Persistent equipment for persistent pollution

On the third-largest airport in France, the Aéroport Marseille Provence, with approximately 8,000,000 passengers annually, cleanliness also has top priority. Especially on the start and landing runways, safety must be ensured by constant cleaning and maintenance. We spoke with Bernard Pastor, workshop supervisor at Marseille Airport, on the exigencies of the Marseille Airport at their cleaning vehicles. He told us why and where vehicles of Schmidt have been used for many years and which properties have convinced him and his colleagues.

You have made the acquisition in 2013 for a hot water washer machine on Swingo chassis. What are the principal reasons for the acquisition of this type, especially in the achievement of objectives?

Bernard Pastor: “We are effectively already equipped with a runway sweeper AS 990 from Schmidt, which actually does a very good job in terms of runways, taxiways and aircraft positions. Whereas we needed for the removal of isolated and confined puddles of oil and hydrocarbon, a machine more precise and especially more aggressive with regard to these contaminations. Therefore, we have focused on the compact street washer Schmidt Cityjet 3000 with hot water. This washer machine is mounted on the Schmidt Cargy’s chassis, the same of the worldwide known sweeper. As well as the AS 990, the washer is driven by a dozen of operators riders who find the operation very convenient and reliable. Even though it is in fact only a small vehicle, its concept and implementation with water heating and dirty water collection, require an expert hand and a right observation of the user’s instructions.”

You also have a runway sweeper Schmidt AS 990 fitted for aircraft parking position cleaning. Which points of the “small” washer is complementary to the “large”?

Bernard Pastor: “Both machines complement each other perfectly. As already mentioned the AS 990 can handle very efficiently and at high speed big surfaces, whereas it is not made for cleaning surfaces in detail. To treat these precisely, in deepness and in order to take care of large oil stains especially under the gateways, we turned to a compact washer with hot water, which work with more accuracy and efficiency on these kinds of pollution, as any industrial scrubber or drier with rotating brushes, what we already experienced in the past. This type of machine is expensive in maintenance and operation costs for a very low efficiency.”

Precisely what are the technical points that seduced you in the acquisition of this Schmidt washer?

Bernard Pastor: “We already have a suction sweeper from another manufacturer with 2 big diameter scraping brushes which proved ultimately be more a street sweeper as a surface scraper, by reaching very quickly its limits on this kind of airport pollution. That is why with the Cityjet, we have appreciated the possibility of washing the oil stains at high pressure especially with hot water rather than with brushes that wear out. Important also is that the washer sucks the dirty water. This reduces indirectly our cost of brushes because the Cityjet requires much less wearing parts and is mainly an undeniable Performance gain. The carrier vehicle also has the advantage of being in hydrostatic drive so it can be driven like an automatic transmission vehicle. It also has a high level of comfort, the best on the market, particularly in terms of its hydro pneumatic suspension and fully air-conditioned panoramic cab popular in our regions with very high temperatures.

Related to the washing equipment itself, we particularly like the ingenious work process that allows embarking a large amount of water and making a high-pressure cleaning, either forward or backward with a front mounted wash unit, which is pulled and not pushed, avoiding any accidental breakage. In addition to comfort, the four-wheel steering chassis provides greater maneuverability, highly appreciated to get dirt at airplanes feet. The VM engine, we had no problem with it, on the contrary we have been impressed by its reliability and low maintenance. Only, the control panel provides a high demand on the driver's skills so we need to train each driver very good.”

Which experience do you have with the washer vehicle by today?

Bernard Pastor: ”In summary, after it has passed through the first two years of operation, it does a very good job and has been taken really well in operation. Certainly, there will be many years ahead coming. When I look at the service still providing by airport sweeper Schmidt AS750, we bought in 1992, you can imagine.“

Why do the workers love to drive with a Schmidt machine?

Bernard Pastor: “You know, a little less comfortable or little less effective machine is inevitably rejected by the drivers and it is nice to say that it is not the case of the Schmidt washer. On the contrary, as already stated, comfort has helped them even with the accuracy and effectiveness of cleaning. In any case, there are no rejections of drivers, but rather their full consent!”

What do you think about Schmidt in general and do you like to work with Schmidt?

Bernard Pastor: ”For almost 20 years I have worked with Schmidt machines and I think to know quite well the company from outside. Schmidt is one of the rare manufacturers of airport equipment, which even if there is nothing to sell, visits the airport to inquire of the customer satisfaction and examine the market developments. Schmidt is a faithful supplier attentive to customers and their expectations.”

How would you describe your Schmidt French distributor, the company Europe Service?

Bernard Pastor: “Firstly, regarding to the spare parts, he is one of the few suppliers who actually manages, despite its location in Aurillac in the center of France, to send parts from late in the afternoon and deliver them the next day. Seen from this point of view, I have a very good experience, although it is sometimes difficult in identifying the spare parts but the warehousemen of Europe service in direct connection with Schmidt plants stand behind and are ready all time to take over our demand . I will also praise at the After-Sales team, because they have people quite competent and trained on the equipment on which they work. I can even recommend the After-sales service of Schmidt Europe Service to other suppliers. Commercially, again, there is nothing to say about the scheduled support, attention of the Schmidt Europe Service sales force. These are people you meet at trade shows but also in the work floor!”

Together with Europe Service, takes Schmidt enough in consideration the airport requests and do you feel in good hands, especially regarding after sales?

Bernard Pastor: “Regarding the after sales, I have already expressed myself, but it is clear that we are today, as yesterday, keen to control our operating costs. Moreover, the operating cost of a machine throughout its complete lifetime becomes a very important criterion.

For a distributor, one-shot sale of equipment, everyone knows how, but no monitoring during its complete lifetime, is something that is today forbidden on any airport, even if manufacturer’s plant is at the other end of the world. For instance, we’re getting more and more requirements on the FOD (Foreign object debris) collection what is becoming increasingly important and our sweepers are more and more in preventive operation that means strained. These are effectively the challenges of the airport of Marseille, namely a control of the costs, after-sales and maintenance.

This is also with Schmidt, that I established the first maintenance contract at this time for the snow removal equipment for which it is important for the airport that these equipment’s are ready to clear snow at any day and any hour.