Compact Equipment

SEP 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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C ompact wheel loaders are making waves here in North America. Thanks to their size, comfort, maneuverability and safety, these machines are not only perfect for the jobsite but in snow re- moval applications too. So just because the weather takes a turn, it doesn't mean your operations have to stop. "When comparing wheel loaders to other types of compact equipment, such as skid steers or track loaders, its benefits include a longer wheel base and a more com- fortable cab," says Frederik Crul, global product manager for wheel loaders at Manitou Group. "Comfort and vis- ibility are quite important, especially since the operator will spend hours inside the cab. Wheel loaders allow the operator to sit tall and have good, 360-degree visibility all around." Prepping for the Work Although a compact wheel loader is a prime candidate for snow removal, you probably shouldn't just roll it into the cold and expect it to perform to its potential. It takes a little prep and the right attachment to get the machine ready for winter work. "In order to prep your compact wheel loader for snow removal, it's important to make sure that you have some vital accessories and equipment," says Mike Stephan, pres- ident and co-founder of Kage Innovation LLC. "Make sure that your machine is equipped with a steer wheel knob, so that the operator doesn't have to palm the steering wheel all night. Also make sure that there is adequate lighting, and that all of the headlights, flashers and warning lights are working and intact. A chain or tow strap is essential, since you never know when you might get into a bind or be in a position to help a fellow worker out." Protecting the machine from the elements is always a good idea. Since the compact wheel loader — and its metal components — will be exposed to salt on the road, it's important to wash the machine every day and apply products such as a spray-on corrosion inhibitor. Snow tires aren't a necessity; however, Stephan points out that some operators opt for siped tires to aid in winter work. Next up is outfitting the compact wheel loader with the right attachment for snow removal. Since no two projects are alike, there are plenty of tools to choose from includ- ing snow plows, pushers, blades, brooms and more. Snow plows and pushers are popular choices in snow removal because operators can move large volumes of snow at a fast rate for big parking lot cleanup. "Typically, compact wheel loaders are equipped with anywhere from 10- to 14-ft snow plows or pushers," says Stephan. "Rule of thumb, however, is to look at the site that the unit is on, and what kind of flexibility you need the machine to have. If there are areas where you need to be more maneuverable, you may want to downsize the plow slightly in order to have a machine that is versatile, rather than just a brute force monster. "It is critical that any snow plow or pusher that you choose be equipped with a mechanical float, allowing the plow to move up and down over contours in the pave- ment — independent of the machine it's attached to," he continues. "Without float, the wheel loader will lose steering when the plow rides over humps, or the plow will leave snow in the dips. The float built into the loader's boom does not operate like the mechanical float on a plow frame and is useless for plowing snow." Edge, distributed by Manitou Group, offers an oscillat- ing snow push that follows the contour of the pavement a wheel loader is clearing. This is great for maneuvering over obstacles such as manholes. "If you have a manhole cover where it slopes down, this plow will oscillate eight degrees left and right depending 30 Compact Equipment SEPTEMBER 2018 According to Mike Stephan, president and co-founder of Kage Innovation, it's critical that any snow plow or pusher an operator chooses is equipped with a mechanical float, allowing the plow to move up and down over contours in the pavement.

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