Airbus – wings of the world counts on Schmidt technology

Airbus UK has taken delivery of a SNK 55.1 snow plough and a FS90 snow cutter blower to add to its winter fleet. Delivered at the end of 2015, the machines are deployed at the company’s facilities in Broughton, North Wales.

Broughton is one of the two sites in the UK (the other one being Filton, near Bristol) where Airbus aircraft wings are designed, engineered and produced. Airbus in the UK is a world leader in wing design, engineering and manufacturing and is a key centre for the testing and integration of fuel systems and landing gear. However, the new SNK 55.1 and the FS90 are not the only Aebi Schmidt equipment working at Broughton: “In 2012 we purchased two TJS jet sweepers to replace two units of a different brand. That was followed in 2014 by the first SNK 55.1 snow plough. And that same year we purchased two magnets for FOD detection that were fitted to the rear of both Schmidt sweepers,” explains Nick Trueman, Operational Compliance Officer, Aerodrome Management – GWLUA, AIRBUS in the UK.

The SNK 55.1 is a lightweight snow plough with optimum clearing properties, ideal for attachment to tractors and trucks with low payloads. The FS90 snow cutter blower is designed for severe winter service and can be used for clearing high levels of hard, icy snow as well as for removing the side walls of snow left behind by snow ploughs.

It is the sweepers, however, which see the most action at Broughton. “We now have four sweepers, two of which are Schmidt, with the aim of having a minimum of three machines operational at all times,” says Nick. Apart from snow clearing, the Schmidt sweepers are used for removing water and rubber from the runway all year round. “The runway has to be available all day, from 06:30 to 23:59 for Beluga deliveries supporting wing production,” explains Nick referring to the large Beluga planes, the world’s most volumetrically cavernous aircraft, able to carry huge cargo loads. The Beluga plane has the widest fuselage of any plane in the world, civil or military, and although it was specifically designed to carry aircraft parts for Airbus, over the years it has been contracted to carry other unusual loads such as whole helicopters and international space station modules.

And how has the Aebi Schmidt equipment performed so far? “We continually assess our snow fleet and how we can improve our equipment.The Schmidt equipment has proved very reliable, with good after sales service and technical back up,” says Nick.