site, lower your plow a couple inches. This will give you more vision directly in front of you and more light on the road at night.
Polarized Sunglasses – This is a simple way to reduce glare off the snow. You can pick up a decent pair of sunglasses, generally, for a low price. Look around this fall when they go on sale.
Strobe Light – In addition to increasing your own visibility, let’s talk about increasing the visibility for pedestrians. A strobe on the top of your truck cab is an excellent way for drivers and pedestrians to spot you. Just because you see them, doesn’t always mean they are paying attention to you. A bright, spinning, orange-yellow light will help them notice you are working.
Backup Alarm – In areas that get a lot of snow, the piles get pretty high; higher than the truck and the strobe. In those types of cases, a backup alarm will alert people of your presence. When this universal alarm is sounded, individuals will be looking for the source of the noise, and it will help them stay out of your work area.
Visibility is serious business when it comes to clearing snow. You need to be able to see where you’re going at all times. When the snow starts to stack higher and higher, it’s going to be difficult for you to see and also for others to see you. That’s when you need to take extra measures to make sure everyone in the area knows of your presence. By applying some of these helpful tips it will make you much safer and efficient.
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How To Determine What Snow Plow Cutting Edge Is Best For The Job
When purchasing a snow plow for the first or second time, the first thing that comes to mind when evaluating features likely isn’t the cutting edges. What comes to mind is probably a vision of a nasty blizzard and a long day of work and how much snow that snow plow will move when the big storm hits. However, the cutting edge on your blade and what it’s made out of really can make a difference on the performance of your plow and your snow removal business. Generally, there are two different materials used for snow plow cutting edges: Polyurethane and Steel. These options differ in how they help you get your job done per the requirements set by yourself and your customer.
Let’s take a look at the features and benefits of both cutting edge material options:
URETHANE CUTTING EDGES
Urethane can expand your customer base. Many plowing contracts may specify that steel cutting edges cannot be used. If you limit yourself to only using steel edges you could lose out on potential business. The use of steel edges has the potential to wear down the sealant on driveways and damage landscaping. Because of this, property managers or individuals may require the use of a urethane cutting edge. Adding the urethane edge to your plow lineup can expand your customer base.
Urethane is quiet. Apartment complexes, hospitals and those on your early morning routes will appreciate the urethane cutting edge as it offers a quieter alternative to its steel counterpart. A urethane edge also decreases vibration in the cab as the contact intensity with the ground surface is minimized.
Urethane glides over frozen gravel. If you desire to keep a base layer of snow on a gravel surface, urethane cutting edges will slide over frozen gravel leaving a thin coating of snow on the surface.
Urethane performs best with fresh snow or slush. The nature of the urethane material allows it to mold to the ground surface. Because of this, it creates a squeegee effect and performance is maximized when plowing fresh snow or slushy conditions.
Urethane reduces obstacle impact. Urethane’s material composition is a type of durable, heavy duty, flexible plastic. In the event you hit a hidden obstacle the urethane acts like an extra cushion with the normal blade trip. That means less impact on you and your equipment.
STEEL CUTTING EDGES
Steel is rigid. THE BOSS SNOWPLOW for example, offers an AISI 1080 grade steel or an abrasion resistant steel called Hardox® to make the steel cutting edge harder; and therefore, extending the wear-life of the cutting edge. A longer wear-life means you won’t need to replace the cutting edge as often. By choosing a cutting edge made of a high grade steel, you can save not only time and but also save on your pocketbook.
Steel is visually appealing. Steel looks tough; plain and simple. For pickup trucks and medium duty trucks, the majority of plows are steel and the addition of a steel cutting edge completes the plow package.
Steel performs best with hard-pack snow and ice. The rigidity of steel allows you to scrape away ice and hard-pack snow with nothing left behind. For anyone who often encounters these types of plowing conditions and prefers the plowed surface to be clean and clear, steel is definitely the way to go.
When comparing the wear-life of either of these edge options, the amount of variables involved make this comparison anything but apples to apples. The wear-life will be dependent on the ground surface, snow conditions, hours of use, driver speed, etc. When shopping for a cutting edge, whether it is urethane or steel, make sure to compare the material grade used as this varies from one manufacturer to another.
There is no doubt that both of these materials are tough and ready for the job. Polyurethane cutting edges are less damaging, quieter and may increase your ability to pick up accounts that require the use of this type of cutting edge. Steel cutting edges are more rigid, perform best in hard-pack snow and ice, and just look like a force to be reckoned with. Depending on your situation, you may choose to have both cutting edges available to you. The good news is that, with a little work, they edges can be swapped out to meet your needs.
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5 COMMON MISTAKES WHEN PREPARING YOUR SNOW PLOW FOR STORAGE
The trees are budding and the threat of accumulating snow is now behind us. For many snow plowing professionals this means it’s time to shift from snow removal to lawn care – from snow plow to lawn mower. When checking off the storage of your snow plow from your spring “to do” list you will want to keep these common mistakes in mind and avoid them when preparing your snow plow for storage.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #1: Putting The Snow Plow Away Dirty
Your snow plow has seen the worst of winter weather and no doubt has encountered its fair share of salt and grime during the season. Putting your snow plow into storage without a thorough cleaning is a common mistake made by snow plow owners. To prevent corrosion, always wash your snow plow thoroughly before putting it into storage to remove any excess salt and sand that may have accumulated during the season. If you want to add an extra layer of protection, you may want to consider adding a coating of vehicle wax to the plow.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #2: Parking The Plow In The Yard
While hiding the snow plow behind the shed in the back yard may seem like a good idea, it’s not the best storage option. Another common mistake is storing the plow under an enclosed tarp. Snow plows are generally made out of steel. Storing the plow on the ground or under a tarp can accelerate the rusting process. To limit rust on your snow plow, keeping your snow plow inside a garage or storage building is your best option. If you do need to store the plow outside, it is recommended that you elevate the plow on a platform so the plow is not directly exposed to the ground. If using a tarp, make sure that air can flow thru and does not allow moisture to become trapped.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #3: Not Changing The Hydraulic Fluid
Forgoing the changing of the hydraulic fluid is a very common mistake that plow owners make. Many wait until they take their plow out of storage to change the hydraulic fluid. However, this mistake puts the hydraulic system at risk for rust as moisture in the hydraulic system can build up during the season. It is recommended that the hydraulic system be completely drained and new snow plow hydraulic fluid added before storing the plow. Check your snow plow manual for information on the types of hydraulic fluid recommended as factory fluid may be formulated differently than generic fluid.
For those looking to take an extra preventative measure, you may also want to consider cleaning/replacing the filter on the plow pump assembly. This involves a bit more work but it will ensure that you are getting out any foreign objects that may have lodged in the unit during the winter.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #4: Forgetting To Grease The Plow Components
When storage time comes around it’s also time to break out the grease. Before you detach your snow plow you will want to grease any exposed chrome on the lift cylinder rod and on the angle cylinders to protect them from corrosion. After greasing is complete, power the lift tower forward until the lift cylinder is completely compressed. This will add an additional layer of corrosion protection. In addition to the lift cylinder, it is also important to grease the electrical components. Disconnect all electrical plugs and coat each connection with dielectric grease (lights, valve assembly, pump, pump solenoid and battery). Then install all dust caps and plugs provided. Also, if you own a v-plow you will want to grease the coupler spring pins and the vertical hinge bushings.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #5: Maintaining Spring Tension
It is recommended that trip return springs, during operation, be tightened so that a business card can be slid between the coils in the middle of the spring. However, when storing the plow, it is unnecessary to maintain this amount of tension on the springs. When storing the plow, loosen the trip return springs and if you own a v-blade you will also want to loosen the blade return springs.
Avoiding these common pitfalls when storing your snowplow will extend its life and ensure that it is ready to go when the first flakes start to fly next season.
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See How Easily You Can Adjust The Drop Speed Of Your Snow Plow
Have you ever wondered what the drop speed of your snow plow should be? It's a bit of trick question because the answer depends on what your drop speed preference is. If you are a snow removal contractor you may want the plow to drop quick because "time is money". However, if you are a home owner plowing your own driveway and don't want to wake up the neighbors you may want to lower the drop speed of your plow. No matter what your preference is, the instructions below will help you easily make the adjustment.
How Do I Adjust The Drop Speed Of My RT3 Plow?
Adjusting the Flow Control Valve on the backside of the hydraulic manifold will
increase or decrease the drop speed of your RT3. This procedure covers THE BOSS Standard-Duty Straight Plow, Super-Duty Straight Plow, Trip-Edge Plows & all Power-V Plows.
1. Loosen the jam nut then adjust the set screw.
2. Clockwise will decrease lowering speed, counter-clockwise will increase lowering speed.
3. Re-tighten the jam nut when desired speed is obtained.
CAUTION: If your plow is equipped with SmartHitch, and you turn the set screw too far counter-clockwise you may lose the detach function with SmartHitch. If this happens, turn the set screw clockwise until this function returns, then re-tighten the jam nut.
How Do I Adjust The Drop Speed Of My Sport Duty Straight Blade & UTV Straight Blade Plow?
The lowering speed of a Sport Duty Straight Blade plow is dictated by an orifice located in the
backside of the hydraulic manifold. If you want to slow the drop speed of your plow you will have to purchase and install an orifice with a smaller diameter opening. Sport Duty plows come with a .120” orifice. To slow the drop speed a .100” orifice can be installed (HYD12821). UTV Straight Blade plows come with a .100" orifice. To slow the drop speed you will need to purchase a .090" orfice.
1. Using a 3/16” allen wrench, remove the cap plug located on the backside of the manifold.
2. Insert the same 3/16” allen wrench into the opening and back out the orifice.
3. It may be necessary to use a magnet to remove the orifice from the manifold.
4. Install the HYD12821 orifice and hand tighten.
5. Re-install the cap plug and hand tighten.
For a complete listing of BOSS Technical Service videos click here.
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