JOMA Plow Blades

Repurposing JOMA Plow Blades for Street Brooms Saves Money, Time and Inventory

by Karl Onsager, Process Improvement Intern
July 17, 2017

JOMA pic
JOMA pic
JOMA pic
JOMA pic

CDOT's Matthew Stearns believed there had to be a solution to the problems posed by the Whitke and Elgin-style mechanical brooms used on CDOT snowplows.

Among the issues:

  • The metal shoe on the main broom wears out quickly;
  • They often take half a day to repair, and it takes about two hours to replace worn ones (assuming the bolts and brackets don't need to be repaired); and
  • It costs almost $800—$400 per side—to replace the shoes, which must be replaced every 400 miles the broom is in use.

Stearns saw an opportunity when he looked at retired JOMA plow blades. While the blades were too worn to be used, he knew they could be put to better use. With some inspiration from the broom-replacement schematics and a little welding, Stearns designed and repurposed the blades to attach to the brooms.

The innovation has exceeded initial expectations.

"It is amazing; the broom has been down for about 1,200 miles, and the blade is only worn a quarter of an inch," Steans says. He estimates the blade will have to be replaced at 1.5 inches.


  • To date, this innovation has saved $2,400. Depending on how long it lasts, savings could be from $6,400 to $14,400 per broom—not including time savings.
  • The new design has all but eliminated the need to repair worn old brooms.
  • While the innovation is being testing in CDOT's Northeast region only, there is ample opportunity for implementation statewide.
    "Lots of maintenance yards have old plow blades lying around," says Stearns, who is helping create schematics and instructions for other teams.