Title:
Snow plow
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plow blade assembly is disclosed that allows the centerline of the plow blade to be moved transversely about the centerline of a plowing vehicle. The operator can extend the end of the plow blade past the side of the plowing vehicle and in front of the vehicle tires. By positioning the blade to one side of the vehicle, the operator can prevent snow from rolling off the end of the plow blade and coming into contact with the vehicle tires and provide a greater distance between the outside edge of the plow blade and the side of the vehicle, including any extending mirrors. The assembly can control the angle of the blade relative to the longitudinal axis of the plowing vehicle and control the position of the blade relative to the centerline of the vehicle. A controller in the vehicle allows the operator to independently position the blade.



Inventors:
Brown, Michael W. (Goffstown, NH, US)
Brown, Charles C. (Dunbarton, NH, US)
Application Number:
10/112816
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
03/29/2002
Assignee:
BROWN MICHAEL W.
BROWN CHARLES C.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/06; (IPC1-7): E01H5/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PETRAVICK, MEREDITH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Norman P. Soloway (Manchester, NH, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A snow plow assembly, comprising: a frame securable to a vehicle; a plow; and a coupling assembly disposed between the frame and the plow, the assembly comprising a first member, a second member, and a first controllable actuator, the first member coupleable to the frame and slidably coupled to the second member, the second member coupleable to the plow, the first controllable actuator coupled to the first member and the second member and configured to urge the second member to move relative to the first member.

2. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the frame is removeable securable to the vehicle

3. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the frame is pivotably securable to the vehicle about a horizontal axis

4. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the plow is pivotable about a vertical axis.

5. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the first controllable actuator is a hydraulic piston.

6. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 further comprising a second controllable for urging the coupling assembly to rotate about a vertical axis.

7. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the second controllable actuator is a hydraulic piston.

8. The snow plow assembly of claim 7 wherein the second controllable actuator is a bi-directional hydraulic piston.

9. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 further comprising a fluid steering assembly to selectively direct hydraulic fluid from a hydraulic pump to either the first controllable actuator or the second controllable actuator based on a received signal.

10. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the first member moves linearly relative to the second member.

11. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the first members comprises a hole for pivotably coupling the first member to the A-frame about a vertical axis.

12. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the second member comprise at least one hole for coupling the second member to the plow.

13. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 further comprising a fluid steering assembly, comprising, a first port coupleable to a hydraulic pump; a second port coupleable to the first controllable actuator; a third port coupleable to the second controllable actuator; and a switch for alternatively coupling the first port to the second port or coupling the first port of the third port based on a received signal.

14. The snow plow assembly of claim 13 wherein the switch couples the first port to the second port when a first signal is received and couples the first port to the third port in the absence of the signal.

15. The snow plow assembly of claim 1 wherein the framw is an A-frame.

16. An coupling assembly, comprising: a first member, a second member and a controllable actuator, the first member linearly slidably relative to the second member along a first axis, the controllable actuator coupled to the first member and the second member to urge the second member to move relative to the first member along a linear path, the first member having a hole for pivotably coupling the first member to an A-frame about a second axis, the second axis generally perpendicular to the first axis, and the second member having at least one hole for coupling a plow thereto.

17. The coupling assembly of claim 16, wherein the first member further comprises a hole for coupling the first member to a controllable actuator coupled to the A-frame.

18. The coupling assembly of claim 16, wherein the controllable actuator is a hydraulic piston.

19. The coupling assembly of claim 18, wherein the hydraulic piston is bi-directional.

20. A snow plow controller, comprising: a first actuator for raising the snow plow off the ground; a second actuator for causing the snow plow to rotate about a vertical axis; and a third actuator for causing the snow plow to move in a plane parallel with the vertical axis.

21. A snow plow controller, comprising: a first actuator for raising the snow plow off the ground; a second actuator; and a third actuator for causing the snow plow to rotate about a vertical axis when the second actuator is in a first position and for causing the snow plow to move in a plane parallel with the vertical axis when the second actuator is in a second position.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present disclosure relates to the field of plows and plow assemblies and more particularly to a moveable snow plow.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Traditional snow plow blades when attached to a plowing vehicle are capable of being raised and lowered and can be rotated about a vertical axis to direct snow to the left or right of the plowing vehicle. A controller inside the vehicle allows the operator to position the blade in a desired orientation. These plow assemblies, however, do no have the ability to move the entire snow plow blade left or right of the center of the vehicle. A problem with these types of plow systems is that snow rolling off the end of the plow blade often curls behind the plow blade and deposits in front of the wheels of the plowing vehicle. This is undesirable because the vehicle wheel compacts the snow on the surface being plowed and reduces vehicle traction.

[0003] The size of a snow plow blade is typically chosen based on the weight carrying capacity of the plowing vehicles and the type of the anticipated plowing. A narrow plow blade allows an operator to carefully clear driveways and other narrow spaces, whereas a wider plow can be used to clear wider areas such as parking lots. A draw back to a narrow plow is that the edge of the plow blade may not extend past the vehicles side mirrors, which can present a problem when trying to remove snow along a garage or other structure. A draw back to a wider plow blade is that it can make navigating narrow spaces and driving in traffic more difficult.

[0004] Some plow assemblies provide a forward extending gate to catch snow rolling off the snow blade. However, these types of assemblies do not allow the operator to move the edge of the plow blade to enable the operator to remove snow along a garage or other structure.

[0005] Some plow assemblies have a support member extending from and attached to the front of the vehicle. The support member is pivotable with respect to the central longitudinal axis of the vehicle and has a snow plow blade attached to it at its remote end. These assemblies typically employ four pistons for offsetting the plow from the central longitudinal axis of the vehicle so that the plow is positioned in front of the tire path of and ahead of the direction of travel of the vehicle. A first set of the pistons is coupled between the vehicle and the structural member and a second set of pistons is coupled between the structural member and the plow blade. The first set of pistons is used to adjust the angle of the support member to the vehicle and the second set of pistons is used to adjust the angle of the plow blade to the support member. The centerline of the plow can be moved relative to the centerline of the plowing vehicle, but the centerline must move in an arcuate path and requires four pistons.

[0006] A prior art snow plow blade 100 is shown in FIG. 1. The plow blade may be an “M” series plow available from Fisher Engineering of Rockland, Me. The plow blade 100 may be made of a curved piece of steel 102 having a front surface 102A for contacting snow to be plowed and a rear surface 102B. A plurality of stiffening ribs 108A-H may be secured, preferably welded, to the back surface 102B and a horizontal stiffening rib 108J may extend along the top edge of the plow blade.

[0007] A trip-edge 104 may be provided along the bottom edge of the plow blade. When the trip edge strikes an obstacle, the lower edge trips back, compressing one or more of the springs 112A-D on the black side of the plow. When the obstacle is cleared, the springs 112A-D return the trip-edge to its normal position. The springs 112A-D extend between the trip edge 104 and gussets 114A-D secured, preferably welded, to the back surface of the plow blade. A pair of anti-wear shoes 106A and 106B may extend beyond the lower surface of the trip-edge 104. The height of the anti-wears shoes may be adjustable. Edge markers 110A and 110B may be coupled to the horizontal stiffening rib 108J to mark the ends of the plow blade 100. A pair of horizontal ribs 116 and 118 may extend along a length of the rear surface of the plow blade 100. The upper rib 116 may have a plurality of holes 116A, 116B, and 116C and the lower rib 118 may have vertically aligned holes 118A, 118B, and 118C respectively. Holes 116A and 118A and holes 116B and 118B may be used to couple the plow blade 100 to a pair of controllable actuators 250A and 250B (see FIG. 3).

[0008] The controllable actuator 250A and 250B are preferably hydraulic pistons having a body portion 254 and an extendable rod 256. A pin 236 may be inserted through the hole 116A, a hole 258A in the controllable actuator 250A, and then through the hole 118A to couple the controllable actuator 250A to the plow blade 100. Likewise, a pin 236 may be inserted through the hole 116B, a hole 258B in the controllable actuator 250B, and then through the hole 118B to couple the controllable actuator 250B to the plow blade 100. A retainer 238 may prevent removal of the pins 236. A hollow cylinder 120 may be aligned with the holes 116C and 118C and extend between the upper rib 116 and the lower rib 118. A first horizontal plate 122 with a hole 122A having a vertical axis may be aligned with hollow cylinder 120. A second horizontal plate 124 with a hole 124A having a vertical axis may also be aligned with hollow cylinder 120. A pivot pin 214 (see FIG. 2) may be inserted through the vertically aligned holes 124A, 116C, 118C, and 122A and hollow cylinder 120 to rotatably couple the plow blade 100 to a cooperating A-frame 200 (see FIG. 2).

[0009] A prior art A-frame 200 is shown in FIG. 2. The A-frame 200 may be available from Fisher Engineering of Rockland, Me. as part number 26090 RD or 26410 HD. The A-frame may be made up of structural member 202A, 202B, and 202C. A pair of tabs 204A and 204B may extend from the structural member 202C for rotatably coupling the A-frame to a frame assembly (not shown) that may be fixedly secured to the frame of the plowing vehicle. The shape and configuration of the tabs 204A and 204B may depend on the A-frame manufacture and model number. A lift arm 206 may also be rotatably coupled to an upper portion of the frame assembly. A first end of a controllable actuator 270 (see FIG. 4), preferably a hydraulic piston, may be coupled to a tab 234 on the lift arm 206 and the second end of the controllable actuator may be coupled to the structural member 202C. As the lift arm 206 is moved upward by the controllable actuator 270, a chain 208 urges the A-frame to rotate upward. Likewise the A-frame lowers as the lift arm 206 is lowered. A first end of the chain 208 may be coupled to a loop (not shown) secured to the A-frame 200. The chain 208 may then be threaded through a loop 220 coupled to the lift arm 206, through a loop 210 coupled to the A-frame 200 and the loose end of the chain 208 may be secured in a slot in a tab 212 coupled to the frame assembly.

[0010] A first pair of horizontal plates 230A may be secured, preferably welded, to the A-frame 200 along a rear portion of the A-frame on a first side and a second pair of horizontal plates 230B may be secured, preferably welded, to the A-frame 200 along a rear portion of the A-frame on a second side. The plates 230A and 230B may have a pair of vertically aligned holes 232 for coupling the controllable actuators 250A and 250B to the A-frame 200. Pin 236 inserted through the vertically aligned holes 232 and a hole 252A in the controllable actuator 250A may couple the controllable actuator 250A to the A-frame 200. Likewise a pin 236 inserted through the vertically aligned holes 232 and a hole 252B in the controllable actuator 250B may couple the controllable actuator 250B to the A-frame 200.

[0011] A hollow cylinder 216 may be vertically aligned and coupled, preferably welded, to a front portion of the A-frame 200 along an upper surface. The first hollow cylinder 216 may be supported by a pair of gussets 218. A second hollow cylinder 224 may be vertically aligned with the first hollow cylinder 216 and coupled, preferably welded, to a front portion of the A-frame 200 along a lower surface. To couple the plow blade 100 to the A-frame 200, the hollow cylinders 216 and 224 on the A-frame 100 are first vertically aligned with the holes 124A, 116C and 122A on the plow blade 100 and then the pivot pin 214 is insert therein. A retainer pin 226 may prevent removal of the pivot pin 214.

[0012] FIG. 3 shows a hydraulic pump 264 coupled to the controllable actuators 250A through a hose 262A and a coupling 260A, to controllable actuator 250B through a hose 262B and a coupling 260B, and to controllable actuator 270 (see FIG. 4) through a hose 262C and a coupling 260C. The hydraulic pump 264 may be secured to the frame assembly and receive signals from a controller located in the plowing vehicle. The controller may signal the hydraulic pump 264 to either pump fluid into or out of a controllable actuator. The hydraulic pump 264 may be coupled to a pair of opposing controllable actuator, for example 250A and 250B. As fluid is pumped out of controllable actuator 250A it may be pumped into controllable actuator 250B. The hydraulic pump 264 may allow fluid to flow from controllable actuator 250A to controllable actuator 250B and vice versa in the event the plow blade 100 strikes a non-moveable object such as a telephone pole or a curb.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] It is an object of the present invention to provide a snow plow assembly having an A-frame securable to a vehicle, a plow, and a coupling assembly. The coupling assembly being located between the A-frame and the plow. The coupling assembly having a first member, a second member, and a first controllable actuator. The first member being couplable to the A-frame and slidably coupled to the second member. The second member further coupleable to the plow. The first controllable actuator being coupled to the first member and the second member and configured to urge the second member to move relative to the first member.

[0014] It is another object of the present invention to provide a coupling assembly, having a first member, a second member and a controllable actuator. The first member is linearly slidably relative to the second member along a first axis. The controllable actuator is coupled to the first member and the second member to urge the second member to move relative to the first member along a linear path. The first member further having a hole for pivotably coupling the first member to an A-frame about a second axis, the second axis generally perpendicular to the first axis. The second member having at least one hole for coupling the second member to a plow.

[0015] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a snow plow controller having a first actuator for raising the snow plow off the ground, a second actuator for causing the snow plow to rotate about a vertical axis, and a third actuator for causing the snow plow to move in a plane parallel with the vertical axis.

[0016] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a fluid steering assembly, comprising a first port coupleable to a hydraulic pump, a second port coupleable to a first piston, a third port coupleable to a second piston, and a switch coupling the first port to the second port as long as a first signal is received and coupling the first port of the third port in the absence of the first signal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent in the following detailed description thereof when read in conjunction with the appended drawings wherein the same reference numerals denote the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prior art snow plow blade;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a prior art “A” frame;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a plan view of the plow blade and “A” frame of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0021] FIG. 4 is a side view of the plow blade and “A” frame of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0022] FIG. 5 is an exploded plan view of a snow-plow assembly consistent with the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 6 is a side view of the assembly of FIG. 5;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a side view of a first component of the assembly taken through line 7-7 in FIG. 5;

[0025] FIG. 8 is a side view of a second component of the assembly taken through line 8-8 in FIG. 5;

[0026] FIG. 9 is a simplified hydraulic schematic useable with the plow assembly of FIG. 3;

[0027] FIG. 10 is a simplified hydraulic schematic consistent with the present invention

[0028] FIG. 11 is a simplified schematic of a fluid steering assembly consistent with the present invention; and

[0029] FIG. 12 is a controller consistent with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] The general arrangement of the elements is shown most clearly in FIGS. 5 and 6. A snow plow assembly includes an A-frame 200 pivotable securable to a vehicle, a plow 100 and a coupling assembly disposed between the A-frame 200 and the plow 100. The A-frame is preferably removeable securable to the vehicle. The A-frame 200 is preferably pivotable about the vehicle about a horizontal. The coupling assembly may include a first member 300, a second member 370, and a controllable actuator 350. The first member 300 may be coupleable to the A-frame and slidably coupled to the second member 370. The second member 370 may be coupleable to the plow 100. The first controllable actuator 350, preferably a hydraulic piston, may be coupled to the first member 300 and the second member 370. The controllable actuator 350 may be configure to urge the second member 370 to move relative to the first member 300. In an alternative embodiment, the second member may be urged to move relative to the first member by a rotatable screw, a cable, a rack and pinion moved by a motor or other suitable means of urging a second member to move relative to a first member.

[0031] The first member 300 (see FIG. 7) may include a first plate 330 having a first pair of horizontally aligned hollow cylinders 334A and 334B (located on a first side 330A) spaced from a second pair of horizontally aligned hollow cylinders 336A and 336B by a distance D. The interior dimension of the hollow cylinders 334A, 334B, 336A and 336B are sized to allow rods 376 and 374 respectively slide therein. A second plate 332 may extend outward from the first side 330A. The plate may have a hole 332A. A third plate 316 and a fourth plate 318 may extend outwardly from a second side 330B of plate 330. The plates 316 and 318 may be made from a section of U-shaped channel stock. The vertical distance between the plates 316 and 318 allows for the controllable actuators 250A and 250B to extend therein. Plate 316 may have a pair of spaced holes 316A and 316B and plate 318 may have a pair of spaced holes 318A and 318B that are vertically aligned with the holes 316A and 316B. Holes 316A, 316B, 318A and 318B are preferably spaced to align with controllable actuators 250A and 250B. Pivot pins 236 may be used to couple the plates 316 and 318 to the controllable actuators 250A and 250B. Retainer 238 may prevent removal of the pins 236. A fourth plate 322 and a fifth plate 324 may also extend outwardly from the second side 330B of plate 330. Plate 322 may have a hole 322A vertical aligned with a corresponding hole 324A in plate 324. The holes may be sized to allow passage of pivot pin 214 to pass therethrough. The vertical distance between the plates 322 and 324 corresponds generally to the distance from the top of cylinder 216 to the bottom of cylinder 224. When the plate 330 is coupled to the A-frame and the controllable actuators 250A and 250B, the plate can be raised and lowered and rotated left and right about a vertical axis.

[0032] The second member 370 (see FIG. 8) may include a first plate 372 having a first horizontally aligned rod 374 spaced from a second horizontally aligned rod 376. The rods may be vertically spaced by a distance D. The ends of rod 374 may be secured in brackets 384 and 386. The brackets may be secured along the bottom edge of the plate 372. The first end of rod 376 may be secured in bracket 378 and the second end in bracket 420. Bracket 378 may be made up of a first element 382 and a second element 378. The first element 382 may have a hole 382 extending therethrough. The brackets 420 and 378 may be secured along the top edge of the plate 372, preferably welded. A second plate 388 and a third plate 3902 may extend outwardly from the plate 372. Plate 390 and may have a pair of spaced holes 390A and 390B that are vertical aligned with corresponding holes 388A and 388B in plate 388. The holes may be sized to allow pins 412 to pass therethrough. A retainer 416 may prevent removal of the pins 412. The holes 390A and 390B may be spaced to align with holes 116A and 116B on plate 116 on plow blade 100. The vertical distance between the plates 388 and 390 corresponds generally to the distance from the top of plate 116 to the bottom of plate 118 on the plow blade 100. Plates 388 and 390 may have cut outs 398 and 400 aligned with ribs 108C and 108D. The plate 390 may have a vertically aligned hollow cylinder 392 extending upwardly. The cylinder 392 may be supported by gussets. The opening in the hollow cylinder 392 may be sized to allow a pin 410 to extend therethrough. A retainer 414 may prevent removal of the pins 410. The pins 410 and 412 fixedly secure the second plate 370 to the plow blade 100. Rods 374 and 376 extend through brackets 334A and 334b and 336A and 336B respectively to slidably couple the first member to the second member.

[0033] In an alternative embodiment, the second member may be welded to the backside of the plow blade 100.

[0034] The controllable actuator 350 may have a body portion 352 having a bracket 356 secured at a first end and a moveable cylinder 354 extending from a second end. The cylinder may have a bracket 358 at a distal end. The bracket 358 may have a pair of horizontally aligned holes for securing the bracket 358 to bracket 378 on the second member 370 of the coupling assembly. The bracket 356 may have a vertically aligned hole for securing the bracket 356 to bracket 332 on the first member 300 of the coupling assembly. The controllable actuator is preferably a hydraulic piston manufactured by Chief of Romania under part number 214945 and has a 24″ stroke. Other pistons may be used with out departing from the present invention. The controllable actuator 350 may be bi-directional, capable of moving the cylinder 354 in and out. Alternatively, two separate uni-directional pistons may be used without departing from the present invention. The controllable actuator body portion 352 may have a first coupling 360 coupled to a hose 364 and a second coupling 362 coupled to a hose 366. Operation of the controllable actuator 350 will be discussed below.

[0035] FIG. 9 is a simplified hydraulic system schematic of the plow assembly of FIG. 3. The hydraulic system includes a hydraulic pump 264, hydraulic hoses 262A-C, and controllable actuators 250A, 250B, and 270. The hydraulic pump 264 is powered by a powered supply (not shown) and pumps hydraulic fluid from a reservoir to a controllable actuator. The hydraulic pump 264 receives control signals from a controller 500 typically located inside the plowing vehicle. The controller 500 is capable of raising and lowering a coupled plow blade by pumping hydraulic fluid into or out of controllable actuator 270. The hydraulic fluid is transported to the controllable actuator 270 through a coupling 264C located on the hydraulic pump 264, a hose 262C and a coupling 260C located on the controllable actuator 270. Hydraulic fluid can be transferred from the left controllable actuator 250A to right controllable actuator 250B to cause a coupled plow blade to rotate counterclockwise about a vertical axis. Hydraulic fluid may be pumped from the controllable actuator 250A, through a coupling 260A, a hose 262A, and a coupling 264A located on the hydraulic pump 264 and into the hydraulic pump 264. Fluid may then be pumped from the hydraulic pump 264, through a coupling 264B located on the hydraulic pump 264, a hose 262B, a coupling 260B located on the controllable actuator 250B and into the controllable actuator 250B. Likewise a coupled plow may be caused to rotate clockwise by transferring fluid from the right controllable actuator 250B to the left controllable actuator 250A.

[0036] The controller 500 may have an “up” actuator 502 for causing a coupled plow to rise, a down actuator 504 for causing a coupled plow to lower, a “right” actuator 506 for causing a coupled plow to rotate clockwise, and a “left” actuator 508 for causing a coupled plow to rotate counterclockwise. The controller 500 may be coupled to the hydraulic pump 264 by a cable 510. Alternatively, the signals may be sent by radio frequency.

[0037] FIG. 10 is a simplified hydraulic system schematic consistent with the present invention. The system adds a fourth controllable actuator 350, a fluid steering assembly 700, and hoses 264A′, 264B′, 364 and 366 to the system schematic shown in FIG. 9 and replaces controller 500 with a controller 600. Hydraulic hoses 264A and 264B are now coupled to the fluid steering assembly 700 at couplings 702A and 702B (see FIG. 11) respectively. Controllable actuators 250A and 250B are now coupled to the fluid steering assembly 700 at couplings 702A″ and 702B″ respectively. Hoses 364 and 366 are coupled at a first end to the fluid steering assembly 700 at couplings 702A′ and 702B′ respectively through hoses 264A′ and 264B′ respectively. The other end of hoses 364 and 366 are coupled to couplings 360 and 362 on the fourth controllable actuator 350.

[0038] When fluid is pumped from the hydraulic pump 264 to the controllable actuator 350, the second member 370 is urged to move relative to the first member 300. Fluid pumped through coupling 360 causes the plow blade to move perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the plowing vehicle towards the right and fluid pumped through coupling 362 causes the plow blade to move perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the plowing vehicle towards the left. Bushings and/or bearings may be added to allow the moving parts to slide more freely and parts may be coated with a lubricant to reduce friction and help prevent rust or corrosion.

[0039] A cable 604 couples the controller 600 to the hydraulic pump 264 and the fluid steering assembly 700. A portion 604A of cable 604 couples the controller 600 to the fluid steering assembly 700 and a portion 604B couples the controller 600 to the hydraulic pump 264.

[0040] The controller 600 includes a handle portion 602 and an actuator portion 606. The actuator portion may have an “up” actuator 610, a “down” actuator 612, a “right” actuator 614 and a “left” actuator 616. The actuators send signals to the hydraulic pump 264. The controller 600 may also include an actuator 618. The function of the “right” actuator 614 and the “left” actuator 616 may be changed based on the status of the actuator 616. The actuator 616 is preferably a momentary actuator, however maintained actuator may be used. When the momentary actuator 618 is not being actuated, a pair of controllable switches 704A and 704B in the fluid steering assembly 700 fluidly couple coupling 702A to coupling 702″ and coupling 702B to coupling 702B″. The controllable switches preferably work in unison. When the momentary actuator is actuated, a signal may be sent to the fluid steering assembly 700 to toggle the position of controllable switches 704A and 704B. During this time, the pair of controllable switches 704A and 704B fluidly couple coupling 702A to coupling 702′ and coupling 702B to coupling 702B′. The “right” actuator 614 now causes a coupled plow blade to travel linearly to the right and the “left” actuator 616 causes a coupled plow blade to travel linearly to the left. When the actuator 618 is released, the controllable switches 704A and 704B in the fluid steering assembly 700 may return to their original position. Using a momentary actuator is preferred over a maintained actuator because if the fluid steering assembly is left in the second position and the coupled plow blade strikes a non-moveable object the first controllable actuator 250A and the second controllable actuator 250B may be damaged. Alternatively, the controller 600 may have a dedicated actuator 620 for controlling the side-to-side position of a coupled plow blade.

[0041] Alternatively, actuator 618 may send a signal to the fluid steering assembly 700 to change the state of the switches 704A and 704B. In an alternative embodiment, the fluid steering assembly 700 may be separated into two separate enclosures.

[0042] In another alternative embodiment, a hydraulic pump with five or more couplings may be used. This embodiment is less preferred to the hydraulic pump 264 due to cost.

[0043] It should be understood that, while the present invention has been described in detail herein, the invention can be embodied otherwise without departing from the principles thereof, and such other embodiments are meant to come within the scope of the present invention as defined in the following claim(s)