One year after Hythe HOSMU was formed, we take a look at the companies storage and distribution solutions projects, the challenges faced, and goals for the future.
In their first year, Hythe HOSMU installed a modular self-help system at Heathrow Airport. This system allows for the distribution, deployment and return of equipment, coupled with the safe, measured and effective dispensing of de-icing media. We discuss the challenges and wins of this crucial winter resilience project at one of the world’s busiest airports.
But before we get into it, what exactly does Hythe HOSMU do?
An Introduction to Hythe HOSMU
Back in 2019, HOSMU was formed to support the mass production of bespoke modular units. These units enable the efficient storage, distribution and deployment of self-help tools, plus aircraft stand and roadway clearing equipment.
HOSMU is part of the Hythe Group. What sets it apart from the other companies within the group is its capability to design, develop and install bespoke and tailored storage and distribution solutions specific to clients’ operational requirements.
Storage and Distribution Solutions for Heathrow’s Winter Resilience
Previous winters had seen the deterioration of the pre-existing winter resilience solution at Heathrow, coupled with inadequate storage for grit and de-icer.
Hythe HOSMU provided Heathrow’s Winter Operations team with a one-stop location for important tools and necessary equipment. The project aided the safe and efficient turnaround of aircraft on stands, while keeping airside roads and pathways clear.
The innovative HOSMU self-help solution we manufactured provides the consolidated and organised storage of essential winter resilience tools and stand clearing equipment. De-icing products are now distributed safely and with precision.
“We’re delighted to report that following the recent snowy conditions our HOSMU custom made modular units have successfully improved operational effectiveness during a ‘snow event’ airside at Heathrow Airport.” – Neil Robinson
What Did the Project Involve?
Following a period of consultancy and development of the project brief, the HOSMU system installation provided an innovative four-part solution.
This included a consolidated single collection point for essential winter resilience operating equipment and the management of stand waste, combined with winter media storage and distribution.
Forty-eight key airside locations were identified across the terminals, including aircraft stands, pathways, roadways and control posts. These key locations were provided with the requisite modular parts to provide winter resilience tool storage and effective, consolidated housing and distribution for snow and ice clearing media in use across the entire site.
Each custom made component features an RFID asset management and inspection system. The system regularly records inspections and reduces the need for maintenance and equipment replenishment commonly associated with winter operational use.
During an intensive period of prototyping and feedback, HOSMU presented Heathrow with nine client-driven revised prototypes. To ensure quality throughout the project, each step incorporated feedback gathered from presentation and review at airside events and consultations with the winter operations team.
What Was the Biggest Challenge HOSMU Faced and How Was it Overcome?
In addition to understanding, overcoming and changing behavioural and methodological operational airside practices in Winter, perhaps the biggest challenge faced by the HOSMU team was providing a solution to safely store and dispense the winter de-icing media commonly known as ‘Prill’.
Prill is a pelletised form of de-icing media formed by the congealing of a liquid and it provides a safe and effective way to rapidly de-ice and melt ice and snow. It robustly stays in place when deployed ahead of a ‘snow event.’ Prill is packaged in 25-kilogram bags which, once opened and left exposed to the elements or moisture, hardens and is wasted. Hundreds of kilos of prill were often squandered during winter due to bags being partially used or stored ineffectively in grit bins or left exposed to the elements.
The key was to develop a modular unit capable of being able to receive an entire bag of prill at a safe lifting height and then dispense a specified amount determined by the user, depending on the surface to be treated.
Nine concept prototypes were developed by the HOSMU team offering a range of solutions. After a sustained period of testing the final ‘media Hopper’ design was approved by Airfield operations and following two winters has proven a success. It uses a unique mechanism to ensure the prill is dispensed in its pelletised form, even if it has solidified within the hopper, or has been added to the hopper in a solidified form.
How Has the Installation Changed Life for the Winter Resilience Team?
“HOSMU’s custom solution has taken our outdated self-help tools and media storage and provided airfield operations with an innovative and robust concept ready to tackle the snow events we manage each winter, helping to keep the airport fully operational…”
– Winter Operations Manager at Heathrow
For the first time airside at any airport, all winter self-help equipment is in one easy to use modular system at key locations.
Winter operational efficiencies were vastly improved during the recent snow events at Heathrow. Notifiable asset management and inspection systems are in place with each component. As a result, the need for maintenance and equipment replenishment associated with winter operational use is reduced.
The HOSMU now provides a clearly identifiable, branded focal point for the organisation and storage of the equipment and winter media. It also ensures operational equipment is returned, reducing the likelihood of trip hazards and lowering the need for tool replenishment. The units are also used as a mechanism to promote safety messages, like the ‘safety 6’, to the airside community.
What’s next for Hythe HOSMU?
HOSMU are ready to present their winter resilience solution to the wider airport community and other industries with a winter resilience requirement.
The team have also been developing four additional components. These allow for totally consolidated equipment storage on stands and airside at airports. Including; bollard bin clamps, cone and trolley storage, sawdust storage for minor spills and a tiered approach to chock storage.
HOSMU‘s storage and distribution solutions will give ramp users a one-stop location for all equipment associated with the safe and efficient turnaround of aircraft. It also provides stakeholders with the necessary self-help tools to carry out their roles.
The HOSMU modular concept can be tailored to any industrial operational requirement
Contact our team to discuss HOSMU’s storage and distribution solutions capabilities for your upcoming projects.