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Independent.ie

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Wexford firm eases freeze as snow ploughs go down storm

Engineers turn up heat with adaptable solutions for worsening winter weather

Bruce Lett

Last winter's near-Arctic conditions caused havoc for rural and urban communities alike. Between frozen pipes, icy roads and those blocked by snow drifts, it was a period that most would rather forget.

However, the indications are that these extreme conditions may not be uncommon in the future. Some weather experts have gone as far as predicting that such harsh winters will become the norm over the next few years.

With this in mind, one Co Wexford engineering firm has decided to develop a novel business idea.

Dermot Redmond Engineering (DRE) Ltd is a light engineering firm located between Bunclody and Clonegal in north Wexford.

Last winter's heavy snowfall created many difficulties for businesses such as DRE Ltd and these were not confined to simply getting to work.

As all the metal and raw materials used in the fabrication workshop were stored outside in an open yard, the snow and ice made it very difficult to move stock.

"This was a big problem for us. The yard was covered in inches of snow and was very hazardous even to get to the office and workshop," explained Dermot Redmond.

"The yard needed to be cleared so we built a snowplough for the forklift and cleared all the snow before it was compacted into a slippery nightmare," he added.

With snow everywhere, Mr Redmond identified an opportunity for a company that could react quickly and get products made.

"A couple of people saw the snow plough and wanted us to manufacture it for them as well," he said. "Things took off from that really and the demand was so high that we ended up working through Christmas to meet it."

The firm very quickly developed snowploughs for mounting on other vehicles as well, including ATVs, tractors, compact tractors and skid steer loaders. They went big on advertising their products, and in their first short period of manufacturing the firm built and sold around 70 different types of snowplough.

"We have developed five new snowplough models to suit commercial ride-on lawnmowers, smaller stud-farm tractors, a new ATV snowplough with no winch, a high-spec machine for contractors and a plough that suits a tractor's front-end loader," Dermot said.

"We have only just finished developing the snowplough for a tractors' front-end loader but the rest we launched at this year's National Ploughing Championships."

Prices range from €695 plus VAT to €2,800 plus VAT depending on the model and the firm has created a dedicated snowplough website www.mrsnowplough.ie where the products can be seen.

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