Interview with Development and Product Management
Schmidt has already amassed more than 30 years’ experience of working with airport spraying equipment. True to the motto of top technology as a matter of principle, the Schmidt ASP range was completely redeveloped for Inter Airport 2017. Product Manager Jan Warmelink (JW) and Developer Christian Heuvel (CH) take us on a journey from the initial concept to the finished product.
The Schmidt ASP airport sprayer is used for de-icing runways as well as taxiways and apron areas. What promoted the triedand-tested sprayer to be redeveloped?
CH: Feedback from our customers is extremely important for the successful development of our quality products. By focusing strongly on our customers, we know the needs of the market and constantly endeavour to put these into practice in the best way possible. We therefore identified the potential to make improvements to the Schmidt ASP at an early stage.
JW: During intensive workshops with the sales team, we worked out the improvements and modifications required to redevelop the Schmidt ASP range from the bottom up. This was the hour of birth of the new generation of ASP.
The concept is in place, what are the crucial steps on the path to delivery?
CH: The very first thing is to develop a prototype. But before this the development team must tackle many challenges, for example coordinating the hardware and software. In the spraying arms, for example, there are multiple sensors which report back the exact position of the spraying arms to the software, and this is displayed precisely on the control panel. This allows any possible collisions to be avoided and the driver has a complete overview of the spraying operations at all times.
This is followed by the extremely important test phase. Particularly with a new development, as is the case with the Schmidt ASP, this step is crucial. After, the first machine was delivered to Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden.
JW: The team in Stockholm were impressed by the new-generation Schmidt ASP. After two months, the evaluation took place in March directly on the ground. There were just a few small things that still needed to be improved. For the new ASP, we have taken account of the customer experiences that we have gathered from the previous ranges and types. We are therefore convinced that the Schmidt ASP is ideally equipped to meet future challenges for our customers.
Now amaze us – what is so much better about the “new generation”?
JW: On the exterior, the modern design is visually very striking. This reflects the new overall concept for the airport equipment, as was launched for the Schmidt TJS 2015 jet sweeper. The machine boasts a number of new features on the inside, for instance the innovative Evolution-Smart (ES) control system from Schmidt. This includes, for example, a closed control loop system. This ensures that environmental influences and any disturbances are overridden in the best way possible, thus guaranteeing very precise distribution of the de-icing agent. Via the colour touch display, the driver retains an overview of the current status and the spraying arm positions at all times.
CH: It takes less than 30 seconds to fold out the spraying arms and this can even be done whilst the vehicle is driving. This means the machine is ready to be deployed in a very short time. The stable spraying-arm design enables working speeds of up to 45 km/h. Tests have shown that they are also extremely robust during emergency braking and can withstand any hindrances. The nozzles are newly integrated in the frame so that they are even better protected in the event of any collisions. The external arm sections can be operated asymmetrically, which means maximum flexibility for the driver and for de-icing.
What demands will be placed on an airport sprayer in the future?
JW: Digitisation is also having an impact on airport equipment. The future trends are heading in the direction of communication between the machines for automated clearance of runways. But greater awareness of environmental aspects is also demanding that resources are handled carefully, for example by saving fluid. One of the ways that this is done is by using automatic spraying systems which operate extremely efficiently thanks to exact metering. This also includes using management information systems to monitor the use. Our control units are already compatible with such systems today. In addition, we offer driver assistance systems which prevent areas from being missed out or sprayed multiple times.