We know that hydraulics have a significant role in aircraft safety operations. But, what about in airports? Definitely, there are. Hydraulics plays an important role in improving productivity and minimizing the required human efforts at airports. If you are still curious, then just rethink what all are the equipment and machinery you saw at the airport. At least, you might have found out a minimum of one hydraulic application used in the airport. If not, then don’t worry, here we are going to discuss some important hydraulic applications at airports.
Passenger boarding bridges: Movable PBBs are common equipment in airports and this will offer vertical & horizontal movement of the platform. Most of these bridges in airports are operated using hydraulic power and this makes it work efficiently with a minimum applied force. The PBBs allow the passengers to board directly from the terminal boarding area. It is possible to position the bridge as per the height of different aircraft doors to help passengers to conveniently board and get off the aircraft. The important parts of these PBBs are the cab, tunnel section/corridor, and support column. Hydraulic cylinder lifts along with pilot-operated checks or counterbalance valves will make the lifting operation smoother and powerful.
Cargo handling equipment: Highly-efficient and cost-effective cargo handling equipment for airports utilizes the power of pressurized fluids for the operation. With different material handling equipment, it will be possible to load/unload cargo to and from aircraft. Cranes, trucks, baggage handling systems, conveyors, etc.. are important types of cargo handling equipment used in airports. Using hydraulics for cargo handling will minimize the required human effort and simplify the loading/unloading operation. The hydraulic power will make the devices to lift, move, or hold heavy loads safely and efficiently. The common parts of every cargo handling equipment are moving turret, fixed pedestal, jib arm, hoist with wire, and base structure.
Also Read: AIRCRAFT HYDRAULIC SYSTEM
Runway cleaning application: The runway of every airport needs to be maintained properly for ensuring the safety of aircraft while landing and take off. Removing the rubber deposits from runways are necessary for avoiding accidents caused by slippage. High-pressure water blasting systems that deliver a maximum pressure up to 20,000psi is mostly used for removing these rubber deposits from runways. The hydraulic system attached to the machinery will pressurize the water and will help to easily clean the surface while operating machinery. Other machinery like dustcarts, trash compactors, high-tip buckets, street sweepers, etc… will also have applications at different other sectors of airports.
Ground support equipment: The support equipment used in the servicing area of airports for assisting major aircraft operations like repairs, maintenance, and servicing is called ground support equipment. Hydraulic power units, aircraft towbars, fluid dispensing equipment, jacks, reservoir service units, rescue & firefighting equipment, de/anti-icing vehicles, etc.. are major ground support equipment utilized in the airports. Ground support equipment will mostly utilize fluids like glycol fluid, petroleum-based hydraulic fluid, and phosphate ester-based fluid. The catering trucks for supplying food to aircraft will also use hydraulic power for operation.
Aircraft hangar doors: The hangar door for the aircraft shed is constructed with heavy metals and it uses hydraulics for lifting and lowering the door. The attached hydraulic cylinder will help to raise heavy loads easily using pressurized fluids. Hangar doors with two lifting points and multiple lifting points are available for airports. Large doors with simplified design and minimum components are key benefits of these hangar doors.