Automation Solutions for Extreme Cold

  • Cirus customers can reduce cost of materials by 30 to 80 percent

  • The junction boxes and cordsets from TURCK are well prepared for the tough winter conditions

As the people in Minnesota know, winters can be cruel. Residents there are all too familiar with subzero temperatures that leave ice and snow covered roadways for months on end. Snowplows that clear the road and spread the ice-melting products that make traveling less treacherous are a necessity for people living in many northern climates. Even so, most drivers don’t think about what happens to the deicing material – usually sodium chloride (salt) – until they are washing it off of their vehicles.
Cirus Controls in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota have been working to design control systems used on the snowplows to regulate the amount of salt being applied to roadways since 2001.

How much is enough?

Where traditional systems rely on user expertise, electronic control systems are used to measure system features that help regulate salt usage.
In Cirus Controls’ electronic control systems, a valve bank is mounted onto the truck frame and is connected to the controllers in the cab of the snowplow. Finding a cable supplier with connectors that can hold up in the cold, wet and abrasive conditions found on a snowplow led Cirus to Turck.

Depending upon the configuration, Cirus uses Turck 4 and 8 port junction boxes with either M8, M12, M23 or 1-1/8 inch molded connectors to connect the devices in the valve bank. Turck’s connector’s large size makes it easier for operators to connect the devices in the field, and integrated LEDs improves field diagnostics by allowing the user to visually see if the connection is operational.

Since Cirus Controls makes custom valve banks per their customer’s requests, another benefit of using Turck connectors is the company’s ability to customize terminated valve connections for specific valve manufacturers. In this way, Cirus customers are ensured the right connection for the valve back system they’ve chosen to use.

Less salt equals less expense

Using Cirus systems has numerous benefits to the user aside from the environmental impact, including having to purchase less salt. A Cirus customer that retrofitted 25 snowplow systems was able to save over 30 percent in material costs for a full season by using the control system. Even more savings can be experienced when using a closed loop system, where event and performance data is recorded and downloaded to provide performance feedback to operators.

Among other features, this data allows users to see exactly where the salt has been applied via a GPS system so that cities are better able to manage the deicing process. According to Mortell, users that move to a closed loop system can experience a savings of up to 80 percent. In an example of true partnership, a city and a watershed district authority partnered to purchase and install this equipment and to share the deicing performance data, as well as the data regarding the amount of chloride going into the watershed surrounding the city, to accurately gauge the outcome.

to top