When the snow starts to fly, do you park your compact articulated loaders for the season? With the Vermeer portfolio of snow removal attachments — which includes a snow blade, snow pusher, sweeper and snowblower — you now have another option. When properly outfitted, Vermeer compact articulated loaders (ATXs) can help enhance the productivity of your professional snow removal equipment.
Vermeer Product Manager for attachments Cole Chesnut is a snow removal expert. He clarified the role ATXs serve as support tools to help increase snow removal efficiency. When clearing malls, shopping centers and businesses, there are places that a large loader can’t access with their 15- or 18-foot (4.6- or 5.5-m) pushers.
“When you think of the entire process of removing snow for a commercial contract, there are small, compact areas that people are shoveling. With good help being hard to find, contractors use smaller ATXs to remove snow from these areas — as well as from driveways and sidewalks — to areas where the larger equipment can move that snow to its final destination,” says Chesnut.
A lot of these smaller attachments (snow pusher, snow blade, sweeper and snow blower) have been set up to handle 36-in or 48-in (91.4-cm or 121.9-cm) sidewalks. They can often clear the sidewalk in a single pass.
When selecting which attachment will work best, consider the trade-offs. Each attachment has its own strengths for different kinds of snow. That’s why Vermeer offers a portfolio of attachments.
“There are places in the Northeast where if you get a nor’easter, you could have feet of snow. That’s where a snowblower comes into play. In places that don’t get as much snow, a broom or a blade comes more into play,” explained Chesnut.
Let’s look at options in the Vermeer professional snow removal equipment portfolio.
Snow pusher efficiently moves bulk snow
The snow pusher can hold a larger volume of snow as you push it from one end of a sidewalk or parking lot to the other.
“This can be a good choice when you want to move a lot of bulk snow in a hurry,” said Chesnut
Unlike a snow blade attachment, the pusher contains the snow. This can be especially helpful when removing snow from between buildings. When paired with an ATX, the pusher helps stack snow more efficiently.
“Using a higher hinge-pin height and an extended boom on the ATX gives you the ability to stack those piles a little bit higher. You can get the volume in the pusher up to the top of the pile. The snow can be stacked higher and therefore occupy less space,” noted Chesnut.
A snow pusher can’t windrow, but with two power units, you can use a snow pusher and a snow blade together to eliminate trails left on either side of the pusher. Chasing trails from the pusher with the blade helps windrow the trails back and forth so you make fewer passes with the pusher. Even though two pieces of equipment are used, you can maximize efficiency when using those pieces together.
Snow blade windrows snow to eliminate trails
Attaching the snow blade to faster equipment is a good option when you’re not trying to move a lot of volume. When trying to windrow with a straight blade, most of the time you are pushing that snow to a place where it can be easily moved one direction or the other. Windrowing sidewalks is a common application.
Windrowing support of a snow pusher is another application. You can windrow the two trails that the pusher leaves into one trail and clear the snow in one pass.
Sweeper provides all-season versatility
The sweeper is a good choice in light snow or where you want to clean off sidewalks, business parking lots or driveways with a clean, brushed finish. A sweeper may not be an ideal attachment for heavy snow as it’s not well-suited for piling.
The sweeper is a versatile, all-season attachment. You may have jobs in the summer sweeping up debris on a road. If you already have a sweeper in your arsenal, it now has a dual purpose.
Snowblower effectively removes deep snow
Snowblowers are beneficial for moving deep snow. It gives you the option to blow snow over a windrow, move snow farther, blow snow up a pile, or fill buckets or buggies that move the snow elsewhere. If the snow is crusty, the auger in a snowblower can break that up and move the snow. The snowblower is designed to work through dense snowfall and get the job done efficiently.
The Vermeer snowblower is powered by the auxiliary hydraulics on the ATX and requires electrical power. You can plug it into the front of the ATX unit to power the chute and deflector to place the snow where you want it.
Set up for success
Choosing the correct snow removal attachment is only part of the solution. Further efficiency is gained by pairing the attachment with a carrier suited to the task. The Vermeer ATXs’ speed and float feature helps maximize its value as a snow removal support tool.
“Most of the time, contractors are driving these pieces of equipment to the next job. The 17 mph (27.4 km/hr) speed on the ATX850 allows the machine to quickly get to the next parking lot or the next house within the contract,” said Chesnut.
The float mode on the ATX helps with snow attachment efficiency by helping you maintain forward momentum.
“From my experience moving snow, it helps to use float mode. When you are filling up a larger volume pusher, your velocity is important. Once you stop, it is very difficult to get started again with a large volume of snow. Float mode really helps that pusher ride well as you are pushing through the snow and trying to keep up your speed.”
ATX compact articulated loaders have additional options available to help tailor the machines for professional snow removal.
“Many large contractors remove snow at night and the light package on the ATX is set up for that. Obviously, you want a soft, sticky tire tread to maximize traction. Vermeer does have snow tires available as an option. Many customers switch tires from summer to winter,” said Chesnut.
While the Vermeer ATXs are a great choice for operations looking for all-year versatility, mini skid steers shouldn’t be neglected. “Current owners of a Vermeer mini skid steer can take advantage of this suite of snow attachments to – giving them another use for a machine that might be underutilized in the winter months,” Chesnut said.
In addition to helping you select the appropriate snow attachment, your local Vermeer dealer can help you configure an ATX with snow tires, a proper light package and additional amenities.
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