Trip Edge vs. Full Trip – The Differences

Trip happens. Well, at least it should happen.

Let’s face it, stuff jumps out at you in this business. Curbs, manhole covers, control joints…. You name it, we hit it.

To protect operators, machines and plows, you need a trip function. “Tripability,” to coin a term, can be achieved in different ways, but it’s usually done in one of two ways – full trip, where the whole moldboard trips, and trip edge, where just the bottom cutting edge portion of the plow trips back.

So, What’s Better?

Operators often have a preference for one reason or another. In general, full trip is used in conjunction with floating plows, and trip edge is generally used on full down-pressure plows. I say “in general” because there are some functional issues you should think about depending on the type of machine and application you are working in. For now, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of each.

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Trip Edge Pros

  • The major advantage of trip edges is they rarely false trip. In other words, a trip edge plow doesn’t usually trip just from plowing heavy snow; it will only engage when you actually strike something immovable.
  • The second major advantage, especially for skid steers, is that you can apply down pressure to a trip edge without it tripping from the pressure. The result is typically a cleaner scrape.

Trip Edge Cons

  • Trip edges are usually harder to trip, which means it can be more jarring to the operator and harder on the plow and machine when the plow hits an immovable obstacle. Trip edge plows are generally more heavy duty to compensate for this.
  • Because trip edges are often combined with a full down-pressure system, the additional weight on the cutting edge means you’re going to wear through cutting edges faster.
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Full Trip Pros

  • Since the whole moldboard trips, full trip plows are not as demanding on the plow and machine or as hard on the operator.
  • Cutting edges often wear longer because most full trip plows do not have full down pressure

Full Trip Cons

  • Full trip plows false trip. A lot. Whether the snow is wet and heavy, or the hard pack on the surface is too tough, full trip plows often trip even when they don’t hit something immovable. When this happens, the operator usually has to back up, reset, and move ahead again. That costs valuable time.
  • Full trip plows should never be associated with full down pressure, because it simply doesn’t work well. As a result, these plows don’t have the ability to scrape as well because there is not as much weight being applied to the cutting edge.

Which for Which Machine?

Now you have the basics, but they’re just the tip of the plowing obstacle, so to speak.

As I mentioned before, once you get beyond the pro/con overview, functional considerations related to the type of machine and application will drive the trip edge vs. full trip decision. Or at least they should.

To avoid tripping up your efficiency and profitability, come back soon for more depth on the best tripability setup for specific machines.

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