Here's how snow removal vehicles are made on the factory floor

Hint: It's a lot of work.
Christopher McFadden

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If you enjoyed our recent backstage look at how garbage trucks are made, you might be in the mood to watch another utility vehicle taking shape from start to finish? If so, then you'll love watching some winter service vehicles, more commonly called snow removal vehicles, being built?

Let's take a look. 

snowplow complete
Source: Interesting Engineering

Step 1: Making the components

Just like other utility vehicles, like garbage trucks, the first step is to source both a truck base and steel sheets needed for the snow removal vehicle. Once complete, the steel sheets are then winched into place on special worktops ready for shaping and cutting. 

In this particular facility, this is completed using a mixture of human workers and automated plasma cutting machines. This is completely automated, but a human worker is often present to ensure the process is running as it should. 

snowplow plasma cutting
Source: Interesting Engineering

Once the required parts for the snow removal vehicle or cut to shape and size, the parts are transferred to other specialist machines for further working. Where parts need to be bent into angles, like right-angles, special power presses are used to compress and bend the steel into shape. 

Smaller parts can be manipulated and worked on by hand, but larger parts need to be carried around the workshop using winches and cranes. In some cases, forklift trucks are also used to move more unwieldy parts in bulk. 

At this factory, a series of winter service vehicles are created including gritter vehicles and snow removal vehicles. 

Step 2: Welding, lots of welding

Once the main bodywork and panels are complete, the next step is to begin to assemble the parts. This is done using a series of welding teams that build the frame of the snow removal vehicle's dumper bucket and then apply the panels are other parts needed. 

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Once welding is complete, tools like angle grinders are used to clean up and smooth down the welds, as needed. 

snowplows welds
Source: Interesting Engineering

The rear dumper bucket is used to contain grit and salt and this needs to be deposited from the rear of the snow removal vehicle as it drives around. This requires some specialist parts of the vehicle to enable it to perform this function. 

These parts are custom welded in the workshop and installed on the bucket and main truck chassis as needed. At all times, as with the main bucket, welds are ground down as needed too. 

Step 3: Bringing it all together

Once completed sections of the bucket and bodywork for the snow removal vehicle are complete, they are hauled, in whole, to the main truck base. Once there, they are held in place as welding crews weld the parts to the truck as needed. 

snowplow in place
Source: Interesting Engineering

For other variants of the snow removal vehicles, the main grit dispensing machinery is also built and prepared ready for mounting on trucks. Other vehicles are also equipped with the main snowplow parts too. 

But, before that, all parts completed need to be given a coat of paint. 

In this case, the relevant parts are to be painted in orange-colored paint. The paint is mixed and then applied to the parts using a spray gun. 

snowplow painting
Source: Interesting Engineering

Any missed parts, or awkward to get to parts, are finished by hand as needed. With that complete, the dumpster and tailgate are quality checked and tested to ensure they operate as intended. Adjustments and modifications are then made as needed. 

Once passed, the parts, like the front snowplow are fixed into place on the truck chassis and tested as needed. Pneumatic piping and tubing is then connected and calibrated, as well as tested to ensure everything works as it should. 

snowplow plow
Source: Interesting Engineering

If needed, a final coat of paint, branding, and other decals are then added to the truck to meet the factory's clients' specific requirements. 

With that done, the winter service vehicles are ready to hit the road.

If you enjoyed watching this industrial process, you might be interested in watching another? How about, for example, watching how double glazing units are made? 

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