Tag Archives: winter

  • Snow & Ice Storm 2015

    Storm Information

    The snow & ice storm of 2015 was one of the worst ice/snow storms hit the south and east side of the United States leaving over 300,000 people without power. Damage was done mostly in the south but the east was also severely affected.

    At least 7 people were killed on icy/snowy roads during this storm. The top recorded snow fall was in Kentucky where snowfall reached up to 18 inches, with the top ice being recorded at around 3/4 inch of ice in Tennessee covering the roads. With this many roads and highways were shut down. Temperatures in the single digits were very common in most locations of the south and east coast.

    Areas east of Nashville, especially on the Cumberland Plateau, received the most devastating blow. With power lines, power poles, and trees coming down in many places, causing widespread power outages and roadways being blocked. According to Cumberland County Emergency Management, it was considered the "worst natural disaster in the history of Cumberland County." The Volunteer Electric Coop reported 35,000 people without power at the peak of the storm, including all of Fentress County and most of Cumberland County, as well as 700 broken power poles and $9.5 million in damage to their utility system.

    Cumberland County-Tennessee

    Analysis

    There are many reasons why it is so crucial to be prepared for winter storms like this. The more prepared with winter equipment and emergency services the easier they could have controlled the situation. Which could have possibly resulted in less accidents and injuries during this winter storm.

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  • 10 Ways To Naturally Melt Snow & Ice This Winter

    Kid-shoveling-snow

    An unfortunate environmentally damaging, but popular, practice every winter is to disperse rock salt (or sodium chloride) over driveways and sidewalks to melt ice. It's a cheap, speedy method...but at what "price"?

    The Problem Of Rock Salt Pollution:

    If you live in a place that has lots of snow and ice in the winter, then you have probably seen the highway department spreading salt on the road to melt the ice.­ You may have also used salt on ice when making home-made ice cream. Salt lowers the freezing/melting point of water, so in both cases the idea is to take advantage of the lower melting point.

    On a roadway, this means that if you sprinkle salt on the ice, you can melt it. The salt dissolves into the liquid water in the ice and lowers its freezing point.

    In the short-term, the use of rock salt keeps roads and cities up and running after a blizzard and has been shown to reduce vehicular accidents by as much as 87%. But in the long view, its widespread use has a dreadful environmental impact. Each year, around 22 million tons of rock salt is dumped on roads and sidewalks in the U.S.

    But, the question is. Where does this salt go?

    Fresh water becomes salt water

    After it is spread on the roads, rock salt eventually dissolves and splits up into chloride and sodium ions. Carried to streams, lakes, and rivers, via surface runoff while also seeping into the earth’s groundwater supply, it increases the salt concentration of fresh water sources and accumulates steadily over time. Every spring, after a big thaw, the concentration of salt in fresh water spikes to around one third of the salt levels found in the ocean.

    The fear of this method is that scientist predict, with continued use, any freshwater sources in the northeastern United States would no longer be safe for human/animal consumption.

    Destructive to wildlife

    A study on pond-breeding amphibians (specifically salamanders and frogs), published in April 2008 in Ecological Society Of America, found that "road salt travels as far as 172 meters from the highways and into the wetlands, reducing the number of eggs laid and the survival rates at the egg and larval stage." Relating to the Earth, road salt kills off trees, plants, birds and has the potential to disrupt organisms' natural environment and food supply.

    Salty soil

    When salt accumulates in the soil, it interferes with a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. Sodium reduces the uptake of water, potassium, calcium, and magnesium – all vital elements for plant growth. Brown patches on the lawn and stunted plants in the garden are telltale signs of salty soil.

    Property damage

    Sodium chloride is extremely damaging and corrosive.  It is known to cause rust on vehicles and "eat away" at bridges, concrete structures and cracked paved surfaces. Less severe, it is known for inevitable permanent marks on boots, pants, and jackets or other outside clothing that it may come in contact with.

    Toxic to pets

    Rock salt is also an irritant. Cats and dogs are often subjected to painful burning, inflammation, and cracked pads after walking on treated surfaces. If not washed off right away, pets can ingest it by licking their paws. Symptoms of exposure and ingestion of road salt include salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive water loss, and seizures. In extreme cases, if consumed in large quantities,it can lead to hypernatremias (a fancy way of saying salt poisoning), which can ultimately lead to death in animals.

    green

    Green Alternatives To Road Salt:

    Local governments take up the majority of road salt use, but the good news is that many municipalities across the country are seeking out more earth-friendly solutions to the sodium chloride problem!

    The ultimate goal would to be stop using road salt all together, but in the meantime, individuals and business owners can fight icy sidewalks and driveways, by choosing greener alternatives:

    1. Wood ash

    A simple, free product from the fireplace, wood ash contains potassium salts which helps melt snow, and provide a bit of traction, in moderate conditions. Since ash is darker in color, it will absorb the heat of the sun. Though it won’t work as quickly as rock salt, wood ash is a much gentler salt that won’t harm your plants, animals, or paved surfaces.

    2. Alfalfa meal

    Alfalfa Meal is an all natural fertilizer made from fermented alfalfa plants. Alfalfa meal's grainy texture will add some traction and the nitrogen will work as a de-icer. Because it is longer lasting than sodium chloride, you need only use it sparingly on snowy surfaces and should be careful not to add to the effects of algal bloom in our freshwater.

    3. Leftover coffee grounds

    The nitrogen and acids in coffee grounds can help melt ice and snow while adding extra grip. The dark color also means you’ll get attraction from the sun aiding in additional melting.

    4. Tarp it

    Place plastic tarps on high-traffic surfaces (such as door entries, pathways, and the distance between your car and your home) just before the storm rolls in. Depending on the amount of snowfall, shovel it off or shake out the tarp before it gets the chance to freeze up.

    5. Sugar beet juice

    Many municipalities are mixing sugar beet juice with rock salt to enhance the ice melting effects of sodium chloride. But sugar beet juice can be used all on its own for small-scale applications around the home. Effective to a temperature of minus 13°F, the sugars present in beet juice lower the freezing point of water so it can be applied to surfaces ahead of a blizzard to prevent snow and ice from accumulating.

    6. Homemade ice melter

    Here’s a DIY recipe that works really well:

    2 quarts of warm water + 6 drops of dish soap + 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol

    Transfer this solution to a spray bottle. The ice should break up right away and make shoveling so much easier.

    7. Add grit

    Unless the icy build-up is a real hazard, in most cases just adding grit to snowy surfaces will provide the traction you need to safely get from point A to point B. Try laying down some sand, gravel, or birdseed to give walkways more traction. Avoid using clay based kitty litters though, since it will turn into watery sludge once it comes in contact with moisture and make the ground even more slippery than it was before.

    8. All-Natural Rock Salt Alternatives

    Several companies have focused on making more eco-friendly/nontoxic alternative versions of "rock salt" using more natural ingredients to help aid in creating traction and melting ice. Browse your local stores for pet/plant friendly alternatives!

    9. Vinegar

    By mixing equivalent amounts of vinegar and water you can produce a less potent deicer. If the ice is very thick combine 40 percent water and 60 percent vinegar. Pour the mixture on iced surfaces and ice will slowly turn to liquid.

    Once the ice has already melted using these simple items, make sure that shovel snow immediately after snow storm to prevent it from forming into hard ice. This way, you can get away from dealing with slippery and dangerous path for you and your family’s safety.

    10. Good old fashioned shoveling

    Let's face it, typically, no one exactly enjoys going out and shoveling their driveway or walkways, but simply shoveling away the snow after a storm will prevent the need for extra ice melting treatments. Make it easy on yourself this year by spraying the shovel blade with cooking oil! This will stop snow and ice from sticking while you work and make your time outside go by so much faster!

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  • The Weight is Over

    The Weight is Over

     

    During the 2015/2016 season we shipped over 4,000 system crates to customers across the United States. With each crate weighing an average of 500 pounds; we manufactured, packaged, and delivered about 2,000,000 pounds of cutting edges last season. That's equivalent to 2,000 killer whales... whoa.

    Shipping

    Packaging and moving these crates is no walk in the park. While our shipping teammates have been known to demonstrate super-human strength, we are aware of the effects consistent heavy lifting can have on the body.

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    Our new automatic conveyor system allows operators to package systems in an easy and safe manor. The operators are able to move crates down the conveyor belt with the push of a button.

    Additionally we are gearing up to install an overhead bridge crane system. This bridge crane will decrease the amount of heavy lifting required to place the cutting edges and wear parts into the crate.

    Improving Shipping

    As our systems continue to gain popularity our shipping processes continue to improve in order to accommodate the increasing demand while, most importantly, keeping our operators safe. We would rather our employees save their muscle strength for the gym.

    20160804_132538

    Wesley Crouch

    Winter® Shipping Operator

    Valued team member since 2015

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  • Website Updates

    Website Updates

    Our sales and marketing team have made quite a few revisions to the flow of the website. Our goals are to create a simpler buying experience. We want to educate users with any knowledge on snow removal, and promote smart purchasing in the industry.

     

    System Icons

    First, we have created and have began implementing icons to represent the predicted effectiveness of each system on various road categories.

    Understanding Icons - Winter Equipment Website Icon Explanation

    These icons are featured with all of our systems to assist customers in quickly identifying which system may be ideal for their particular application. You can find these on catalog listings, product pages, and even literature for our systems.

     

    Why Winter? Winter Equipment Website Why Winter? Winter Equipment Website

    We also wanted to create an introduction to who Winter Equipment is, and why we've been a leader in the snowplow wear parts industry for years. Here we discuss our PlowGuards, the system concept, and our unrivaled customer service. You can also use the "Schedule a Visit" button to have a territory manager come to you at your convenience.

     

    Educational Section:

    We have also created three main pages with helpful sub-pages to explain core concepts of wear parts in snow removal, and show what Winter Equipment has done for each of these. At the bottom of each of these pages, we have a navigation element to move you between these concepts:

    What is a Snowplow Blade? - Winter Equipment Website What is a Snowplow Blade?

    What is a Snowplow Blade? This page discusses the core concepts of the snowplow blade and how it interacts with the road. This page also contains a link to an interactive page that shows all of the parts of the snowplow. Here you can also get more information about the more common materials used in the snow removal industry.

    What is a PlowGuard? - Winter Equipment Website What is a PlowGuard?

    What is a PlowGuard? This page defines the PlowGuard and discusses Winter Equipment's involvement in advancing the snow removal industry with the original patent for these. Then it shows some examples of PlowGuards, and shows how you can easily determine which PlowGuards to use when experiencing common wear patterns.

    What is a Snowplow Blade System? - Winter Equipment Website What is a Snowplow Blade System?

    What is a Snowplow Blade System? This page defines our system concept using text and graphics to provide an overview of what this concept is. It then goes into a few of the benefits that go along with purchasing blades this way. There is another button to "Schedule a Visit" similar to the one on the Why Winter? page. Then you can see a list of all of our systems broken down by blade material.

    Find Your System Tool:

    Find Your Snowplow Blade System - Winter Equipment Website Find Your Snowplow Blade System

    Most importantly, the Find Your Snowplow Blade System page is dedicated to determining which system best fits your needs. After answering a series of questions about your snow removal organization, this tool will recommend 2-4 systems that we think would be good for you. Once you've received your recommended systems, you can choose up to 2 to compare, or jump straight to generating your quote.

    Compare

    The comparison page allows you to plug in multiple systems in order to see how they size up to each other. Some of the attributes we have to compare on are price, reviews, blade information, cutting profile, and more!

    Quote

    Finally, you are able to take the information you have input previously and generate an online quote. Input as much information as you'd like, as it will all benefit our sales representatives as they try to assist you with your order. After you've input the required information, we will generate you a web quote that you may view right away, as well as on your email.

    All of this information will be sent to a sales representative, and they will email or call you to follow up on this request.

     

    Feedback

    We greatly appreciate your feedback at Winter Equipment. Please don't hesitate to submit any feedback you have about the website. Thank you for your continued support.

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  • Clearing the Air

    Clearing the Air 

    Welding is who we are. Blades, guards... you name it. Our proprietary weld process is what sets us apart in the industry.

    Our specialized welding team practices fusion welding, specifically electric arc; process of applying an electric arc to melt the base and filler metals. The two types of electric arc welding performed at Winter® include:

    • Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW) Filler metal electrode; flux shield
    • Gas Metal Arc (GMAW/MIG) consumable electrode for filler metal; external gas shield

    Improper safety procedures can lead to harmful effect to the welder and other operators on the production floor. Exposure to welding fumes can cause kidney, lung, and nervous system damage.

    IMG_0018

    Saul Soria

    Winter® Welder

    A valued team member since 2009

     Winter® has recently installed a new air recovery system that efficiently and effectively removes the harmful smoke and ambers away from the operator. The combination of fume hoods, extractor guns, and vacuum nozzles are placed appropriately (close to the source) to pull the fumes away from the operator as quickly as possible. Exhaust ports are properly located to increase safety for all manufacturing team members.

    The new air recovery system along with proper cleaning procedures, proper machine placement, and appropriate operator positioning make the manufacturing environment safe for everyone on the floor. Moving forward, Winter® will continue to invest in equipment and process that keep employees safe.

    IMG_4439

    Juan Carlos Morales

    Winter® Welder

    A valued team member since 2007

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  • Spot The Dot

    Spot the Dot

    We here at Winter Equipment always strive to have the best safety programs to keep our employees safe.

    Meet Kevin Hildebrand:

    IMG_8352

    Kevin has been an important part of Winter Equipment's safety education and upkeep. Among many other contributions to the company, Kevin helps implement all of our safety standards and programs.

    Safety Program

    One of our newest programs that we have recently implemented is called "Spot The Dot." The program is designed to keep employees aware of their surroundings and potential hazards.

    Spot The Dot consists of codes represented by the following colored "dots" :

    reddot  red (severe)

    yellow dot  yellow (needs attention right away)

    greendot green (could become a hazard)

    The colored dots will be placed in the area where there is a safety concern coordinated with the severity of the hazard. When an employee finds the dot they bring it to the safety director and explain what the problem is and how to resolve it according to OSHA standard.

    After all the steps are completed the employee is rewarded with a  prize and also a mention in our monthly employee news letter . At the end of the year whoever has the most dots collected will receive a larger prize. So far this program has worked with great success and we are getting great feedback from our employees.

     

    Here are a few safety tips to remember when working in an warehouse/manufacturing environment:

         Prevent slips, trips and falls

    • Report and clean up spills and leaks.
    • Keep aisles and exits clear of items.
    • Replace worn, ripped or damage flooring.

         Eliminate fire hazards

    • Keep combustible materials in the work area only in amounts needed for the job. When they are unneeded, move them to an assigned safe storage area.
    • Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations away from ignition sources.
    • Avoid contaminating clothes with flammable liquids. Change clothes if contamination occurs.

    download   Avoid tracking materials

    If the materials are toxic, industrial hygiene testing, uniforms and showering facilities might be needed. Employees who work with toxic materials should not wear their work clothes home.

    Image result for storage materials signs   Store materials properly

    Unused materials and equipment should be stored out of the way of workers. Avoid using work spaces for storage and remember to put everything back in its proper place.

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  • El Niño

    El Niño

    "El Niño is a complex and naturally occurring weather pattern that results when ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator vary from the norm. The phenomenon typically occurs every two to seven years. The 2015-2016 El Niño, however, is being called a "super" El Niño, the worst in 15 years," according to Phys.org.

    How does the El Niño affect the US, you ask?

    Well, because of the havoc it can cause, what we can expect is the unexpected: unpredictable weather patterns, rain storms, droughts, blizzards and other cases of severe weather are likely to occur in different parts of the country.

    Unlike usual patterns in the season, El Niño seems to create higher than usual temperatures in the northern hemisphere of the US and lower than usual temperature in the southern. Currently we are experiencing the affects here in Northeast Ohio with few heavy snowfalls and an increase in temperatures as we enter March.

    So, when will "winter weather" be over for us this year?

    The answer, like any weather prediction, can not be certain. But, from now we should be warming up and be preparing for Spring!

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  • Bikes For Kids

    Bikes for Kids

    The time of year has come again when Winter Equipment works with The Salvation Army to provide bicycles and donations to children and families around Lake County, Ohio. “Santa’s Bikes for Kids” is a fundraiser that was organized by Winter Equipment Owner, Kent Winter. He is heavily involved in charities around the area and this one continues to be a great success. 2015 marks the 7th year of supporting this charity.

    20141218_09051820141218_090646

    Donations started being accepted in October and to date, we have raised (with the help of employees, vendors, neighbors)  over $7,000.  Winter Equipment also donated 89 bikes and over $1,500 in toys, 13 additional bikes with donated with the help of our vendors.

    These donations go directly to The Salvation Army in Lake County and will be distributed by the Painesville location.

    Checkin it twice- naughty or nice    Photo2  Photo4  Photo6 Photo7  Photo9  Photo11 Photo12

    We look forward to keeping this tradition going and funding such a wonderful charity.

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  • Winter Equipment and the American Dream

    Winter Equipment and the American Dream

    For Kent Winter, the founder of Winter Equipment, owning a company has always been about employing others. From the very beginning, everything Kent has done has been with the goal of never having to lay anyone off during the summer season. Through hard work, persistence, and commitment to employees and manufacturing in the United States, Winter Equipment has established itself as an exemplary company and leader in the snow removal industry.

    For the majority of his life, Kent has been surrounded by steel and snow. He grew up in Utah and attended Utah State University. After graduating with a degree in Welding Engineering, Kent relocated to Cleveland, Ohio to work as a salesman for Lincoln Electric. He spent 13 years there, learning about the welding industry and working on steel fabrication. Kent began tinkering with the idea of starting his own company when a friend gave him a brochure on snowplow cutting blades.

    Company History

    In the beginning, Winter Equipment consisted of just Kent working out of his house. He was determined to create snowplow blades that would last longer than what was on the market. Presently, Kent's patented plow guard is the industry standard. The first four to five years of the business was all trial and error; Kent needed to get the idea right and decide on the best way to execute it. The first sale- for five products- was based on a model created with popsicle sticks and graph paper. After the initial order, Kent began selling to big snow truck companies and city departments of transportation. However, selling the model and actually delivering on the product were two different things. Kent's next move was to figure out where to make the blades--the orange paint stained floor of his home would no longer suffice. Within six years the initial sales, Winter Equipment was conceived, and the company has been growing ever since.

    From day one, Winter Equipment has been committed to the ethos Made in America. From using steel fabricated in Ohio to manufacturing completely in the US, Winter Equipment has stuck with its original ideal. The company's commitment to Made in America extends beyond sourcing and manufacturing to employing as many local people as possible.

    True to it's Made in America commitment, Winter Equipment Values community and strives to give back to society. To support its goal of maintaining continuity of employment, Winter Equipment never has layoffs. With the unpredictable nature of winter, the company does not want to risk losing its loyal, skilled employees. Instead, during mild winters employees will work full time for charities while still being paid by Winter Equipment. Employees feel rewarded when they contribute their time and expertise to the community and are proud to be part of a company that endorses service to others.

    Snow Removal Industry

    The snow removal industry is changing due to always changing weather patterns and technological advancements. Winter Equipment prides itself on staying ahead of the storm. States that previously did not have snow now confront the need to invest in and learn about snow removal practices. Winter Equipment engages with these new markets, training clients in the cutting edge applications of their state-of-the-art snow removal equipment. New technology paves the way for creating more efficient blade systems with longer lasting edges, thus reducing reliance on salt. With better edges, trucks can stay on the road for longer periods of time. Winter Equipment is proud to be a leader in the future of the snow removal industry. The company consistently innovates to bring new, cost-effective ideas to the forefront.

    For Kent, establishing a dynamic and vital company founded on hard work, ingenuity, and integrity, where employees are valued as its greatest asset, has been the American dream come true.

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