With more than 500,000 aircraft movements per year at the world’s busiest airports, runways are subject to heavy demands and numerous take-offs and landings. The condition of those runways has a direct impact on the safety of passengers and workers – so airport operators must be diligent to ensure their surfaces are properly maintained.

Rubber and debris removal is a crucial element of an operator’s responsibility. Every time an aircraft lands, it leaves around a kilogram of rubber on the runway. Built up rubber reduces the friction of the surface. Left unchecked, this means aircraft can no longer make safe landings.

Every airport is required to remove rubber from its runway, and the governing authority usually publishes requirements for the frequency and quality of removal. For operators, choosing the right equipment enables them to meet these requirements and, more importantly, ensure the safety of their users, while safeguarding the efficiency of their operations.

Introducing the Stripe Hog

When James Crocker faced the challenge of rubber removal 18 years ago, he felt the major pain points of equipment cost, the ability to get parts and a lack of customer support. Now the owner of leading water blasting equipment manufacturer Hog Technologies, Crocker felt he could develop equipment that could do better – and the Stripe Hog was born.

With rubber removal rates of up to 30,000 sq ft per hour and a power of 40,000 PSI, Hog Technologies’ Stripe Hog is a market-leading piece of water blasting kit designed to maintain runways. The Stripe Hog has been in production for 17 years and is now used in major airports across the world, including Dubai International Airport and Atlanta Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports.

“One of the reasons that the Stripe Hog is so popular is that they are so easy to maintain and repair in the field,” says Vince Giordano, vice president of sales at Hog Technologies.

This is a huge bonus in a market where equipment usually requires multiple people, specialist tools and days at a time to repair. The Stripe Hog is built differently, Giordano explains: “All of the major systems can be worked on in the field. The pump can be disassembled and reassembled in 30 minutes.” This means less downtime, fewer man hours and, ultimately, more debris removed.

Satisfied customers

All the benefits of the Stripe Hog lead to happy customers, and the proof is in the numbers: “We are one of the only manufacturers in the world that have airports that have made multiple purchases of a machine,” says Giordano. “For example, Dubai Airport has six, and Houston Airport Group has three.”

Alongside high-specification equipment, customers benefit from Hog Technologies’ commitment to service excellence, which is based on three primary axioms. The first is customer support, which is available 24/7 in any language over the phone. The second is spare parts shipping, with 98% of spare parts being shipped the same day the order is received. The third is Hog’s world-class training and operator certification programme. With a database of thousands of help videos and providing the highest standard of training in the industry, the Hog Tech University is designed to maximise productivity, minimise costs and optimise results.

Looking forward

At a time when the travel industry is working hard to recover from unprecedented upheaval, Hog Technologies is ready to get its customers back up and running with the highest safety standards.

“Covid has had a major impact on airports,” says Giordano, “But when the pandemic is under control, most of the airline business will rebound, and there will be a flood of orders from airports that need equipment. We already have open tenders at airports including Shanghai.”

The Stripe Hog already has a global footprint, and the future looks bright. When tourism returns to full force, water blasting technology will enable airport operators meet it safely.