Aebi Schmidt is a world leader in smart product systems and services, and a renowned supplier of snow-clearance equipment, sweepers, de-icers and control systems for tough, wintry airport conditions. Christian Stryffeler, CCO of markets and sales global/airport, discusses the company’s commitment to sustainability with its carbon-neutral runway-towed jet sweeper, developed for Swedavia.

Modern air travellers desire carbon-neutrality. This, according to Christian Stryffeler, CCO of markets and sales global/airport at Aebi Schmidt, is an "era of green transportation", to which those in the aviation industry are committed to making a success.

Swedavia, a customer of Aebi Schmidt, is a prime example of this commitment. The company, which owns and operates all of Sweden’s major airports, had the systems and services provider develop a carbon-neutral runway-towed jet sweeper – better known as the Green TJS-C – to help attain its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2020.

"Swedavia had an old fleet of vehicles primarily working with gasoline, which were using a third of the company’s fossil CO2 emissions," says Stryffeler. "Aebi Schmidt cooperated with Swedavia and Volvo to create the Green TJS-C. The prototype was completed in 2010, and we delivered a full series of 29 carbon-neutral machines to Swedavia in October 2014."

The Green TJS-C is an impressive machine that brings together sustainability and economy when removing snow at airports. All the TJS machines are built for fast, effective and intensive cleaning of runways, taxiways, aprons and supply roads – the Green TJS-C is no different.

"High speed and manoeuvrability are the key characteristics of this product," Stryffeler says. "Airport operators are happy about any reduction of CO2 emissions, and airports are increasingly looking for solutions to improve their carbon balance."

Under pressure

The pollutant balance is important because it provides information about how efficiently a company operates, allowing conclusions to be drawn about energy and resource consumption. "There is also political pressure here, and the climate debate does not stop with airports and airport operators," Stryffeler says.

The Green TJS-C is powered by Volvo engines and fuelled by a mixture of biogas and biodiesel but, as it does not differ in power from other TJS machines operating with a conventional Volvo engine, airport operators or ground handlers can expect the same levels of performance.

The machine is equipped with an efficient airport snow plough that ensures snow and ice-free surfaces. The hydraulically-powered sweeping unit is located under the supporting frame and can be locked lengthwise for transport, while the blower unit generates a lateral air flow of up to 145m a second over the complete width, which blows the snow off the runway.

The Green TJS-C operates for over six hours without needing to refuel and is capable of working in harsh weather conditions. Depending on snow quantity, it can work at a speed of up to 50km/h.

Greener, cleaner

The specs are impressive but so too is the feedback from Swedavia, which had its first Green TJS-C operating for a winter season at five of ten airports across the country. Using biodiesel, it reduced fossil CO2 emissions by 20%. For the 2016/17 winter season Swedavia will use biogas and biodiesel, and has calculated that CO2 emissions will be reduced by 60-80% because of the Green TJS-C.

"Swedavia has been happy with the partnership," Stryffeler says, "and Aebi Schmidt has maintained a good dialogue with it – as it does with all its customers – particularly regarding the capability, comfort and usability of the machines it supplies."

Centuries of experience

Aebi Schmidt, which forms two united parts of the ASH Group, has a combined experience of over 200 years. With focus on providing services and products for the treatment of mission-critical infrastructural areas, the company boasts an impressive range of its patented manufactured vehicles, as well as innovative attachments and demountable devices for individual vehicle equipment.

Aebi Schmidt, with production sites in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Norway and North America, is committed to delivering reliable, high-quality equipment, but a defining feature is its dedication to finding the right tailor-made products and services for its customers. Indeed, this is one of the factors Stryffeler attributes to its ongoing success.

Who cares, wins

"The company’s total lifetime care (TLC) ethos sets us apart from other suppliers," he says. "To that end, in November 2016, the ASH Group won the coveted Best Manufacturer prize at the annual Airport Operators Associations Awards.

"This took into consideration the performance and excellence of the products, but also customer service, delivering processes and after-sales.

"Aebi Schmidt is proud of the award and the appreciation by the international judging panel. Decades of know-how, continuous spirit of innovation and keeping an open ear to the needs of customers are the keys to success. That award is an incentive to continue meeting the high demands of airport customers and to always be one step ahead."