The Evolving Role of Coatings and Partners in Protecting Ground Support Equipment for Extreme Weather

Nov. 15, 2023
Explore the innovative use of advanced coatings, from corrosion resistance to UV protection, as the key to extending equipment lifespan and minimizing maintenance costs.

Extreme weather conditions have become a growing concern for the aviation industry, affecting flight operations and the critical ground support equipment that keeps airports running smoothly. As the world grapples with the increasing unpredictability of weather patterns, ground support equipment operators must find innovative solutions to protect their valuable assets, such as tugs, tow equipment, luggage carts, servicing vehicles, and fuel trucks.

One such solution includes using advanced coatings to safeguard ground support equipment.

Benefits of Advanced Coatings 

A primary challenge for ground support equipment owners is corrosion. When exposed to moisture, salt, and other corrosive elements, the metal components of this equipment remain vulnerable to rust and degradation. The right paint and coating solutions can help resist corrosion effectively, creating a barrier between the equipment's surface and the external environment, preventing moisture and corrosive agents from causing harm. This protection can extend the lifespan of ground support equipment, as well as helping to reduce maintenance costs and downtime.

In addition to corrosion resistance, advanced coatings also offer robust UV protection. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to fadingof ground support equipment's paint and structural materials. Modern coatings can shield against the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, preserving the appearance of the equipment.

Extreme weather conditions often necessitate specialized coatings that withstand temperature fluctuations and thermal stress. For instance, ground support equipment operating in regions with frigid winters and hot summers must endure significant temperature variations, demanding the right coatings. The coatings (spanning acrylics and epoxies to polyesters and urethanes) provide protective barriers that resist marring, weathering, corrosion and abrasion.

The Power of Proximity

In addition to innovation coatings, ground support operations must have timely access to equipment and supplies. Delays can be more than just an inconvenience—they can be expensive. Ground support equipment, which is exposed to the rigors of daily operations and the elements, requires regular maintenance and protection. Quick access to coatings remains essential to ensure equipment remains functional and durable. Customers report sourcing these coatings from nearby or local suppliers presents advantages:

Faster access: With a local supplier, there’s no waiting. Ground support operations can access essential products faster. In urgent or unforeseen requirements, proximity can mean the difference between timely maintenance and prolonged equipment downtime.

Reduced footprint: Shorter transportation routes mean fewer carbon emissions, which aligns with the aviation industry's increasing emphasis on sustainability.

The Right Partnership 

As the aviation industry faces the challenges posed by climate change, it's clear that ground support equipment must adapt to withstand extreme weather conditions and the rigors of the aviation environment, such as constant wear and tear and exposure to aviation fuels and chemicals.

Investing in advanced coatings remains a proactive step toward achieving the goal of ensuring that ground support equipment remains reliable and efficient despite extreme environmental conditions. For example, the right paint and coatings partner can offer solutions and expertise across all major coating technologies – from electrocoats and pretreatment to liquid coatings and powder coatings. As technology advances, the role of coatings in safeguarding aviation assets will undoubtedly evolve to ensure continued success in airport operations.

Mike Fromm has 37 years of experience in the paint and coatings industry. To learn more about how PPG meets the aviation industry's needs, visit PPG is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.