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The snow plow (Article)

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by doh, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. doh

    doh Senior Member
    Messages: 253


    For many of us in Canada and the United States, winter is in full swing. I’m sure for many readers that there is nothing more “pleasant” than traversing snow and ice covered roads during your daily travels. You may think that we have it bad now, but it would be much worse without the fleets of snow plows that are always lying in wait to make the roads safe and passable after the next winter storm. Unless you live in a tropical paradise, chances are that you have seen a milieu of snow plows during your driving career. You know that they clear the road, but have you ever wondered how they get the job done?

    Your Standard Snow Plow

    Most snow plows pull double duty throughout the year. During warmer periods of weather, they are a common sight as your run of the mill dump truck, usually hauling dirt and other materials to and from job sights. However, when winter comes about, these dump trucks take on a whole new persona once a plow is retrofitted to the front of the truck and a spreader to the rear of the dumping bed. When you combine a plow and a spreader with a load of salt, cinders or some other deicing material, you now have a snow plow.

    For those out there who are curious about the different sizes and varieties of snow plows, there are three common models. The smallest snow plows, usually a three quarter ton truck fitted with a dumping bed, are common sights on residential streets throughout Canada and the United States. These are the trucks that make it possible for you to navigate your local streets with ease during the winter. The next type of snow plow is the larger variety eight to nine ton diesel powered truck. These are the plows with the large wheels and large bed that you typically see on main artery roads. The final “big daddy” of snow plows is known as a tandem. A tandem is a truck that usually has six wheels (four tires on the back), a larger dumping bed and can handle a larger plow. You may see these again on main artery roads or on rural roads.

    The Equipment

    Now that you know what comprises a snow plow and the sizes that the trucks themselves come in, it is time to move on to the important specifics of the snow plow: the plow itself and the spreader. The plow that is attached to the front of the truck is vital for removing vast quantities of snow from roadways. Typically, these plows come in two forms: the straight blade and the V-blade.

    A straight blade plow can be angled to the right, left or simply used without an angle. When the straight blade is angled to the right or left, it is used to push snow to the side (roads, for example). If a straight blade is not angled to the right or left, it is used to push snow ahead, usually in a parking lot. A V-blade, on the other hand, has a wide variety of uses. A truck equipped with one of these blades has the ability to push, scoop or even carry snow. A common use for this type of blade is to remove large volumes of snow from a large parking lot that has already been plowed and has large piles of snow off to the side.

    The final component of a snowplow is the spreader (also known as a gritter or sander). The spreader is affixed to the back of the dump truck just below the tailgate and is responsible for dispensing the deicing material located in the dumping bed on the roadway. Depending on where you live, the most common forms of deicing material used on roadways include salt or cinders (rock and sand mixed with salt for traction).

    A spreader is composed of a hopper that stores the deicing material and a spreading device. The deicer enters the hopper from the dumping bed when the truck operator raises the dumping bed. The deicer is filtered by a wire screen located within the hopper to cipher out any large salt or rock chunks that will jam the spreading mechanism. The spreading mechanism is usually a large wheel like structure that spins. The hopper deposits the deicing material on the spreading mechanism and, when it spins, it spreads even quantities of deicer on the roadway.

    Exercise Caution

    Now that you know how a snow plow works, you should exercise caution when driving near an operating snow plow. First, when driving behind a snow plow, keep your distance, as the spreader emits the deicing material at a high rate of speed. As mentioned, the most common deicers include rock and sizeable chunks of salt that can damage your vehicle.