Having considered in the previous article some of the latest offerings from manufacturers such as Aebi Schmidt and Oshkosh that are dedicated to the on-airport snow clearance market, Airside also talked to Tony Duff, sales manager at Irish GSE supplier Multihog about his company’s latest product news
Q. WHAT NEW GSE HAS MULTIHOG DEVELOPED OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SO?
A. We have developed four new attachments specifically for airport application on the Multihog range of vehicles over the past year or so. The first is a box plough – a snow plough with wings on the edge to better control the direction of snow clearing.
The second is a runway light cleaning attachment that has been delivered to our first customer, an airport in the UK. Third is a glycol recovery attachment that is rear-mounted (again, also delivered to a UK airport). Fourth is an attachment we manufacture ourselves, and is an addition to our popular combi snow plough and brush attachment range – this combi has hydraulically adjustable wings on the plough for better directional control when snow clearing.
We are also seeing more and more interest from the airports in our patch planer, which is a very popular attachment for our municipal customers.
Q. ARE YOU SEEING STRONG DEMAND FOR YOUR AIRPORT APPLICATIONS?
A. We have now started selling in Canada, with three major contracts agreed there so far. First, Toronto International Airport (operated by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, or GTAA) has five units of our MX120 vehicle kitted out with combi snow plough and brush, salt spreader and snow brush attachments.
Second, Montreal Airport has two MXC120LP vehicles and one MH90 unit, operating with combi snow plough and brush attachments, in addition to a rotary mower and watering arm for summer maintenance. The gateway is also using a patch planer attachment.
Finally, Winnipeg Airport is also using a combi MH90 vehicle, as well as an ice-breaker attachment to help remove compacted snow and ice.
Elsewhere, we have also sent our first machines to China, to Zhengzhou Airport. It has taken delivery of five MH90 vehicles: de-icers, combi snow plough with brush attachments and a sweeper.
Eastern Europe is also a new market for us – we are currently preparing to deliver the first tranche of machines to Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport, which will operate a total of seven Multihog vehicles by 2018, employing the ever-popular combi snow plough and brush attachments, snow blowers, de-icers and salt spreaders. On that side of Europe we have also delivered a machine to Lodz Airport in Poland – it has a lot of attachments for its MX100 vehicle: snow plough, salt spreader, mast, snow brush, rear tipping body and sweeper.
Q. HOW ARE YOU SEEING THE MARKET FOR SNOW-CLEARING GSE CHANGE RIGHT NOW? WHAT ARE BUYERS’ BIGGEST PRIORITIES?
A. We are seeing multi-functionality becoming ever more important. Meanwhile, as always, value for money and safety are priorities and, of course, efficiency in winter operations is a big factor for buyers.
Q. WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR COMING MONTHS?
A. We will be working on increasing our presence in the Chinese and US airport markets, as well as building on our recent successes in Canada. Over the past year, we have started offering a lot of new attachments to airport operators, making the machine more multifunctional than ever – something that we’ve found is particularly important for smaller airports with tighter budgets.
Q. WHAT LONG-TERM TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN TERMS OF AIRPORT SNOW CLEARANCE EQUIPMENT? WHAT ROLE IS MULTIHOG AND ITS R&D PLAYING IN THIS PROCESS?
A. Equipment is certainly not becoming cheaper. We believe that customers are starting to recognise the value of having quality products for the unpredictable weather winters inevitably bring.
We are also seeing an increased demand for all-season equipment, which doesn’t spend six months of the year in storage. Justifying capital expenditure on quality equipment is easier and makes more sense if it can be used all year round and in various areas of the airport, particularly with smaller airports or those processing smaller passenger numbers. With a large R&D team working full-time, we are always developing and discovering new attachments to meet this trend.