It’s not too often we do work with airports and it’s not that often we do automation off the farm or job site. Our job at the Ithaca Airport was a unique combination of both. Precision Product Specialist, Nathan Wood met this opportunity head on when asked to help improve the efficiency of their snow removal equipment. He was able to install a couple of different systems that allowed the airports snow removal trucks to steer themselves as well as communicate through the cab displays to let the operators know where the others are and where they have been.
“The customer’s objective was to increase productivity and safety on the runway. By adding the guidance systems to each of the trucks, we are able to map the runway so that when there is a fresh coat of snow the trucks do not run off the side of the runway. Each truck will steer themselves allowing them to take full width of their blade or broom without missing any snow and only allow for minimal overlap. With these systems we were able to tie in the option of wireless communication from display to display as well as from the displays to the cloud. Each truck on the runway can see the location, travel speed and area previously covered by the other trucks. The same map can be viewed by air traffic control, management or anyone that needs to keep an eye on the operation with access to the internet. This is going to help the truck operators maintain consistent speeds to avoid accidents with each other as well as allow other departments keep an eye on where the trucks are for air traffic even in white out conditions,” Nathan explains.
The trucks we added these systems to are built by Oshkosh but we should be able to retrofit them to almost any piece of equipment with a steering wheel.