Canadian Manufacturing

Flodraulic launches a new precision snow plow and salter

Flodraulic also developed a cloud-based command structure and web center that can assign salt application rates to specific GPS coordinates.

February 10, 2021  by CM Staff

GEORGETOWN — Flodraulic, a fluid power company, recently announced the launch of its Archimedes Precision Spreader, a precision snow plow and salter. Working with the University of Guelph, the Town of Halton Hills, and the City of Guelph, Flodraulic has redesigned salt management to accurately measure the salt applied on roadways in real-time.

Unlike current road salters, the Archimedes Precision Spreader uses a LiDAR-based sensor array to measure the salt applied on roadways. This sensor data is then instantaneously fed back into the control system to dynamically control salt application rates to be more precise. This solution can purportedly also detect over-salting, under-salting, as well as blockages.

Archimedes Precision Spreader also intends to increase the safety of drivers by removing salt control from the operational procedure.

In tandem, Flodraulic also developed a cloud-based command structure and web center that can assign salt application rates to specific GPS coordinates. This solution allows operations teams to dynamically raise and lower salt requirements at any location based on weather, risk, and environmentally sensitive areas. The role of salt adjustment has always been solely the responsibility of the operators, who need to navigate dangerous roadways while simultaneously plowing snow.

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Through Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), Flodraulic received support to commercialize this advanced R&D.

“Winter road maintenance is a major concern in Ontario and Northern climates around the world and Flodraulic’s application of connected and autonomous technologies offers significant safety, cost and environmental benefits,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario minister of economic development, job creation and trade. “The Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network is weaving together Ontario’s strengths in information technology and advanced manufacturing to assist in the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and advance our leadership in the latest transportation and infrastructure technologies.”

Advanced salt controls have the potential to allow for more accurate municipality salt usage. The University of Guelph ran tests and determined some salt trucks use more salt than necessary on roadways. This is often attributed to combating blockages, erring on the side of caution, or proactive applications from weather forecasts. Closed-loop control technology can automatically respond to blockages for the operator and will recommend an application of salt that will use less salt than current trucks on the road while maintaining the same level of public safety.