Freeing runways and taxiways of debris is a daily task that staff at airports and other aviation locations must perform. Foreign object damage (FOD) to aircraft is of serious concern so removal must be done effectively and efficiently. Metal screws, pieces of pavement, and even flattened beverage cans can cause considerable damage if run over by a plane or sucked into the jet engines. Therefore, to keep debris off runways and taxiways, it is critical to select the best performance airfield FOD removal system for the job. There are a variety of FOD sweepers from which to choose and each has their positives and negatives.
There are several types of performance airfield FOD removal systems which include:
Mechanical sweepers have mechanically-moving brushes that sweep debris into a central collection bin. The primary benefit is their ability to sweep larger and heavier materials. Drawbacks to this performance airfield FOD removal system include, brush bristles break often and become FOD, smaller particles are not collected, regular maintenance is required, less effective when the surface is wet, limited warranty, a special operation license is required, and they are expensive to maintain.
Vacuum sweepers work in the same manner as a household vacuum: they suck up and remove debris. These are an excellent option for dusty environments and have small brushes that can remove objects from cracks. On the other hand, the disadvantages include, heavy equipment which can degrade the pavement, slow sweeping speed, require regular maintenance, expensive to maintain, ineffective on wet surfaces, a special license is required, and there is a limited warranty.
Friction Mat Sweepers
Mat sweepers are a mat dragging behind a vehicle that collects FOD through a string of brushes onto the collection mat. Different sized mats fit all various vehicle types, from golf carts to pickup trucks and larger vehicles like at airports or industrial sites. There are multiple benefits of implementing this performance airfield FOD removal system with few downsides. The friction mat sweeper effectively picks up dirt, metal parts, sand, broken pavement, and other small particles. One of the leading friction mat sweepers has a 99% pickup rate which is considerably higher than the mechanical and vacuum sweepers.
Since the friction mat is attached to a vehicle, it can pick clean taxiways and runways quicker and more efficiently than other solutions. Also, since there are no vacuums or motors, mats are maintenance-free and work on wet surfaces. This performance airfield FOD removal system is simple to set up, operate and are versatile enough to connect with any vehicle. This technology is patented, used by most major air forces in the world, operate quietly, do not require a license and can be as large as 24-feet wide. Best of all, there is a lifetime guarantee!