Snowblower

Introduction

The reason for why I started my curiosity for the snow blower is that most of the farmers in lands with snow have large road and other areas they have to clean for snow. In addition, Snow removing can be a good income source since it is less farm work during the winter. Moreover, every farmer have tractor so they have already made the largest investment. Higher incomes to carry the investments are always a great advantage.

History

In 1925 the first snowblower was put in operation in Montreal in Canada by the inventor, Arthur Sicard. The snowblower was built, as the picture shows, on a truck with conventional cab in the front and an auxiliary engine where the body on the truck is located. The auxiliary engine is entirely for powering the snowblower. Slowly his idea caught on. The first”Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower” as it was called was sold to the nearby town of Outremont in 1927. And eventually his snow blowers were clearing roads throughout the whole world.

Picture. Arthur Sicard first snow blower in 1925. People of Montreal were astonished to see the strange-looking truck lumbering down the roadway. The road the truck had passed over was smooth and clear.

Miserable efficiency

What is really most wrong with today’s snow blowers are their very low efficiencies. These have followed the snow blower from day one. It is understandable that the first one was a bit primitive and had low efficiency, but when you continue with almost as bad efficiency 80 years later I find it is going too far. I have made a calculation to illustrate this. If you drive with a 2 meter (2 ½ feet) wide snow blower in a 10 centimeter (4 inches) snow depth at a speed of 10 km/h (6 mph), the theoretical needed power is only 2.8 kW (3,8 hp) to lift the snow you then collect 5 meters (16 feet) up. Of course you will not reach quite up to this theoretical levels, but when the difference to what they manage with today’s snow blowers are so glaring, a bell should have rang at someone, at least with the manufacturers of such equipment. Because I am not far wrong when I assert that no one of today’s snow blower manufacturers need less than 20 times the theoretic power to do the job. An efficiency of less than 5 % is normally nothing you brag of. But in fact, I believe that no one of today’s manufacturers have done calculations on this, because I assume that they then had gone much more in for reducing the power consumption or tried harder to get a higher output. For even if you increase the efficiency to 4 times of what it is today, you will still be below 20 % efficiency. Then you could remove 4 times vas much snow with the same investment and thus earn accordingly more and use shorter time to get the roads cleared for snow. In reality a snow blower should have cleared the road faster than a snow plow truck because the engine in a snow blower to a greater extent should have been used only to move snow, but it isn’t like that.

Lack of systematic engineering

After studying the snow blower in detail I mean seriously to be able to establish that here it is not made much calculations of the snow flow through the blower. For me it seems that everyone only has copied earlier snow blowers that they have seen. Only added a little bit on the size and dimensions here and there, welded it together and presented it as a fine product. Where one should have directed one’s effort on to get a higher efficiency, the solutions are quite miserable, which also the low efficiency shows. There are many things at least I will do different when we shall manufacture snow blowers, but that have to appear as surprises when we present them.

Less running expenses and investments gives increased profit

How much you could earn additionally if you got the opportunity to change to a better snow blower with 2 to 4 times higher capacity you may evaluate yourself. It will be a lot when you sum up everything and it is no reason to believe that the demand for productivity will be reduced in the future.

Production of the new generation snow blowers

In term we will probably start production of a new generation snow blower because we then can calculate how the solution need to be (we have partly done hat already). We will make a more optimum design and built new efficient production from the ground. This can happen if the interest, among your farmers, is large enough to justify the new product. Because if all of you farmers, contrary to us, still consider the snow blower to be as it should be, it looks that it will be the only alternative.
If you may be interested or have views, we hoe you will contact us on email:flagro@fladby.com so we can map the interest. The more that are interested the faster we will start the production. Flagro’s internet page is: http://flagro.fladby.com

Also small snow blowers

Small snow blowers have gradually become very popular especially among house owners. All these small snow blowers looks almost alike. Some years ago I helped someone with clearing snow with a typical small snow blower. A nice red self propelled thing with its own engine on 5.5 hp. It was of course pretty, I thought as well, until I started reflecting on that it cleared the road so slowly that I almost could have cleared the road just as fast manually with a manual snow shovel. In times like this with all too high CO2-emissions this must be changed so that you get higher efficiency and thus get lower fuel consumption and emissions. I found it difficult to understand that the people in such a big industry not already have managed to make more effective snow blowers. Probably the answer is so simple that they have not really cared. They have only copied earlier solutions and not really cared to optimize them and thought that the price only will be evaluated from the engine horsepower anyway, not from what the snow blower actually does.

Reflections

While many other industries like for instance the computer industry do their outmost to get the energy consumption down on the machines they develop, even if the consumption is only a few watt, it looks like the manufacturers of machines like snow blowers don’t care about efficiencies and produce their machines in sovereign contempt for fuel consumption and emissions. But they are so far lucky. While almost all media flows over of articles about climate changes I saw the heading in Norway’s largest technical magazine:” Snow blower with V8-er. This is the snow blower for super boys and -girls.” An article about a person that has mounted a large engine on his Stiga snow blower. The article is most certainly humorous meant from the magazine, but it might have time for, when they obviously have so ample space in their magazine, and used this article as an excuse to discuss the technology, about how primitive this technology still is, and had an discussion about what the engineers should be minded on. It should of course be unnecessary, but the example shows that is plenty to improve both here and there, both in knowledge and focus. And if they grab this fast, this industry may one day suddenly wake up and recognize that the rest of the world has got less confidence to the technological milieu and then they have a problem.

© Tron-Halvard Fladby/ 2006-09-03