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De-icing aircraft during winter relies on quickly filling de-icing vehicles with the correct mix of fluid and water and then heating this solution to the correct temperature.

Honeywell technology can automate this process and reduce the time it takes to create an accurate mix and fill de-icing vehicles.

A true ratio-control strategy gives operators real-time visibility into plant operations and lets them make quick decisions.

Aircraft grounding services at Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5 needed to automate the filling of de-icing vehicle tanks.

This would remove the need for operators to climb on the vehicles to refill tanks.

The concentration of the fluid/water mix dispensed into the de-icing vehicles must be closely controlled within a strict tolerance.

Anti-icing is the application of neat fluid (100 per cent) to prevent ice formation on the aircraft flight surfaces.

In contrast, de-icing is the application of a diluted fluid (50/50) mixed with water to wash and blast-off snow or ice deposits that have formed on the flight surfaces.

The de-icing vehicles have two separate tanks, one for neat fluid and one for mixed fluid with the fill points mounted on the side of the vehicle.

There is no access to the top of the vehicles to monitor the filling via open hatch.

The requirement was to be able to fill both tanks concurrently.

Honeywell’s wireless technology offered the ideal solution.

Each of the 16 fleet vehicles was equipped with one dual analogue XYR wireless transmitter and one dual digital transmitter.

The vehicles are also tagged with an RFID tag which is passed to Honeywell’s distributed control system, the Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), which maps the vehicle level transmitters to the correct filling point.

The operator connects the hoses to the vehicle fill-points and a touch-screen HMI guides the operator through the filling procedure.

The filling stops when a predefined level is reached.

The digital discrete transmitters provide additional overfill protection.

Each transmitter and base-station health status is monitored by the Experion system and alarms are raised to alert maintenance staff to perform diagnostics checks.

Manchester Airport faced a similar challenge.

The solution included a pumping system, which ensures accurate and repeatable dispensing of various de-icing mixes from water through to 100 per cent neat fluid.

The pumping system can also dispense into any size de-icing vehicle.

Modulating the speed of the pumps controls the mix concentration, a feature provided by Honeywell NXS Variable Frequency Drives (VFD).

Honeywell’s HC900 Controller is configured to provide true ratio control based upon the fluid flow rate.

This means the mix remains constant even if the fluid flow varies.

The HC900 also controls the sequencing of the motorised valves and pumps, the combination changing according to the mix selected.

For those needing an auditable trail of dispensing operations, a panel-mounted printer provides records quickly and conveniently.

The backup system utilises a PLC with manual selection of the required mix.

The mix flow-rates are controlled with two Honeywell UDC3300 controllers configured to provide true ratio-control based on fluid flow rate.

The HMI can be mounted in the main control panel or remotely, depending upon the site application.

The standby controls and VFDs can be mounted beneath weatherproof covers, enabling the skid assembly to be used outdoors.

If required, the skid can be constructed as a mobile unit to enable rapid repositioning.

Optionally, a local gas-fired heater can be supplied to heat the mixed fluid/water as it is dispensed.

The new system has helped the airports reduce the time needed to fill de-icing vehicles.

Additionally, neat fluid can now be dispensed directly from the hot-fluid storage tank, reducing the time needed to heat the solution in the vehicle.

The HMI gives operators real-time visibility into plant operations, so they can take immediate action in the event of an incident.

Honeywell’s Experion PKS also controls storage and dispensing operations at major bulk de-ice facilities at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

These SCADA packages can easily be added to the system described above.

This will provide airlines with real-time data analysis and database management tools to track the de-icing fluid from delivery to dispense.

Honeywell Process Solutions

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