Four Questions To Consider When Choosing De-icing Solutions For Your Business

Industrial & Manufacturing Blog

If you own an airplane, take care of a railroad network, work with material handling, transport coal, or do a range of other activities in cold weather, you may occasionally have to deal with ice. That can slow down or even shut down operations.

To protect your equipment, you need the right anti- or de-icing strategies. Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you look for the right solution for your needs.

1. Do You Want to Focus on Anti-Icing or De-icing?

Generally, when it comes to fighting ice, you have two main options. You can take care of the ice after it has formed—that is called de-icing. Otherwise, you can try to prevent the ice from forming, and that is called anti-icing.

If you opt for anti-icing, you usually need five to ten times less product. That can save you money. This proactive approach also saves time, as you deal with the issue before it gets out of control. In contrast, if you wait for the ice to form, you have to pause a number of operations until you get the ice removed.

However, in some cases, de-icing may make sense from a logistical perspective based on your unique industry. In other cases, you may need a hybrid approach that's flexible based on the situation.

2. Do You Want to Use Heating Elements?

Heating elements can be used in both de-icing and anti-icing strategies. Aircraft use heating elements or electro-thermal elements to perform both of these actions. Some propellers, for example, have electric de-icing systems built right into them, while others have heating structures in their wings that help prevent the formation of ice.     

Whether you're focused on anti- or de-icing strategies, these elements can help you avoid the use of chemicals. Instead of paying people to put de-icing solutions on your equipment, you just build in the necessary electro-thermal elements.

In most cases, this represents higher upfront costs, but depending on your needs, the long-term benefits may be worth it.

3. Do You Want to Explore Mechanical De-icers?

In the world of de-icers, you can also explore mechanical options. These can be used alongside of electro-thermal and chemical options, but they can also be used on their own.

An example of a mechanical de-icer is a pneumatic boot. This is essentially an inflatable element on the side of an airplane wing. When the wing collects ice, the boot inflates, cracking the ice and forcing it to fall off.

Other mechanical options may include mechanical scrapers that remove the ice after it has accumulated, similar to how windshield wipers remove rain from your car's windshield.

4. Do You Have Labor Hours to Devote to De-icing or Anti-icing?

As indicated above, one of the main benefits of a built-in electro-thermal or mechanical de-icer is that it doesn't require labor hours to work. In contrast, if you use a chemical solution, you have to pay a worker to apply it.

However, that may work for your needs. If you don't want to make the upfront investment for a built-in solution or if the built-in solutions simply don't make sense in your situation, you may want to pay someone to manually remove the ice.

To take a simple example, imagine you own an apartment building. The sidewalk in front of the building tends to get ice. You can put heated coils beneath it to keep the ice off, or you can pay someone to manually remove the ice and sprinkle an anti-icing solution on it.

To learn more and to hone in on the right products for your situation, contact a de-icing or anti-icing specialist.


18 September 2017