Monthly Archives: August 2019

Snowcaster Sidewalk Shovel Review

The Snowcaster sidewalk shovel allows you to cut a lot of time removing snow from sidewalks.  The Snowcaster basically took the design of a snow plow blade and applied it to a shovel.  About as quickly as you can walk, the Snowcaster shoves snow to the side of the clearing path, and it does a nice job cleaning down to the concrete. 

The Snowcaster was made to be both extremely easy to use and durable.  It is geared toward the contractor market which can easily justify the slightly higher price because of the money saved in reduced labor expense.  Many people report the time it takes to remove from sidewalks is only ½ to 1/3 of the time that it used to take with an ordinary shovel. 

You will likely still use a snow thrower with deep or heavy, wet snows, but you will save enough time with this shovel on the lighter snows that they can pay for themselves in just a single lighter snow event that requires snow removal from sidewalks.

Snowcaster model 80snc

Manufactured in the USA by ECA Enterprises, the Snowcaster shovel will transform the way you approach snow removal. They have models from 7.5” H X 36” W to 10.5” H X 48” W.  ECA Enterprises also has traditional push shovels available.  Of interest to contractors, replacement blades are available, so you don’t have to replace the whole shovel when the blade shows excessive wear.

Sno Power Pull Plow Review

Will Fries, owner of Xtreme Fab, gave us a tour of the Sno Power Pull Plow.  A pull plow is mounted on the back of your truck which is exactly where trucks are designed to take a lot of weight.  These plows were inspired by farm implements many years ago and allow you to gain some additional efficiencies.

Used as a stand-alone plow or in conjunction with a plow on the front-end, they can move a lot of snow.  The Sno Power can clear a path up to 16 feet wide or you can use it to windrow and scoop going forward or backward.   Sno Power claims most trucks need no alterations are needed on most trucks to install this plow.

The Sno Power snow plow has features like a wireless controller, LED lights, and quick attach.  The hitch is actually an universal hitch with 5-point connection system and a 2-pin release for ease of use. IT is meant to attach to 5th wheel rails and the receiver hitch.  The hydraulic controls allow for 180-degree adjustment to the wings.

Rear plows have seen more popularity for people who plow only one or two lots in the Midwest, but Will thinks the 16’ rear plow is a game changer, allowing you to clean a lot of snow fast since it is twice as wide as your average truck plow, and you can use it in a box configuration to move large piles of snow.

Watch the video to see what else Fries has to say.

Berlon Industries Hires New CEO

Berlon Industries of Hustisford, Wisconsin, announced John Slawson is their new CEO this year.

Berlon Industries is a manufacturer of attachments for a variety of common landscaping equipment like skid loaders, wheel loaders, utility tractors, and even trenchers and mini skid steers.  Berlon offers a lot of attachments not available from OEMs and is known for the rugged durability of its product.

Slawson has an extensive background in manufacturing and plans to bring a “lean manufacturing culture” to Berlon.  A key points of lean culture is a consistent focus on creating greater and greater value to the buyer of your products. Slawson says he would like to see Berlon continuously make better and better products for contractors.

Berlon Industries has been in the snow and ice industry for a while with their buckets for removing snow.  Over the last few years they have introduced an ice melter and a product completely unique to the industry called the Snowgrr.  The Snowgrr is a high-speed auger that grabs snow from underneath objects, such as parked tractor trailers at a distribution center, and quickly tosses that snow into a windrow ready to be scooped up into a pile.

Berlon Industries Logo

Hi-Way Xzalt Salt Spreader Review

We interviewed Tom Krick of Hi-Way, maker of road maintenance equipment, so he could tell us what is unique about the Hi-Way Xzalt Precision Applicator.

The Xzalt uses a directional spinner to apply material to the road in different spread patterns.  With the integrated pre-wetting system, it creates less material bounce and better road adhesion of the salt when it is spread.  A simple control system allows operators to adjust the spread pattern, which can be symmetrical or more important, asymmetrical, allowing an operator to spread in the lane they are in plus one or more neighboring lanes.

The intent of the Xzalt was to proide higher application speeds and longer routes with one spreader that will work on lots of trucks in your fleet, so your team needs to know only one spreader, regardless of the truck they are in.  Many of the elements are borrowed off of European advances in salt spreading technology for a better “initial burn,” allowing for a faster attack on the snow and ice already on the road.

Some of the features this spreader provides includes:

  • Single or multi-lane spreading
  • Multiple feedgate positions to accommodate different spreading needs
  • Pre-defined settings that can temporarily widen the spread pattern for situations like a turn lane or an intersection.
  • Height-adjustable enclosed chute on the spinner hopper to fit various trucks
  • Easy ground-level rear fill
  • Integrated storage leg system for quick, one-person installation and removal

You can also add some of the following options to the spreader:

  • Toolbox
  • High-speed integrated liquid system with 70:30 ratio of dry/liquid material
  • Ladder
  • Cab shield
  • Lights

The team at Hi-Way expects your salt usage to go down because of the precision application of salt because you are putting salt where you need it with less spillover to where you don’t want salt.

Xzalt Salt Spreader on a municipal truck driving on a slushy road

Review of the New Hiniker Torsion-Trip Scoop Plow

Bob at Hiniker showed us their new Torsion-Trip Scoop Plow.  It is a scoop plow with 20° fixed-angle outer ends to capture snow so you can push a lot of snow all at once.  Hiniker built the plow to still allow full angling, giving you the opportunity to windrow if you want as well.

Hiniker Scoop Plow mounted on a truck pushing a pile of snow

You can buy the plow with 8’ or 9’ blades.  It has a full width steel cutting edge (also available with a rubber cutting edge).  Since it is a trip-edge blade on a scoop plow, the edge is broken into three independent sections.  Each section can trip independently if you hit an object while plowing.

Hiniker Scoop Plow Trip Section

Hiniker wanted to keep the focus on an easy to manufacture and easy to use plow.  They use their quick-hitch system for the plow and hooking it up should be a breeze.  The controls are simple, and it doesn’t carry a whole lot of bells and whistles.  It is a great plow for someone who wants a basic plow that moves a lot of snow.

SnowDogg Expressway Municipal Snow Plow Review

Will Fries from Xtreme Fabrication reviewed the brand-new SnowDogg “High-Speed” Expressway Municipal Snow Plow for us.  Xtreme Fabrication is both a large snow plow dealer in Maryland, selling plows from several different manufacturers, as well as a snow removal contractor.  They use the plows they sell.

SnowDogg Expressway Municipal Snow Plow mounted on a truck.

Buyers products set Will up with the new High-Speed Expressway plow which he mounted on an Oshkosh Plow Truck.  Will was impressed with the results.

It is a full trip plow with a carbon steel blade, 7 ga. mold board, and ½” reinforcing ribs.

SnowDogg Expressway Municipal Snow Plow Rear View image of the blade assembly.

At 15 miles an hour, he was throwing snow over highway guardrails.  At about 35 mph, he was watching a 20’ rooster tail of snow coming off the side of the plow.  The curvature of the plow allowed for great rolling and throwing action.  The curve of the plow also allowed him to plow without a deflector, and Will did not have any issues with snow getting tossed onto the windshield.

Is the plow durable?  Will shared that his team had a little “incident” where the plow hit railroad tracks at 25 mph.  The plow itself didn’t show any signs of damage.  The only trouble he could find was a little damage to the pins linking the plow to the truck.  The noticeable lack of damage is rather impressive.

SnowDogg Expressway Municipal Snow Plow view of the hydraulics and linkage.

These new highway plows come with powder coat paint or in a 304 Stainless Steel option.  You can also get lighted plow markers for better visibility of where the end of your plow sits.  For those that need the extra attention, you can also get the optional strobe kit to go along with your plow.

You can learn more about the Buyers Products SnowDogg Expressway Municpal Plow here.

Custom Weather Forecasts to Save Money

We talked to Brian Ivey, meteorologist at Neoweather, to find out why people would pay for a custom forecast instead of using a free app.

Why pay for a premium weather service?  The payback can be found in as little as one storm according to Ivey.  The secret is in the precision that allows you to make smart decisions in the allocation of your limited resources.

Brian Ivey standing next to a weather map.

Neoweather creates customer weather forecasts that are tailored to you as an individual company, researching your specific service area, giving you the information you need without covering geography you do not care about.  Especially when there is a mixed weather event where there are different conditions within relatively close range, the precision in a custom weather forecast can’t be beat.

The precision information will help you to better know when and where to send your snow fighters, help you predict salt use for the remainder of the season, and keep you updated with storms that have a large potential to change in scope and severity.

You can check out more about Neoweather at https://www.neoweather.us/

Disclosure: Snow Plow News receives many of our weather forecasts from Neoweather.

Buyers Products MD & VMD Snow Plows

We talked to Scott Moorman, Director of Engineering at Buyers Products to review their new Gen 2 MD & MDV snow plows.

The SnowDogg MD and VMD series plows are for ½ ton to ¾ ton trucks and are meant for light to medium duty use, which means this plow is targeted at home owners and businesses with smaller parking lots.  In reality, Buyers Products also knows that some folks are using their ½ ton or ¾ ton truck for commercial use, attacking larger parking lots and residential routes with fifty or more driveways.

Knowing the full range of use the MD series of plows sees, Buyers Products wanted to keep the durability and affordability of their medium duty snow plows, but now incorporate some of the benefits they engineered into their Gen 2 series of full-size plows.  Two years after the first release of Gen 2 products, Buyers Products is introducing the Gen 2 advancements into their medium duty plows.

Many of the Gen 2 features are meant to increase durability in cost effective ways, but the Gen 2 version of the MD and VMD snow plows also has an easier to use mount system plus some added aesthetic features to make you proud to see a SnowDogg MD plow on the front of your truck. Buyers Products has worked hard to earn a reputation for durable snow plows at economy prices, and they think the Gen 2 is another step in the right direction with more durability for their popular MD and VMD snow plows while maintaining value prices.

Bonnell Front Mount Patrol Wing Review

We met with Joe Bonnell at Bonnell Industries to discuss their new front mount patrol wing snow plow.

Bonnell Industries tends to build everything “heavy duty,” to withstand the heavy use a municipal snow plow needs to take, and their front mount patrol wing is no exception.  It has a trip edge cutting blade to minimize the impact when the plow hits objects hidden under the snow and a rear hill lift cylinder which keeps the wing plow on the ground.

Side wings can greatly improve the productivity of a single rig when tackling roadways, but the danger of a side impact plow is the uneven distribution of force to the frame when the plow takes a hit since a trip edge reduces but certainly cannot eliminate all the effects from hitting objects on the roadway.  The centrally mounted plow on the front end sees less of this problem because there is distribution of impact force more evenly throughout the frame.

To help alleviate the issue of impact force on a single side of the frame, Bonnell designed a new heavy-duty front side plate hitch.  The design allows the plow hitch to be mounted closer to the axel where the frame is sturdier than on the end.  The side mount plow hitch is also designed to take more of the impact, so less force is delivered to the frame rail in the first place.

Joe Bonnell says Bonnell Industries sees a lot of repeat business because of the durability of their products.  “We take great pride in our quality and durability, so we do tend to build a higher quality product maybe a little heavier built than some of our competition, but we are building products to last for the long haul.”

SaltDogg MDS Dump Body Salt/Spreader by Buyers

Buyers introduced a new combination dump-body/salt-spreader combination under its SaltDogg Brand. It is fabricated using 304 Stainless Steel and is available in a 9 ft or an 11 foot body.

This unit is a mid-sized dump body with a capacity of 3-4 yards, and it is intended for class 4 to class 7 trucks. There are both electric and hydraulic drive options for the units.

The benefit of using a combination dumb-body and salt spreader unit is you now have a year round body. You can use it as a regular body for most of the year and then in winter, you remove a plate, hookup the controls, attach the spinner, and you are ready for spreading salt.

Buyers continues to add new products at value prices which has allowed them significant growth in the Snow and Ice industry since they entered a little over a decade ago. This new dump body is another example of Buyers innovating to provide a wide selection of equipment to meet the industry’s needs.

SaltDogg MDS Salt Spreader with optional liquid applicator mounted on a truck.