Originally geared for the municipal and highway markets, newcomer Snow Lion is refocusing its marketing efforts to bring its line of unique ice clearing tools to the commercial snow contractor.
Snow Lion is a Chinese company now doing business out of Reno, Nev. It’s had success in the municipal highway markets along the West Coast in California, Alaska and Canada, says Bob Burger, a consultant working with Snow Lion. Recently, the company expanded its product line from 14 units to 40 ice-breaking and snowpack-removal systems. These systems can be attached to front-end loaders, wheel loaders, graders, tractors and, recently, traditional plow trucks. Compared to traditional snow and ice clearing methods, the company claims its equipment is seven times more cost effective and efficient, and results in a 50 percent to 85 percent reduction in labor.
That technology is based on an articulated, multi-wheel ice crushing system. “So, you’ll have one end high and one end low with maybe a crown in the middle,” Burger says. “The articulation takes care of that, whereas a solid wheel going across the width of the road can cause you some problems.”
And that’s all without the use of rock salt, brine or other ice mitigation chemicals, and without marring the pavement surface, according to the company.
Of interest to commercial snow contractors is the compact WS12N model, which features articulating crushing wheels to attack hard-pack ice and a plow blade for clearing ice from sidewalk pavement. “It uses the exact same patented technology for mechanical pulverization of ice/compacted snow as our larger units in just a smaller size,” says Snow Lion Business Development Manager Alan Di Stefano.
In addition, a three-year study recently released by Waterloo University/Ontario Ministry of Transportation seemingly validates Snow Lion’s claims on performance. According to the study: “Results show that the mechanical icebreakers are effective in removing packed snow from the road surface compared to the conventional methods and can achieve bare pavement much earlier, which could result in substantial safety and mobility benefits besides reduction in resources utilized and environmental benefits while having no negative impacts on pavement surface.”
“This report not only validates this new technology as superior to traditional ice removal techniques, such as using salt, brine or other chemicals, but it also works at below zero temperatures where salt is not effective,” Di Stefano say. “It also validates our performance claims.”
The systems aren’t cheap, running between $20,000 and $30,000 for contractor-grade units, with municipal and highway units considerably more expensive. However, if the material and labor cost reduction are accurate, commercial snow and ice management contractors could see their ROI rather quickly. At this time, the company is focusing its sales efforts on snow and ice operations with large footprints in their respective markets.
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.