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Category: Environment, Innovation Bonds

After the Storm, Polyurethane Snowplows Help Cities Dig Out

During this time of year, many parts of the country experience freezing weather. With plunging temperatures often comes snowfall. Whole cities can grind to a halt under accumulated snow as they wait for teams of small but dedicated crews to dig them out. When winter storms happen, every moment counts. Snowplow drivers often work round-the-clock, relying on equipment made from polyurethane to get the job done. 

Polyurethane Is Highly Customizable

Snowplows and blades — a strip of material running along the length of a metal snowplow — have several advantages when made with polyurethane. Polyurethane is highly customizable; parts made from polyurethane can be created to ensure the right thickness, durability and weight for the environment, surface and kind of plow truck.

Reducing Surface Damage

Polyurethane snowplows and blades can also help prevent damage to delicate surfaces like asphalt and roadways because the equipment can be made to conform to whatever kind of surface is being plowed. This level of precision is particularly helpful in the plowing of delicate, uneven surfaces like brick walkways and cobblestone streets and for use in limiting damage to objects that must be passed over by the plow — like road reflectors and lane lines — because these items cannot be removed.

Polyurethane is Quieter

Polyurethane has some noise dampening properties as well. Use of polyurethane snowplows and blades may be of value in places where silence is at a premium, like apartment complexes with sleeping residents or at hospitals in which patients may be resting or recovering.

Vibration Dampening Properties

Plowing an entire city, neighborhood or section of businesses can be a time-consuming process. It can take hours to clear just one section of a town. As a result, drivers and equipment can become fatigued. Thankfully, polyurethane can dampen vibrations, creating a smoother ride, which may help reduce driver fatigue and limit damage to plowing equipment and plow trucks.

Operating in Subzero Conditions 

Polyurethane blades and edges can also be made to function in subzero conditions in which other materials may become brittle or break. For example, one manufacturer of polyurethane snowplows claims its snowplows and blades can be used in environments where temperatures reach as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

FAA Snow Removal-Equipment Recommendations 

In 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a list of recommended snow-removal equipment for airport operators. Its recommendations included the use of snowplow edges and blades made from polyurethane for use in helping to keep runways clear of snow. The FAA noted polyurethane is a softer material that could lessen the likelihood of damage to the runways over repeated plowings.