There is a lot of manual work involved in de-icing and washing aircraft. In sub-zero temperatures when many aircraft need to be de-iced at the same time, this becomes the bottleneck of airport operations and can cause serious flight delays. Cleaning aircraft is also time consuming; it can take up to 10 hours to manually wash a Boeing 737.
igus has produced a short video that shows a fully-automated, all-in-one system, developed by MSG Production AS, that carries out these two jobs. Like a car wash, the aircraft enters the hangar and is pulled by an electric sled and cleaned or de-iced. The system reduces de-icing time to 7 minutes and washing time to 20 minutes.
As the system must function reliably despite humidity, chemicals and cold temperatures, MSG Production places special demands on every component. A total of 25 igus energy chains are used – 19 E4.1 series e-chains and six 2400 series cable carriers. Both energy chains series are made of igumid G, which is insensitive to moisture and chemicals, and remains operational even at temperatures as low as –40degC. The energy chains are also insensitive to dirt and require no lubrication, making them suitable for use in a de-icing or cleaning system where reliability is key.
For the nozzles, igubal pillow block bearings ensure reliable movement in this harsh environment. These bearings are lubricant- and corrosion-free, wear-resistant and has low friction. As with all igus bearing and energy chains, their service life is calculated quickly and easily using online tools, which helps avoid unplanned plant downtimes.