BIG Snowblowers

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.plowsite.com target=_blank ?>Sn' started by Alan, Apr 1, 2000.

  1. Alan

    Alan Member
    Posts: 1,185

    Around here the current technology for dealing with acres of parking lot seems to be loaders with pusher boxes to pile and them more loaders and trucks to move the piles to a far corner of the site. It seems to me that a BIG snowblower working with a couple trucks to windrow would do much faster. Almost every place I look at has some space along the edge of the lot to stack snow. So why not blow it clear instead of trucking it? I see BIG blowers (airport style) that are available for under 20 grand, not really all that much money today. Is it just because the blower would sit idle for so much of the year? That's the only viable reason I can see, at least loaders get used year round. The BIG blowers could travel much faster between sites than a loader can, there is no limit to how high they can stack, cost is not all that prohibitive. What am I missing?
     
  2. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 1,651

    If the parking lot has fields all around it, and no roads or other buildings. I think a blower would work great, however look at this. The damage risk is much bigger, rocks can be thrown with the blower, and what if a kid gets under the cloud of snow and a rock hit him? <p>Like i said in the opening of the post, i think a blower can just move snow too far, and too much of a risk of hitting something. Air ports have lots of fields around them, so the risk of hitting something is much lower.<p>Geoff
     
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    For under 20K?<p>Man, that will just about cover the parts just for a tuneup on our 67 Snowblast. <p>
     
  4. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Also, how far do they throw?<p>I've heard stories of guys sucking up runway lights and then finding them a quarter mile away when the snow melts. Even with the adjustable shoots, they have a TREMENOUS throw.
     
  5. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    1.) It takes incredible horsepower to move that snow fast. I've seen what a 450hp blower will do. It would seem you'd need 5-6 times that much power to do what you speak of.<p>2.) Maintenance costs.<p>3.) Limited ground speed during operation.<p>4.) Only effective when there is 6&quot;-8&quot; snow or more.<p>Just my observations.
     
  6. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    There is only one reason why airports have blowers. <p>That is to remove windrows. <p>Airports can't have snow piled up anywhere because aircraft wings would be scraping across them all the time. <p>The blowers are only used at the side of the runways. Trucks clear the runway and push it all to the sides. No airport uses a blower to actually clear the entire runway (at least in most cases). Just to clear the windrow after 6 20 ft plows pile it up on the side.<p>I've only seen blowers used in a few places. One is airports. The second is up in areas, like colorado, where roads that don't get plowed have like 8 ft of snow on them. The third is on trains, to clear infrequently used tracks that have like 10 ft of snow on them.<p>From what I know, any kind of serious blower will cost at least 100K. Brand new stewart stevensons, used on airfields, start at around 250K. I'm sure there are used ones (like our old monster) that can be picked up for a hot deal, but servicing can be almost impossible. These machines our custom made almost, and parts just don't exist. If something brakes, you either have to have it made or get rid of the machine. <p>For instance, the steering shaft, that goes from the steering wheel of our snow blast to the the front wheels has something like 16 universals in it. If it broke, we wouldn't know what to do. The machine must have about 3000 grease fittings! Takes the mechanic almost a day just to grease it!<p>Ok, on the positive side. I've seen snow blowers that go on the front of pickups in places like northern and what not. They have there own engine and I guess mount right on the plow frame. Maybe this is not a bad idea. It looks like it could be useful, especially for cutting back after the wind blows the snow onto the road. I have no knowlegde of them, but maybe assume this is what you were talking about initially. I thought they looked like a pretty good idea too. However, myself, with the experiences we have with our large machines and even with the 6 footer on our grounds master, I would have to say its kind of a novelty. Who know though. It may work. <p>steveair <p>
     
  7. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Ok, i love this topic so I'll say even more.<p>During the big blizzard of like 94-95 here in jersey (I can't remember exactly because I wasn't working at the airport and have only heard stories), the state highway dept approached our airport and asked to borrow the blower.<p>With that kind of snow, i think it was 30 inches or so, the state couldn't push snow any father off the edges of the 3-6 lane highways, like rt 80 and 287. They wanted the blower to do this.<p>Maybe this would be a good market to have one. To sub-contract to the state or whoever during events like that. I can't remember how much they offered per hour, but it was ALOT. Like enough money to retire on if you ran it for a week!<p>Problems here. The investment seems so great and the chances of getting a situation like that are just to far in between. Maybe if you found a used one, got it all tuned up and ready to go for a couple weeks work, ran it for those two weeks, and then sold it, you could make a killing. <p>To me though, that seems like a aweful big investment on something that may never happen.
     
  8. Alan

    Alan Member
    Posts: 1,185

    Well,, I'm tossing the idea around of bidding on one that is coming up for disposal shortly. Running condition and recently overhauled, something like 450 hp on the blower (8V92 Detroit) Virtually any lot around here has plenty of space to put stuff along the sides, also most of them are cut by green strips evey four or so parking lanes. No place to stack on the green strips, just too small. So, I'm looking at the ability to throw snow over the strips. Windrow with trucks and then toss it 100 feet into the next bay, then windrow and throw again. Also, some places you have to push off one direction, then cross push to get rid of it. The threat of rocks isn't too great, nor is the problem with pedestrians as most of the serious cleaning is at night. Usually you push what you can during the day to keep the place open for business and clean the lot at night. <p>I also do several Condos that have limited push space. If I had my way I'd push to the edge of the pavement during a storm and come back the next day and heave it all out into the middle of the lawn. No problem blowing it at 90 deg to the plowing direction and way quicker than trying to push piles off to the side<p>As far as cost, I found one machine in Canada that is running, not sure of condition, and is going for $22,500 CDN. That comes out to under 14 thou American.<p>So far it's just a pipe dream, but I would be the only kid in town to own one! :)
     
  9. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    I've used the 20hp one in Northern. It's a toy.<p>The amount of hoursepower required to make a productive blower is incredible.
     
  10. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Alan, sounds like you have a pretty good plan. It just might work.<p>My only real problems with it would be this. <p>First, how old is the blower and who makes it? If it is a older model, specialty brand, or whatever, it may be incredibly hard to get parts. In fact, it may be impossible. We have a smaller blower (at least small to us) that is attahed to the front of a 72 chevy single axle with a carrier motor mounted in the back. Its a real neat set up, with the drive shaft for the blower comeing from the back of the truck, all the way underneath to the front. <br>One problem is this. If anything major breaks, it will have to be scrapped. No one in the country has parts for it..<p>Second, I'd be very scared of sucking something up with the blower, especially a parking lot. On the airfield, we have about a zero percent chance of hitting any debry. Public places just seem to be a junkyard. I'd be nervous to hell about hitting/picking up something. If it hits a curb, its toast most likely. Highway, gov't, airports, etc. have big checkbooks to fix these things. A big repair could mean scrapping the machine. <p>The idea, does sound interesting though. I guess no one uses them because of the cost and the unknown about them. Maybe you will be a pioneer in this field! Great ideas always start somewhere, and this could be it. Also, the fact of being the only one on the block with one is reason enough sometimes. <p>steveair<br>
     

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