Our ARC 3000 at Dubai Airport - rubber-free runways thanks to ultra-high-pressure water technology

Picture of the world's largest custom Rubber Removal Machine by SMETS Technology at work in the Touch Down Zone at Dubai Airport.

Dubai Airport handles 250,000 takeoffs and landings a year.* This corresponds to about 700 aircraft movements per day resulting in several layers of rubber and soot deposits on the runways every day, which can significantly impair the safety of flight operations due to the loss of friction. Especially wet friction-less runways could cause aquaplaning scenarios. Effective, large-area and reliable cleaning is therefore essential for smooth flight operations.

The ARC is a high-tech system that uses pure waterpower to remove rubber, soot deposits and markings from all types of surfaces (asphalt, concrete or asphalt concrete). It is also possible to roughen the road surfaces. For this purpose, the ARC does not require any chemicals or abrasive additives. It only works with high-pressure water pumps that achieve working pressures of up to 3,000 bar and reach nozzle speeds of over 400 km/h, driven by a 540 kW (734 hp) diesel engine. In this way, the ARC not only ensures an environmentally friendly and resource-saving cleaning method, but also gentle surface treatment (lowest IMPACT) with working widths of 1,000 mm up to 3,400 mm.

The management of Dubai Airport, which is using the ARC 3000® since March 2021, is correspondingly enthusiastic: „The ARC works with enormous precision and for four hours without interruption – we have never seen such a result before.“

This is because the enormous heat in Dubai makes the rubber deposits as viscous as chewing gum and they literally stick to the substrate, making them very difficult to remove. In addition, the high frequency of Dubai Airport allows only short cleaning times. This requires a cleaning system with a very high performance that removes the rubber quickly and reliably. The ARC 3000® with a working width of 3,000 mm, a tank capacity of 37 m³ and residue-free dirt removal even at ambient temperatures of up to +55°C, easily meets these requirements.

Furthermore, the use of the ARC convinces the management of Dubai Airport by a considerable reduction of operating costs. „Previously, we could only deal with the dirt deposits on the runways using very expensive, aggressive and environmentally harmful chemicals and up to four additional sweepers. By using the ARC, the costs for the additional sweepers are eliminated, cleaning is environmentally and resource friendly because no chemicals are used, only pure hydropower, and the costs for maintenance and upkeep of the machine are much lower.“

Due to the extremely high nozzle speeds of over 400 km/h, the water droplets impact the surface with so much energy that all coatings can be completely removed. Unlike a constant, slow water jet, however, there is no volume of water that fills cracks or voids and could lead to chipping or severe damage to pavement surfaces. Thus, the running performance of the ARC 3000® achieves 100% rubber abrasion removal at up to 2,800 m² of treated surface per hour.

Not only is the handling of cleaning operations less complicated, but the ARC is also easy to operate. The entire system is controlled via a 12“ flat screen with touch screen directly from the operator’s cab. Each of the four cleaning units can be individually activated, parameterized or deactivated while the machine is running.

Separate monitors allow the cleaning result to be checked at any time and the pressure of the water nozzles to be increased/decreased as required during operation.

The intelligent control technology ensures that the surface to be treated is not damaged and switches off the high-pressure system as soon as the operator steps on the clutch or brake. In addition, it is equipped with an early warning system with traffic light function, which gives the driver clear instructions for action in his local language in the event of an error message. When the warning level reaches red, the entire machine is automatically deactivated.

A powerful, maintenance-free suction fan with hardened impeller ensures an extremely high air speed and a large air volume (over 15,000 m3/h) that no undissolved substances remain on the surface to be cleaned. At the same time, the noise level in the operator’s cab is comparatively low at approx. 70.1 dB/A.

Opening and closing of the tailgate as well as tilting and emptying of the dirt container are also conveniently performed via a remote control. The ARC 3000® has an integrated high-pressure cleaner so that the emptied container can be cleaned on site immediately.

All ARC models are compact and can be mounted optionally and on 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-axle trucks. „With this new system, we have been able to take a giant step in our work processes. Each cleaning location is ready for use again within 10 seconds, with no standing water or other residue on our runways,“ Dubai Airport management proudly declares. And the environment is further protected.

*Source: https://www.dubaiairports.ae/

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