Better pumps for aircraft de-icing vehicles

27.10.2000

New Lowara pumps are hydraulically powered multiphase centrifugal units, which run at 2.900 rpm and throw 13 m3 per hour at 12 bar giving overall better performance from a more compact scale. A particular innovation for this new design of de-icer is the use of a single, relatively small and light - yet high performance - pump. The vehicles being replaced had large, heavy, cast iron gear pumps which had many problems, most of them expensive.

Finland - Getting an aircraft to operating height and speed in temperature that can be minus 50 degrees Centigrade at 10.000 meters, even in summer, presents critical challenges - with no margin for error. It is not surprising then, that on the three key players in the world aircraft de-icing equipment market is based in Finland, where frigid weather conditions are commonplace.

A particular challenge is timing . The de-icing mixture - either a heavy viscosity glycol, or a lighter mixture of glycol and water - has a useful life of only ten minutes, the aircraft must be airborne within that time after the process commences, or it must be done again.

The solution lies in the pump. The spraying must be very exact, with very close tollerances for pressure and mixtures, and no room for error in the throw of the pumped material.

The de-icing vehicles, developed by the manufacturer, Keetokore Oy are designed to be operated and driven by a single person who drives to the aircraft. The operator then transfers to a hydraulic cradle which rises well above the aircraft so the entire surface of the wings and fuselage can be sprayed in a single pass, if it does prove necessary to move, the operator can drive the truck from the hydraulic cradle.

These de-icing vehicles are sold around the world, and Lowara pumps supplies by Helsinki based Hekes Oy are now standard fitting. A particular innovation for this new design of de-icer is the use of a single, relatively small and light - yet high performance - pump. The vehicles being replaced had large, heavy, cast iron gear pumps which had many problems, most of them expensive. The new Lowara pumps are hydraulically powered multiphase centrifugal units, which run at 2.900 rpm and throw 13 m3 per hour at 12 bar giving overall better performance from a more compact scale.

Hekes Oy owner Robin Candolin noted that ' It was a competitive market, but we worked harder and closer with the customer to win the business - ' claimed Candolin - We helped to design the equipment and its computerized control systems, and they know they can call us anytime, anywhere to follow up on site if any issues need to be resolved - Candolin continued - 'Reliability and ease of maintenance were key factors also, so the pump we supply - the SV 1608F type - are very easy to replace, and we supply a service kit which means just the wom parts can be repalced when required'.

Since work started in April 99, about ten vehicles have been manufactured with the Lowara pumps. The de-icing trucks are exported around the world, and have a life of ten years and more. The market for these vehicles continues to grow along with the rigorous airline safety regulations.

Source: Xylem Inc.

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