LAS-USA is a premier supplier of integrated solutions for fluid measurement, control and inventory management applications, with systems installed across the US – from Alaska to Maine – and from the UK to Poland in Europe. Company president Jef Gaskill discusses the challenges of coordinating de-icing at major airports, why its aircraft de-icing fluid mixing systems work, and how the glycol consulting system can dramatically improve performance and reliability.

What do you think should be the main considerations for your customers when they are determining the amount of de-icer they need to use?

Jef Gaskill: First and foremost is safety. Our clients all put safety first and would never compromise safety to save glycol. Beyond that, weather conditions will dictate the minimum amount of glycol required. Second, each client will need to determine how aggressively they want to manage their aircraft de-icing fluid (ADF), and this will be based on their specific site personnel, operation and facilities infrastructure. These factors will determine to what degree they can manage their ADF.

Why is your glycol mixing system particularly effective in making sure airports, airlines and service providers use only the amount of glycol they need to get the job done in the specific weather conditions?

Our ADF mixing systems are designed to provide the greatest amount of flexibility to meet most facilities’ available infrastructure, the skill level of their personnel and operational requirements. Our systems are designed to provide highly accurate mixing ratios, from 0 to 100% in 1% increments, which allows the operator to mix to lowest operating-use temperature (LOUT). The systems are also designed to enable the clients to alter the freezing point of existing fluids in the truck.

This is important because the weather conditions will change and new freezing points will either be required or made possible. The systems are fully automated, so the operators do not have to make critical or complicated calculations or system control adjustments when loading their de-ice trucks, and they can be operated by existing personnel.

How does your glycol-system consulting significantly improve clients’ current ADF facilities’ performance and reliability?

ADF facilities and operations are controlled by multiple entities – the airport authority, operations, facilities, GSE, environmental and corporate real estate to name a few – and they all have their own set of priorities and budgets. To properly design an upgrade or new facility requires coordinating all of these entities’ needs and requirements.

In addition to these entities, most airlines or airports will hire an A&E firm to do the initial studies and designs. Most of these A&E firms are not intimately familiar with the intricacies of de-icing operations. LAS’s consulting services provides site evaluations of facilities, personnel, GSE and operational requirements. Engagement with the client and their A&E firm early in the process helps ensure the optimal design and match of our mixing systems with the site infrastructure.

There are facilities that will require two to three seasons to upgrade due to the complexities of budgeting, permitting and so on.

This lead time leaves the client in a vulnerable position if their ADF facilities are inadequate. Our consulting services can help identify and provide viable and cost-effective temporary solutions, which are progressive towards the final solution, to improve the ADF facility’s performance and mitigate risk during this interim period.

We also provide training and operational consulting to help our clients get the most out of their system. Most clients will start conservatively with their ADF management and, as they become more familiar with the system and managing their GSE, we can continue to work with them to develop more-aggressive operational procedures to get more out of their fluid.

Apart from these, what would you say are the key services you offer to airports?

We understand that these systems and types of equipment are mission critical to our clients. Therefore, system support is vital to the long-term success of any system.

We provide on-site and remote support of our systems with LAS engineers and technicians, as well as a network of certified technicians. We can provide pre-season system checks and maintenance to ensure the systems are in good working order and ready for the season. We also provide pre-season training to make sure clients’ new operators are proficient with the system. During the season, we offer 24/7 remote and on-site support.

We provide telemetry systems to monitor fluid movement and storage,. We provide a wireless battery-powered tank-monitoring system that enables our clients to view their tank levels from anywhere they have access to the internet, including on their smartphones. This is another product and service we offer to help prevent fluid exhaustion and improve safety.

We also supply de-icing truck telemetry that helps manage the de-icing operation by providing wireless service dispatch to the de-icing trucks, in-cab airline/aircraft-type-specific de-icing operator instructions, data capture of all transactional data of the service, reporting services and data export to third-party programs.

Finally, we provide total inventory management of fuels, including receipt verification, tank monitoring and inventory management, user identification, authorisation, and measurement and control of dispensing the fuels to consuming assets, or transferring assets.

Who are some of your biggest clients? Why have they chosen LAS-USA, and what has been the feedback so far?

We are providing systems and services to the largest air carriers and service providers in North America. Our clients choose LAS for the unique capabilities of our systems, how well they fit their operational needs, and how well we support our systems and their operation. Our best feedback is repeat orders, and we are blessed with record repeat orders from our existing clients.

This year will be another record one in terms of the number of systems delivered and total turnover. We are thankful for our clients’ repeat business and the continuing education we are getting from them to improve the systems, as well as opportunities to meet additional needs.