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Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff
As with other tasks in maintenance and engineering departments,
specifying snow & ice removal equipment depends on the job. But
grounds managers must specify a range of products and equipment to make
sure crews have the tools to handle any task. Equipment options include:
Pickup trucks. Pickups serve as general utility vehicles for
shovel or deicing crews, and workers can use attachments to turn them
into plows. But plowing is very hard on equipment, and it might
increase the need for maintenance, repairs and maybe even replacement.
Snowplows. Snowplows are an obvious need for any grounds crew,
but it is surprising how many options managers must consider. When
considering a pickup truck, managers can specify straight blades, which
can be more cost effective initially but have limited maneuverability
and control. V-plows might be a better investment over time, but they
generally are more expensive initially than straight plows. V-plows
provide more versatility and can more effectively adapt to changing
When using a straight plow, drivers should angle the blade away from
the building on the first pass. Subsequent passes should be made away
from the building and toward the outer perimeter. The goal is to get
the snow as far away from the buildings as possible.
When using V-plows, drivers need to use a V-position to make an initial
breakthrough. This position also is effective for hard-packed snow,
ice, and deep drifts. The blade should be in the straight position or
angled position for general, wide-path plowing or stacking. The scoop
position is ideal for clean-up and carrying snow with minimum spilling.
Innovative containment plows, also known as box plows, can allow crews
to remove large amounts of snow and ice efficiently. These bulk pushers
are not designed for tight spaces or clean-up work but generally
provide a higher return on investment.
Spreaders. The best advice when specifying a spreader is to
understand the department’s objectives for managing a location and
buying equipment to meet those demands. Tailgate spreaders offer a
smaller, more cost-effective option. These plastic or poly-body
spreaders hook onto the back of a pickup or other piece of equipment,
and workers control them from the cab.
For a larger site, V-box spreaders might be a more effective solution.
V-box spreaders offer more control and salt storage — meaning fewer
refill trips — which helps save time and money during critical storm
hours. Workers must be careful when tying down the V-box spreaders
because they add significant weight to a vehicle, especially when they
Skid-steer loaders. These units are becoming essential for many
departments because they tend to be tougher and more maneuverable than
pickup trucks. They are useful in tight spaces, such as parking lots
with cars, and workers can use them in conjunction with a containment
Utility vehicles. Several manufacturers have come out with
vehicles designed to work in different applications and seasons. These
are effective snow & ice removal equipment options because
manufacturers have rolled out many attachments for plowing and deicing.
Front-end loaders and tractors. Departments typically use this
type of snow & ice removal equipment with large plows or box plows
for bigger jobs. They require coordination with smaller pieces of
equipment, such as a pickup truck, for cleanup in tight areas.