JBT AeroTech has been manufacturing de-icing equipment since the 1960s, but its new Tempest-i de-icer represents a step change.

De-icing is more operator-friendly and efficient than ever, according to JBT AeroTech, thanks to its latest innovation, the Tempest-i de-icer. A series of upgrades have delivered real benefits in terms of ease of operation and maintenance and overall reliability, the Chicago-headquartered company told Airports International. It added that all of the upgrades were designed not only to save customers time and money while easing operator workload, but also to be sensitive to environmental concerns.

Tempest i de-icer

JBT AeroTech’s Tempest-i de-icer has been designed with safety and ease of operation in mind

Easy to operate

At JBT, the objective is to automate as much of the de-icing operation as possible. One recent innovation is the introduction to the Tempest-i of a new smart camera system. Mounted on the Tempest-i chassis and basket, it gives the operator total awareness of his environment and target, effectively minimising blind spots. The system is ‘smart’ because it automatically switches cameras and views to cover operator blind spots based on the Tempest-i’s operational mode. Whenthe operator steers the vehicle to theleft, the left-side camera activates, giving the operator a clear image of the entire left side of the vehicle. The design intentis to ease operations of this critical aircraft-side operation.

The Tempest-i can be worked by a single operator from the de-icing basket or as a dual operator procedure with one person driving the vehicle while the other focuses solely on manoeuvring the boom and spraying the de-icing fluid. It is capable of providing safe, efficient operations in either mode, said the manufacturer.

A critical automation feature for one-person de-icing is the BakTrak design. This improves boom reach, makes operations much simpler and increases vehicle manoeuvrability. BakTrak is a one-person operator control option that orientates directional control (forward/reverse) and steering of the vehicle to the direction faced by the operator. If the operator in the basket is orientated such that he is facing over the rear of the truck, forward for the operator is now orientated the same way. The operator drives forward relative to his orientation, while the vehicle below is moving in reverse. It is the operator, not the vehicle, that dictates the directionality of control inputs.

Tempest de-icer

The Tempest-i’s extended range of operation provides up to 45ft of unobstructed basket reach from the rear of the vehicle

Another operator-assist feature includes EZ-Boom. Controlling the extend, elevate and left/right movements of the boom can be taxing. With EZ-boom, the boom and jib are proportionally synchronised during movement. Maximum extend and height ranges are reached automatically for the operational envelope of the de-icing process. Then, once de-icing is done and the de-icer is ready to travel or park, the Boom Auto Park feature automatically returns the boom to the rest/stowed position. 

Another user-friendly innovation is the automatic park brake set. If the operator gets out of the driver's seat, the park brake sets as a matter of course. In the rush of airport de-icing, operators can sometimes forget this simple but critical task, so the Tempest-i has been designed to perform this procedure.

Further enhancing safety and operational speed is the JBT system of3D radars located around the vehicle and boom. When an object enters the radar’s cone of protection, the operator is notified, and the vehicle slows. People, planes and property around the de-icing venue are thus protected.

JBT AeroTech De-icer drawing 1

The Tempest-i has a simple design and contains 39% fewer parts than similar vehicles

Reliable and easy to maintain

Intelligent design has made the new unit easier to maintain. The Tempest-i is laid out in such a way that virtually all service points and access areas are at ground level. A technician can check fluids, repair components and monitor performance while standing on the ground next to the unit. 

Reliability is enhanced by the huge reduction in the number of parts used and electrical connections landed. Additionally, it is a single-engine vehicle, thereby reducing the reliability issuesof servicing two separate engines. 

JBT AeroTech De-icer drawing 2

With EZ-boom, the boom and jib are proportionally synchronised during movement

The Tempest-i is also available with JBT’s telematics and fleet management software – iOPS. With iOPS technology, hundreds of I/O points on the Tempest-i are continuously monitored in real time with essential data, performance parameters and operational indicators transmitted to management and technicians on mobile and desktop devices. The information can be tailored for the needs of different personnel within the airport based on what they need to see to better do their jobs.