Small wheel loaders have been widely used in the snow and ice industry for many years. Advanced wheel loaders are being engineered with features and enhancements, specifically, with snow and ice management applications in mind. Below, we have highlighted some useful features to consider as you spec machines for purchase or rental this season, as well as seasons to come.
Snow & Ice Removal - Power Train Mode
Some modern wheel loaders are designed with four power train modes, one of these being ice mode. This mode will limit the amount of torque sent to the wheels, regardless of the throttle position, to prevent the wheels from spinning on icy ground. It also changes how the machine slows down when switching between forward and reverse directions, in order to maintain good traction with the ground.
Operator Safety & Comfort Features
Many small wheel loader enhancements have been designed to improve operator safety, as well as comfort, in wintry conditions. Many of these features are often offered as part of the standard machine package, yet some are optional. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to discuss these configurations with your dealer.
Heated and powered exterior mirrors – These are especially useful in the winter months to maintain good visibility. Simply press a button from within the cab, and the heating element will melt away any snow or ice obstructing your view.
Under hood LED lights – With less daylight hours in the winter, your work often begins and/or ends when its dark outside. These LED lights are positioned to focus on important check points, and will automatically turn on when the machine service door is opened. This allows you and/or the operator to perform daily maintenance checks or machine servicing with clear visibility when natural lighting is low.
Bluetooth capable radio – With long hours spent in the cab during snow removal jobs, Bluetooth capabilities allow you to take calls, and essentially run your business, without having to take your hands off the controls.
Fully-integrated dual radar object detection system – This system works in conjunction with the machine’s review camera, and provides varying signals based on the distance between the machine and object(s). This is especially useful when clearing areas where traffic flow is uncontrolled, such as parking lots. It will signal the operator when cars enter and leave various spots.
From a fleet management standpoint, an additional feature to look for is a fully-integrated tire pressure monitoring system. Through this system, you can monitor the tire pressure on your entire fleet of machines, and determine if any tire servicing is needed at any point during the work day.
As you can see, there are several small wheel loader advancements to consider when spec’ing these machines to your application needs. To learn more about Cat® Small Wheel Loaders and the latest machine features that can help your business, visit Cat.com or contact your local Cat dealer.
We’d like to hear about your experiences utilizing small wheel loaders for snow and ice management.
Do you currently own and/or operate small wheel loader(s) for your snow and ice removal jobs? If so, which make/model(s)?
How do small wheel loaders compare to other machines you have used for similar projects in the past?
What benefits have you noticed since you began using small wheel loaders for snow and ice removal?
Are there certain wheel loader features that you have found particularly useful for your applications? If so, how have they been helpful?
Are there any features, advancements or options that you would like to equip your current machines with in order to make your job easier? If so, what are they?
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I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
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