Quick-Turn Prototypes Fast-track Innovation for Airport Pushback Tugs

Minneapolis, Minn. - November 19, 2019 - Next time you're at the airport, look out the window and see if you can spot one of the new TUG™ ALPHA 4 pushback vehicles, reimagined with the latest industry technology by Textron Ground Support Equipment (Textron GSE) and featuring a vital component from DSTI.

Since airplanes don't have a reverse gear they must be 'pushed' or moved onto taxiways. Coordination and precision is mandatory when an airplane is on the other end of a tow bar but operator visibility often poses a problem. Similar to other conventional pushbacks, ALPHA 4 is equipped with hydraulic lifting cylinders that raise the cab to allow operators to see more clearly in all directions, but unlike others it features an innovative rotating operating console; eliminating the need for a rear cab.

Brad Compton, director of global sales, Textron GSE (qtd. in Smith) states that "the rotating operator console allows the operators to swivel around and operate the vehicle 'in reverse', which allows for clear sight of the surroundings behind the vehicle."

During ALPHA 4 development, Textron GSE turned to DSTI for a custom fluid rotary union to properly pass important wiring and hydraulic hoses between the stationary cab and rotating console.

To meet their ambitious 8-week prototype deadline, DSTI acted fast by gathering performance criteria, envelope constraints and important application details such as media-pressure, duty-cycle and life-expectancy, to adequately engineer a cost-effective solution within Textron GSE's budget.

"After developing thousands of custom rotary unions, from one-off designs to high volume production units, DSTI has built an extensive library of knowledge and best practices that allow us to approach project's strategically in order to achieve all customer expectations," said DSTI sales engineer Jeremy Weigel.

DSTI incorporated field-proven seals into the design and plated the entire part in a process known for its improved durability and corrosion-resistant properties, ensuring a long and maintenance-free service life.

As an added value, DSTI branded the union with TUG's logo and part number machined into the side of the housing; making it easier for customers when it's time to order refurbishment kits.

"When solving challenges within your industry, DSTI's agile team can help turn your ideas into reality, no matter how small or complex they may be," said Weigel.

About Textron Ground Support Equipment Inc.

Textron Ground Support Equipment Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, is a leading global provider of ground support equipment and service under the TUG™, Douglas™, Premier™, and Safeaero™ brands. Textron GSE offers a full product lineup of conventional and towbarless pushbacks, baggage tractors, tow tractors, belt loaders, single and dual operation deicers, ground power units, air starts, and air conditioning units. These products are built in world-class manufacturing facilities around the world, from Kennesaw, Ga., Marinette, Wis., Trelleborg, Sweden; and Wuxi, China, in addition to 20 airport service locations across the world. Textron GSE operates as part of the Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. business. For more information, please visit www.textrongse.com.

Contact This Company

More from Laboratory and Research Supplies and Equipment

All Topics