Is That a Single or a Double Double Engine Snow Blower at Your Airport Facility?
David Robichaud, J.A.
Making use of a common catch phrase often heard in many local unmentionned donut and coffee emporiums across the continent is not without reason.
Each Winter, airport managers are faced with the need to control snow and ice on their runways and service areas. Management and staff develop and apply an array of practices and techniques for snow and ice control to minimize the winter hazards and make for safe travel. In North America, over 20 billion $ are spent annually to control ice and snow, and yet blizzards still manage to shut down roadways but rarely do they shut down our airports. This is a testimony to the pride and determination of airport maintenance and operation staff.
New technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) are now used in winter maintenance operations. This technology improves the efficiency and effectiveness of snow and ice control activities and improves safety as equipment position can always be monitored.
Regardless of our efforts, the traveling public desires more. Therefore, we are continually looking for better ways to address snow and ice problems. This task is becoming more difficult because many airports across North America are looking at replacing dual engine snow blowers that are long past their prime. Reliability and availability of major drive components affects our capacity to service these units. The cost of a re-life is often more than the actual market value so equipment managers are trying to determine the most desirable option for their operations. Many of these units were designed in the fifties and sixties when engines had no anti-pollution devices and were much larger and thirstier compared to today. Snow-blowing capacity on many of these dual engine machines is often inferior to modern single-engine units. The operating and lifecycle costs of the single-engine versus dual-engine units have also become a determing factor when choosing equipment today.
Not all operations require 5000 t/hr machines regardless of the annual precipitation. Single engine machines have capacities of 4000 t/hr or more but some operations sweeping practices are attempting to surpass their optimum operating speeds with the objective of keeping more runways open during adverse conditions. This is where the dual engine units have an advantage. Speed is the deciding factor but single engine units have the capacity and travel speed that match existing older machines.
Are we looking at upgrading to higher capacity for the right reasons?
Some operations are looking at loader mounted high capacity blowers for service areas and as back up blowers for their runways. Loader-mounted units have spot-casting directional discharge chutes that are convenient when loading trucks and when you want to lower snow drifts on taxiways for general aviation's smaller planes.
J.A. Larue has worked in the snow removal field for many years and has developed a reputation as a leader in the re-life of older machines which led us to the obvious progression of building our own machines. J.A. Larue's approach to snow blowing can be explained in the most practical terms. Its mission has always been to offer the most robust high performance product using the best available components in North America. It is of no use to customers if the equipment cannot be serviced easily.
The choice of mechanical blower drive systems in lieu of hydrostatic is a practical one because horsepower equals capacity.
In theoretical terms a mechanical snow blower drive system has better efficiency. Power from the engine has to run through a drive system be it mechanical or hydrostatic.The mechanical system can be designed in theory to be 98% efficient. Loss of power because of friction, heat and drive lines reduce power somewhat to approximately 91%. Because of higher losses, hydrostatic or hydraulic systems practical efficiency is more like 68%.
Furthermore, mechanical systems are simpler, easier to repair and less costly to maintain over the lifecycle of the machine.
Some very good reasons to consider a single engine high capacity snow blower:
J.A. Larue manufactures both single and dual engine machines. The knowledgeable staff can help you make the right choice for your operation.
When you say you need a dual engine machine are you certain that you need the extra calories?
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