January 1, 2011

AVION 50 Runway Rubber Removal Vs. Water Blasting

What do I think about Avion 50’s position on their website regarding water blasting? Instead of simply giving a seemingly biased opinion please allow me to share a couple of facts.

I have surveyed every single airport in North America with a passenger count of over 1 ML passengers per year. This has put me in touch with the facts and reality of rubber removal methods currently being used.

60% of North American airports currently use water blasting for their rubber removal, 31% use chemicals and 9% do not need to do rubber removal because it is naturally removed with the de-icing chemicals and snow removal processes combined with low traffic volumes throughout the year.

The airport individuals I have spoken to about what is on Avion’s website say that it’s obvious to them that they are not accurately portraying water blasting and in the end it only hurts their credibility because it makes them look like they don’t know what they’re talking about.

I must thank you because what you have helped me to realize is that I need to take their webpage content and text and create a document that speaks to the reality of their position.

For instance, I hired a 3rd party, iso certified, lab to test our rubber removal debris that was collected during a rubber removal job on an asphalt surface. There was only 13% of the material that they could not accurately identify. The 87% was identified as components of rubber and had absolutely no traces of aggregate or materials pertaining to the asphalt surface. The 13% unidentified, they said, could have been dust from the environment, dirt, jet fuel, etc. Bottom line is Avion’s statement that says 80% of the collected debris from the water blasting method for rubber removal is so far fetched it dramatically reduces their credibility.

I understand there is little to no FOD on the runways but if you took a sweeper and ran it down a grooved asphalt runway from one end to the other what do you think you would find? I’ve never done this test but you see my logic and I will try to find someone to do this test as well to keep it factual.

The major North American airports that I have spoken to say that after a certain number of cleanings with chemicals they must do something like water blasting or shot blasting because the chemicals lose they’re effectiveness and reach a point that a chemical cleaning cannot bring the friction levels up to where they need to be. Kind of ironic but, I just received a call while writing this email from a major NA airport that was complaining that after using Avion 50 over time, they can go back to the runway a week after a cleaning and they can’t tell that it was ever cleaned. He wanted to know more about the statements in our materials that speak to the fact that the water jets penetrate the tiniest of pores and with our simultaneous vacuum recovery the rubber is immediately extracted while in a suspended state which results in a deeper cleaning which translates into fewer cleanings needed.

Another fact is the Stripe Hog, with a properly trained operator, will not damage the surface by altering or polishing the shoulders of the grooves whether on concrete or asphalt.

I will work on further developing these initial thoughts regarding the Avion website statements and chemical cleaning vs. water blasting cleaning for rubber removal.