Street Cleaning and Winter Road Services at IFAT
When it comes to winter road services and street cleaning, what is important are performance, safety and cleanliness, and of course cost-efficiency. The suppliers of equipment, systems and services in this field are doing their bit via their solutions to ensure these goals are achieved. A comprehensive review of this market will being presented at the environmental technology show IFAT from May 5 to 9, 2014, in Munich, Germany.
When roads have to be de-iced, then it is always a case of applying as much thawing agent as necessary in order to ensure the safety of road traffic under the prevailing weather conditions, but also to minimize the amount of thawing agent used in order to limit the environmental impact and to reduce the costs. “Therefore it is a common interest of manufacturers and users to operate spreading machines in such way that a homogeneous distribution of spreading material is achieved within the set pattern track,” said Frank Diedrich from the manufacturers’ association EUnited Municipal Equipment. So far in Europe there have been a number of different test methods for establishing the spreading pattern and performance. EUnited has now developed a common test procedure that can be applied across the continent. The special aspect of this test is that the equipment is tested in a hall. “This makes it possible to assess the spreading pattern independently of wind and weather and to compare the spreading pattern of different types of spreader,” explains Mr. Diedrich. So far the tests have only been carried out using solid spreading media. Local authority winter road services, however, are very keen on combined solutions featuring liquid components: When dealing with a thick layer of ice, or heavy snow, prewetted salt – a very effective medium – is spread by the spreader vehicles while at other times they spray the more cost-effective brine. According to Frank Diedrich, by the next IFAT it should be possible to also compare the spreading quality of liquid thawing media.
According to the German Association of Local Utilities (Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen - VKU), spreading brine is particularly effective in guarding against sheet ice. With this medium, unlike with salt grains, the movement of the vehicles themselves and the wind cannot blow the spreading agent off track. Which means that less salt can be used to achieve an equally effective thawing result.
Another area in which the efficacy of winter road services is being enhanced is the use of built-in temperature-registering devices in spreading vehicles, now increasingly fitted as standard. They measure the temperature of the road surface with great precision and that information helps the operator decide on the precise quantity of spreading material necessary to deal with those conditions. In addition more and more local authorities are making use of professional weather-information systems. “The additional costs for detailed, precise measurements and reliable forecasts are generally recouped quickly. Because it provides a basis for deploying the limited resources in terms of personnel, machinery and materials in a more targeted way,” explains an expert from the VKU.
At the next IFAT in 2014 around 15,000 m2 of space is being dedicated to the section on “Street cleaning, maintenance and winter road services”.
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