Recap: SWIFT Conference

          The Summer Winter Integrated Field Technologies (SWIFT) Conference was held in Vancouver, British Columbia last week, September 9-12. Ronnie Roach, our Airport Asset Management Advisor, represented Chemtek offering two solutions to improve airport operations: Avion50 NexGen and NeSilex Silica Dust Suppressant. Avion50 NexGen is a runway rubber remover that is gentle on runways yet tough on the rubber. Quality rubber removal is essential for ensuring a safe landing place for airplanes. Avion50 NexGen is the safest option for personnel as well as the environment. NeSilex is another solution that prioritizes personnel safety. When added to water spray down systems for sweeping operations at airports, the amount of both visible dust and respirable crystalline silica dust is drastically reduced. These two solutions were met with great enthusiasm from many SWIFT Conference Attendees.

          On Tuesday, the Canadian Airfield Pavement Technical Group (CAPTG) presented new pavement technologies for runways. Tuesday’s main highlight was a theater-based experience, sponsored by Heathrow Airport, illustrating the events surrounding the Piper Alpha oil production catastrophe in the North Sea in 1988. It included events leading up to, during, and after the disaster. The production focused on emergency preparedness for teams.

          The show floor opened on Wednesday and featured 76 exhibitors, ranging from big iron manufacturers to software vendors that help track airfield maintenance and management. Several particularly innovative products stood out among the rest. Smart Manufacturing exhibited an automatic weed sprayer, Weed-It, that fits in the back of a pickup truck. It senses chlorophyll and only sprays the weed. This product is significantly more environmentally sustainable than other weed sprayers, as not nearly as much product is used. This saves airports money because they are buying less weed killer. The weed sprayer is custom built for every size vehicle. Another innovative solution comes from Pavement Stencil Company. They provide a durable infinity stencil held together by wire that holds numbers in place allowing the user to paint the full number in one pass, as opposed to painting it multiple times over. Both products can improve efficiency for airport operations!

          Thursday at the conference featured breakout sessions covering topics such as drone management and effective treatment of pavement on taxi ways and runways. President and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority, Craig Richmond, presented during the final reception dinner in the evening.

          Overall the SWIFT conference was a valuable industry opportunity. Next year’s conference will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from September 21-24. It is an “equipment year,” meaning vendors will bring equipment to showcase for potential buyers.

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