Monthly Archives: August 2019

2nd Chance to See the SIMA Show?

SIMA has one of the best shows for snow and ice equipment plus all the other snow fighting tools to keep costs down and make more money.  Just listen to what the Dirt Monkey has to say.

All the latest innovation is at the SIMA show, and you can easily walk around and compare products from different vendors.  With the big OEMs, the small niche companies, and all the other companies in-between at the SIMA show, there is very little missing.

Snow and Ice Management Association Logo

It may be too late to walk around the show in 2019, but it is not too late to see a lot of what was exhibited.  Make sure you subscribe to Snow Plow News, because we cover a lot of what was there at the SIMA show.

If you weren’t at the biggest and best show for snow fighters this year, you have a second chance right here on Snow Plow News.

Fisher Steel Edge Storm Boxx Pusher Plow Review

Fisher Steel Edge Strom Boxx Pusher Plow Review

In the video above, Will Fries at Xtreme Fab, covered the Fisher Steel Edge Storm Boxx Pusher Plow at the 2019 NTEA show.

Fisher Storm Boxx Pusher Plow Front View

It was back in 2013 that Fisher Engineering introduced their Storm Boxx Pusher plow, a big versatile pusher plow with a rubber cutting edge.  This year, they finally unveiled the Storm Boxx with a steel cutting edge at the NTEA Work Truck Show.

Fisher Storm Boxx Pusher Plow Rear View

Tyler Jones, a Fisher Engineering Product Manager, quipped, “”Our customers asked, and we most certainly answered with these new STORM BOXX pusher plows.”  Jones added, “The steel trip-edge and high-quality construction will lead to better plow performance in the most demanding conditions, giving our customers results that will make them proud.”

Fisher Storm Boxx Pusher Plow Trip Edge View

These plows will come in 8- or 10-foot widths and have steel trip-edges to keep the blades down while reducing the chances of damaging objects protruding from the surfaces getting plowed.  As you would hope, these plows work with interchangeable attachment plates allowing you to attach the plows to many backhoes, wheel loaders, and tractors.  Below is what Fisher posted about machines the plows will fit on:

The plows will be able to fit various machines, including:

  • 45+ horsepower skid-steers (10-foot plow may need 60+ horsepower in some cases)
  • 60+ horsepower wheel loaders and backhoes
  • 40+ horsepower tractors (10-foot plow needs 50+ horsepower)

You can get an optional top-mounted rubber back-drag edge which comes in handy when you need to pull snow away from buildings.

Fisher Storm Boxx Pusher Plow Mounting Plate View

If you remove snow from commercial properties, it is hard to imagine getting the job done quickly without a big plow like this to move a lot of snow.  We reckon many Fisher fans are excited the steel cutting edge pusher plow was added to the Fisher Engineering lineup.

Farmers’ Almanac Forecasts a “Polar Coaster” this Winter???

The Farmers’ Almanac has locked in its forecast for the 2019-2020 winter season, and they predict, and I quote, a “Polar Coaster winter ahead.”  What does that mean, anyway?  It means, they expect frigid temperatures and average-to-heavy precipitation this year, but, more importantly, they also expect some big temperature swings this winter.

Weather map from the Farmers’ Almanac 2020 addition

What we love is the very precise language that gets used on their forecast page.  Speaking of the Eastern HALF of the US, they make the prediction,

January 4–7 and 12–15 could, depending on where you live, mean copious amounts of snow, rain, sleet, and ice.

Considering that it is usually snowing somewhere in that HALF of the contiguous United States during the first half of January, and since “copious” is not a specific measurement, I am 75% certain their prediction will come true!  I am also 75% certain there will be a traffic jam somewhere in California this week.

Now, in the almanac’s defense, to get the almanac printed in the fall, they have to get their weather predictions locked in somewhere in the spring, so, I would be a little ambiguous with my weather predictions too.  By the time December 2020 rolls around, their weather forecast will be somewhere around 18 months old.

So, should you buy the Farmers’ Almanac this year?  Eh, there is some fun stuff in any almanac, and I think their predictions are likely better than those of Nostradamus.  You can also mess with people and cherry-pick forecasts that were lucky enough to be accurate and let them know, “My Almanac said so!”

So, what is the weather supposed to be like this year?  Currently, the NOAA is calling for average to above-average temperatures for December – February, depending on where you live (see the chart below).

NOAA weather map for December 2019 through February 2020 showing expected temperatures.
NOAA weather map dated August 15, 2019, for December 2019 through February 2020 showing expected temperature variation.

It also looks like we should expect normal winter precipitation for most of the US except for Alaska, the upper Midwest, and the Great Lake states, which should expect greater than average precipitation.

NOAA weather map for December 2019 through February 2020 showing expected temperatures.
NOAA weather map dated August 15, 2019, for December 2019 through February 2020 showing expected precipitation variation.

But, alas, you know that forecast is going to change, so know you can come to Snow Plow News for a weekly weather update or you can connect with one of our weather partners, such as NeoWeather, to get your very own personalized forecast throughout the winter months.

Heavy Duty Skids for Snow Blowers and Snow Pushers

In the video, Will Fries at Xtreme Fab takes a look at heavy-duty wear skids for snow throwers and box plows.

Wear parts are often a pain in the tail side for snow contractors, especially when the wear part was cheaply made in the first place.  With a snow plow, you at least have options for replacement cutting edges.  You can choose from a few different materials and often have a choice between OEM cutting edges or a replacement parts supplier.

ARMORskid replacement wear skid for snow throwers and box plows

Yet, wear skids (or shoe) on snow throwers remain a pain in the tail side because the OEMs usually use cheap skids from the cheapest supplier, and if you look for an alternate skid, they are usually just as cheap, if not cheaper than the OEMs’ skids.

The folks had the same frustration, and after another broken skid on a snow thrower, the founder decided to cut and weld his own skid and after a few revisions, ARMORskids was born.

American made with American steal, these aren’t fancy wear parts, but just one look at the thickness of steal will tell you these wear skids are going to last.

They are made of heavy-duty steel welded together with an angled rise to float over rough surfaces.  ARMORskids have several different options to fit different hole patterns on a variety of models of both snow throwers and box plows.

If you are frustrated by the skids, you may want to check them out.

An OEM skid is at the top, an ARMORskid is on the bottom
An OEM skid is at the top, an ARMORskid is on the bottom

2019 NTEA Show Coverage

Why is Snow Plow News at Events like the 2019 NTEA Show? So you can see new products like:

  • SnowDogg MDII & VMDII Series Upgrades
  • Buyers New MDS Series Dump Body with slat spreader
  • Boss Snowrator Stand-on Plow & Spreader System
  • Boss Exact Path ATV Drop Spreader
  • Sno-Way UTV Srop Spreader
  • Sno-Way 26V for ½ Tons
  • Bonnell Industries Front Mount Patrol Wing
  • Bonnell Industries Heavy Duty Front Mount Hitch
  • SnowEx Helixx Poly Hopper
  • And Many More!

A lot of great products get highlighted during the NTEA show, so it is a great place to be for snow fighters. Be sure to keep reading our blog so you can see some of the great new products for fighting snow during the next winter!

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.