Marketplace Intro – August 2009

Glancing over the snowplow market, some words continuously pop up. V-plows and scoop plows are complementing straight blades. Trip-edges add efficiency to a full trip. Slick, polyethylene moldboards present tempting modern alternatives to traditional steel. Wing extensions offer time-saving productivity, and “hydraulic” is the magic word in snowplows.
But which trends are necessity and which are just plain luxury?

Patrick Dietz, senior product manager for Western Products, explains the manufacturers’ goal is to improve the efficiency with every new model.

“The V-plow, for example, provides more versatility and efficiency over a traditional straight blade,” he says. “Then, a few years ago, it was the explosion of the hydraulically expandable wing plow.”

John Berlowski, sales manager of the road products division of Hiniker, says he predicts trends toward snowplows with increased versatility.
“The squeeze of economic forces to keep costs in line is greater than ever,” Berlowski says. “A new category of plow is the scoop blade. It is a hybrid of a straight and a V-blade plow.”

So is every bell and whistle a must-purchase? Dietz cautions that some are purely personal preference decisions. Trends indicate that snow deflectors are an increasingly popular option. This particular accessory is designed to prevent rolling snow from overflowing to the back of the snowplow. But average snowfall will determine the necessity.

Back drag edges are useful for scraping snow from garage doors, but may be unnecessary for professionals who clear roads and parking lots.

There is also a question about why manufacturers make polyethylene and steel moldboard models.

“Plain and simple: user preference,” Dietz says. “Undoubtedly, there is a certain stigma attached to a poly blade, perhaps as being ‘inferior to’ a steel blade. However, there are some significant advantages of plowing with a poly plow over a steel plow.”
“There has been a steady increase in the poly blade sales,” Berlowski says. “Trucks operate more efficiently with poly blades because the poly’s low-friction surface rolls snow ahead of the blade, reducing dozing.”

The shape of the moldboard itself is another consideration. Why continue making straight blades in this age of V-plows?

“Although V-plows and expandable wing plows, like our Wide-Out, are generally considered to have more capacity, a particular plower, such as a homeowner, may not require that much plow,” Dietz says.

“Because the [V-plow] can be set in a variety of positions to clear snow, it offers the most versatility,” Berlowski adds. “Contractors have always liked the flexibility of the V-plow; older designs were heavy, and full moldboard trip plows can be hard on equipment. The new poly blades and trip-edge features are drawing a lot of interest from buyers.

With a brand new snowplow on average ranging from $3,000 to $8,000, getting bang for your buck to increase efficiency and versatility is a trend worth following.

The Attachments Idea Book
Landscapers use a variety of attachments for doing everything from snow removal to jobsite cleanup, and regardless of how often they are used, every landscaper has a favorite attachment.
Attachments Idea Book Cover