Most of the United States has already experienced freezing temperatures and the inconvenience of snow and ice even though winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st. Machine owners and operators have to put more thought into matching the right equipment—such as wheel loaders, skid steer loaders and even backhoe loaders—with the right attachments for all types of snow and ice management tasks. Regardless of the job requirements, attachments can play a large role in improving machine efficiency and versatility.
Attachments can help complete a variety of snow and ice management jobs including snow piling, truck loading, blowing snow, breaking ice, scraping surfaces and spreading salt and sand mixtures to manage slippery surfaces. Snow and ice management equipment includes blowers, pushes, blades, brooms and buckets that help remove large quantities of snow.
Even better—some of these tools do more than just remove snow and ice; they keep machines productive all year. When the climate is mild, winter is a good time for land management because vegetation growth is slow, and projects that were lower priorities in summer can be completed now. For example, power box rakes can dethatch grounds to eliminate unwanted weeds and overgrowth or break ice on gravel roadways; and wheel saws can be used to dig trenches below the frost line where traditional trenchers fail to break frozen ground.
Improved Winter Efficiency
Each region will experience a different winter climate change, but there are a few considerations that can be used across the board. We’ve listed some tips to help machine owners and operators get the most out of their equipment during the winter season.
Anticipate Hazards. Operators should consider obstacles, like curbs and manhole covers, which can damage the equipment, and more importantly the customer’s property. Snow blowers and brooms can quickly clear snow, but they can also throw rocks and other debris hidden under the snow. If you don’t know what’s under the snow or you are working near cars or buildings, it might be best to push the snow or load it out with a bucket.
Get Creative. In drier winter climates, snow pushes can be used to push tall grass, and snow blowers can be used to spread materials like mulch. In snowy areas, buckets and brooms can be used for snow and ice management. Spreaders prove useful in any winter climate because they can disperse salt, fertilizer, lime or other landscaping materials.
Maintain Equipment. Follow recommended maintenance and cleaning requirements to avoid corrosion of exposed mechanical parts. Make sure cutting edges are adjusted properly for even contact across the surface to avoid damage, and remove ice from chains and joints for better angling and rotation.
Assess Your Options. Some attachments perform better in specific situations. For example, using a winged snow push to move large amounts of snow is more efficient in open areas with few obstacles. Snow blades or blades with angle functions are better for maneuvering around blockages.
Understanding tasks and getting familiar with the equipment are the most important factors in improving winter efficiency. Attachments help improve machine versatility and can be used to complete specific tasks on any job site.