MSG Production: Aircraft handling

Ice-free and ready to fly

Friction-free operation of a fully automatic maintenance system for aircraft enabled by e-chains and igubal pillow block bearings

Stavanger, Norway

Fully automated all-in-one concept for de-icing, maintenance and washing of aircraft

Energy chain systems and igubal® bearings

De-icing, maintenance and washing of aircraft are time-consuming and manual processes even in these times of automation. To reduce time, delays and therefore costs, MSG Production AS has developed a fully automated all-in-one concept that processes aircraft in a standardised manner. Robust igus energy chains help to guide cables safely and easily in a limited space. In addition, lubrication-free igubal bearings enable the fluid nozzles to move.

As soon as the first snow falls in winter and frost sets in, airports step into high gear. Aircraft must be cleared of ice and sprayed with a temporary antifreeze before take-off. When handling many aircraft in a short time, the local capacity of the airport quickly reaches its limits. Currently, ice and snow are usually removed from the aircraft using special open-air vehicles, whereby the vehicles and their sprayers have to be manually operated. In addition to cost and time, there is a high environmental impact, since the wastewater can reach rivers or groundwater without filtration due to lack of discharge control. Similarly, improper operation can lead to the aircraft itself being damaged. A similar problem exists when washing: a Boeing 737 washed manually will take up to ten hours.

Aircraft handling made easy by automatic system

All these challenges were met head on by the Norwegian company MSG Production AS, which developed a fully automatic, multi-functional maintenance hangar. This innovative concept is essentially a washing system for aircraft – with extra features. The handling of the aircraft in the facility is automatic and fast. The processes for the individual aircraft types are programmed into the computer and easy to call up. “Washing an aircraft only takes about 20 minutes instead of several hours, and de-icing takes less than seven minutes,” explains Svein Gunnar Mæland, CEO and founder of MSG Production AS. In addition, the duration of the processing is always the same, which makes the time required for the operations predictable and therefore enables more accurate departure times. “We have developed the system in such a way that customers can freely decide which functions they want to use. For example, the washing facility makes sense in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Thailand, while other countries such as Sweden can additionally use the de-icing feature,” says Svein Gunnar Mæland. Another advantage: The facility can also be converted into a maintenance system. In this case, a camera system visually checks the aircraft for damage such as scratches or dents. Appropriate requirements were placed on the components of the system: resistance to cold and heat, no problems with moisture, chemical resistance, freedom from maintenance and lubricants. In addition, a long service life was required even with high load in continuous operation.

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