It comes every year and it’s always expected, yet it never ceases to catch people off guard, make the daily commute more challenging, and create hazards in otherwise safe places like sidewalks, parking lots, even your own driveway.
For as used to it as we are in many parts of the country, snow is one of those things most people would rather not think about or deal with. But for snow and ice management companies, snow is often a year-round thought, not just when the white stuff is dumping, flying, and blowing around.
Because planning ahead is crucial for preparedness when those flakes start to fly, it’s important for snow and ice management professionals and homeowners alike to think about snow removal now and be ready with the proper equipment, including these top five snow management attachments offered by RDO Equipment Co.
Pushing blades are one of the simplest, yet staple attachments in the snow removal industry. They’re available in several shapes and sizes, and are designed to fit almost any machine. Smaller blades work well on sidewalks and residential driveways, while large blades can be outfitted on a wheel loader for larger parking lots or roads.
While they can be used on their own, straight blades are typically used in conjunction with other snow management tools to move the snow with more precision. For example, blades may windrow or back-drag snow from hard-to-reach areas that then gets pushed into piles by a box pusher or blown away with a snowblower. Blades are great for homeowners, too with options available that attach to the front of a tractor or the back 3-point arms.
Related article: How RDO’s snow solutions and support help Fargo snow removal company succeed
Common brands of blades sold at RDO stores are John Deere and Frontier, with other manufacturers like HLA and Metal Pless also available.
While blades are perhaps the most common, widely-used snow removal attachment, brooms are one of the more specific in terms of applications and users.
Most brooms are capable of clearing snow up to 2 inches, cleanly and down to the pavement, and can be used as soon as snow hits the ground. This makes them an ideal tool for contractors with “zero tolerance” customers like hospitals and retail establishments. These accounts involve maintaining busy, high-pedestrian properties where the highest standards and expectations of preventing slip-and-falls are in play.
A popular attachment for professionals with zero-tolerance customers, brooms aren’t often used by homeowners. It’s common for homeowners to wait until snow has accumulated to clear it, so they need more than the general 2-inch limitation a broom can handle. Also, snow can’t be “thrown” strategically with a broom in the way a snowblower allows, limiting the ability to place in a designated area.
RDO offers brooms from a variety of manufacturers, including John Deere and M-B Company, all compatible with John Deere riding mowers and compact utility tractors up to the 3-Series. One thing to keep in mind when selecting – brooms are designed to clear a typical sidewalk, 52-inches wide. The width of tires running the unit must also fit within that footprint to avoid driving over and compacting unremoved snow, or disrupting lawn and landscapes on either side of the pavement.
While most envision snow removal attachments mounted to the front of a tractor, snowblowers offer multiple options that can be used on either the front or rear of the machine.
Front-mounted blowers, depending on the size and tractor’s capabilities, can be used in most clearing applications. Finding the right front-mounted blower comes down to a combination of factors, typically including key points like the tractor’s horsepower, the snowblower’s width and weight relative to the tractor, and intensity of the work being done. One of RDO’s key manufacturing partners, Pronovost, offers several options and a helpful selection guide on its website.
With Pronovost as partner, RDO has worked to develop new front-mount snow blower offerings for both the John Deere TerrainCut and John Deere 3 Series Compact Utility Tractor Lines. Previously limited to a single OEM offering, RDO customers can now choose an aftermarket industrial Pronovost P-620-52TC 52-inch model for their TerrainCut front-mount machine, and the new P-620-60JD3 60-inch Pronovost Industrial snowblower for their 3033R, 3039R, or 3046R tractor.
When it comes to rear PTO snowblowers, there are two common types available, each operating on a slightly different method for snow removal.
Rear-facing snowblowers are similar to common walk-behind snowblowers. When used on a tractor and combined with a front blade, the operator can push snow, windrow, or back-drag, then also use the rear-facing snowblower to move the same snow pile with the same machine. Keep in mind this functionality can change with a different machine; a skid steer, for example, only permits one function at a time. Rear-facing blowers are typically used for residential driveways, making them a popular tool for both homeowners and professional contractors.
Inverted or “drag” style snowblowers operate in a unique way and feature a clearing style that has been popular in Canada for decades. Featuring an auger that faces the tractor, the operator backs into a driveway, about 12-inches from the garage, then blows snow as the tractor drives away. The process, intended for professional use, is especially effective for contractors with very densely populated accounts or several within a neighborhood, as the operator can travel to and from each property on a tractor vs. needing to transport a unit with a truck or trailer.
In recent years, a new rendition of the inverted blower – called the “hybrid” by several manufacturers, including Pronovost’s hybrid Cyclone inverted blower – has accelerated the growth of the inverted blower market. This new concept, which moved the impeller from the back of the machine to the tractor side of the auger, dramatically increased an inverted blower’s ability leave a clean overall product, and allowed contractors to work even closer to garage drawers – two previous hesitations for potential inverted users.
In addition to Pronovost, Frontier is another example of rear PTO snowblowers offered by RDO.
4. Box Pushers
As the name implies, box pushers are just that – boxes that push snow. Because of their design, they’re sometimes referred to as containment plows or pushers because they contain the snow being moved versus moving it out of the way and leaving piles off to the side.
Watch to see how one Fargo snow removal company relies on Deere machines and Metal Pless pushers:
Especially effective are box pushers with floating cutting edges. Rather than one, long section of cutting edge, these pushers feature a design that’s broken up into smaller, spring-loaded sections that can adjust to changes in terrain. This accommodating design results in better scraping down the pavement for cleaner results, faster, and requiring fewer resources like salt and sand. These pushers are ideal for contractors servicing large commercial properties.
As its name implies, Arctic Sectional Sno-Pusher is one of RDO’s manufacturing partners known for this sectional design. RDO offers additional floating edge pushers from brands Metal Pless and HLA.
5. Hydraulic Wing Pushers
One of the most versatile and popular snow management attachments is the hydraulic wing pusher. It works well for both commercial properties and residential driveways and can operate in three ways.
The unit acts as a straight blade when wings face out, a containment plow when wings face forward, or a back-drag plow when wings face back. An operator can windrow large areas, contain plow into piles, or back-drag from close areas, entryways, parking stalls, or residential driveways. Similar to a blade, versatility is enhanced when used on a tractor and combined with a rear PTO blower. The operator can move snow virtually anywhere and in any way.
RDO offers the full line of hydraulic-wing pushers from Metal Pless, including a new hydraulic wing concept called the InverseMaxx. With this style, operators can adjust adjusted a telescoping moldboard from a narrow setting to an expanded width using the equipment’s hydraulics. Furthermore, the wings on the InverseMaxx rotate 180 degrees in either the full forward (box contain forward) or full backwards setting (full box backdrag) using simple hydraulic controls.
Although it may seem strange to start thinking about snow in the summer, it’s never too early to be ready for the first day of winter. Taking the time to outfit your equipment with the right attachments is the first step in being prepared and preventing accidents when the flakes begin to fly.
About The Author
Nick Arndt is an Account Manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Moorhead, MN. Connect with him on Instagram @rdonicka.
To learn more about snow attachment offerings or how to choose the right snow attachments, visit your local RDO Equipment Co. store.