The Public Works Dept. in my town has one of these. It looks like it's from 1950 though. I only saw them use it once, and that was in the parking lot at town hall / police building. It was a small lot, and parking was at a premium. That was 10+ years ago though. It seems now they just load it into trucks, and dump it in the parking lots at township parks if they need to get rid of snow. I think hauling it is faster than the small melter they have could melt it. Plus, the parks don't get much use in the winter. It seems like it's more trouble to use than it's worth.
It was neat though, they'd park it curbside, in the lot, load it up, and the water came out a fire hose they connected to it, that they ran right into a storm drain.
I guess if you do alot of hauling off site from your accounts, this could be an alternative. Add up the time to load trucks, the hourly rate for the trucks and drivers, for them to go dump, the hourly charge for the loader and operator, fuel costs, having a place to dump the snow, and it may be worth it. If you could get a good portion of your commercial customers to go for it, it could be profitable I guess. You could do it after plowing is done, to keep crews busy between storms. Parking spots would have to be VERY valuable to the accounts to warrant this though. Having very little melt between snow falls could make them more likely to want this service, since they lose more parking with each storm.
I can only imagine how much a unit like this would cost!
At Newark International and at JFK they melt ALL the snow every time it is plowed. I bid that contract 3 years ago and the thing that held us back was the snow melter requirement was that we needed 6 on site at the beginning of the winter. Could only locate 5 that we could guarantee would be there at the beginning. Lost the contract because of that. BIG contract too.
They can feed one of those constantly with 3 loaders (5 yard capacity each) and never get backed up. Impressive units that melt it as fast as you feed it. Expensive too. Just under $300,000 each to buy.
Chuck; I think it would be a great idea for initiation for SIMA members; make them be in a room when your painting a plow w/ your toxic nuclear NASA paint (w/ no respirators of course). If that stuff makes you glow in the dark, then it's better visibility while plowing during whiteouts.
You can lease anything nowadays, so I have to assume that you could lease one somehow. I know that we had to assign an hourly rate to all the equipment on the Newark project, that they could use as "liquidated damages" if some piece of equipment couldn't be used in any given storm - and our hourly rate for that piece of equipment was $2800 an hour. Liquidated damages were 2X the hourly rate for each hour the unit wasn't available when required. I'd have to look to be certain, but I think the ones we were looking at were in the vicinity of $12,000 a month (each) to rent (6 month lease, 5 year term).
Need a heck of a retainer to justify that dough....
Give these guys a call or e-mail http://www.trecan.com they make snowmelters, I think the smallest is 20 to/hr, but it's quite portable. They also rent the units, I think the minimum is 4 months.
They're built about an hour from me, and my buddy's welding shop has done fab work for them, they're an impressive unit.