Clearing runways of aircraft rubber deposits, which can become slippery and dangerous when wet, is a routine part of day-to-day maintenance at airports, but the method used needs to be safe, efficient and cost-effective. Removing 40,000ft² (3,712m2) of deposits an hour and able to whizz out of the way in an emergency, the Stripe Hog from Waterblasting Technologies is the leading product worldwide. Vice-president of sales and marketing Dave Friday explains.
Dave Friday: Waterblasting Technologies was founded in 1988 by its current president and CEO James P Crocker. It began as a small, primarily residential pressure-cleaning company, and then, in 1995, became a thriving residential and commercial painting company. At this stage, high-pressure water jet pumps became a valued part of the business for removing paint and various coatings. The opportunity soon arose to use these to remove road markings. Crocker was fascinated with the speed of the removal and the jets' ability to remove such tough material without substantially damaging the road surface.
The original Stripe Hog was developed in 1997 as the company sought to develop a machine that could perform the removal semi-automatically with near-perfect and repeatable performance. The company built and rebuilt many machines to serve a growing list of customers using its stripe-removal services. With rigorous research and development, the Stripe Hog paint and runway rubber-removal system has continued to evolve over the years. As the popularity of the units increased, a growing number of contractors thought the Stripe Hog would be a hot commodity if offered for sale. It was becoming clear that there was a great future for waterblasting within runway cleaning and paint removal, and that the Stripe Hog was the industry's fastest and most economical solution by far.
The Stripe Hog debuted at the ATSSA convention in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2005, where it received the Innovation of the Year Award. Today, the Stripe Hog has been sold in 43 countries and is operating in an estimated 80 countries around the world.
The Stripe Hog is the most advanced and productive rubber and paint airport-marking removal system available today. Its captive waterblasting system is ideally suited for all pavement marking removal, runway rubber removal, curing compound removal on new concrete, pavement marking rejuvenation and cleaning, surface preparation, and cleaning oil, jet-blast residue and grease from taxiways and gate areas.
No other system offers the same level of versatility and performance on a single truck chassis. The Stripe Hog's most popular attribute is its ability to remove airport markings and runway rubber from asphalt and concrete without causing any significant damage to the surface. It uses only clean water, without any chemicals or additives, therefore minimising the environmental impact. Rubber deposits, paint and thermoplastic cannot withstand the force of the needle-sharp water jets.
Stripe Hogs can average removal rates of 40,000ft2 (3,712m2) an hour for rubber removal from asphalt and concrete runways, and routinely remove more than 6,250ft2 (581m2) an hour of painted lines.
Liquid and solid debris are recovered at the same time as the blasting process and, on an average summer day, new markings can be applied at the same location within 15-20 minutes. In runway emergency situations, a Stripe Hog can travel safely out of the way within 45 seconds, allowing aircraft to land almost immediately.
The simplistic design, made by a contractor for contractors, is a really attractive offering for customers, and that is illustrated by the fact that more trucks have been sold worldwide than their five closest competitors combined.
After every sale, the customer support and service systems are immediately initiated for customers. Being a contractor gives the company a clear understanding of the urgent nature of customers' businesses. They can reach a technician within ten minutes, 24/7. Support is also available on the website, with online training videos, service bulletins and an online spare-parts store complete with pictures and part descriptions. Waterblasting Technologies also builds upon truck chassis that are sourced within the country of destination, in order to provide a single point of warranty and service for customers throughout the life of the vehicle.