Two large CLAAS XERION 5000 tractors, equipped with several special features tailored to their specific role, have been in use at the Vienna-Schwechat International Airport for a number of weeks now. The two powerful machines from the CLAAS tractor range are painted a special yellow, feature tyres that are suitable for urban use and will be in operation throughout both summer and winter.
"It's not only in the agricultural domain that CLAAS machines demonstrate their strengths, but also in other areas, like at Vienna Airport," states Wolfgang Meyer, Product Manager at CLAAS Regional Center Central Europe in Austria.
From October to April, the two XERION tractors are fitted with snow blowers and used primarily to clear snow from the airport's runways, apron and all other routes. "We anticipate that each machine will be in operation for a total of 300 hours per year," says the airport's fire chief, Roland Pachtner. If there is heavy snowfall, operating times could be significantly greater. At peak times, Fritz Glatzer and his colleagues need to clear 3,000 tonnes of snow per hour using each of the machines, which equates to the volume of water held by 20,000 bath tubs. This will require all the power that the 524 HP engine can muster.
Safety is a matter of utmost importance for any airport. Unlike in agriculture, it is not simply weather conditions that determine how the two XERION tractors will be used, but primarily aircraft movements. Changes occur at short notice. As such, a range of radio communication devices have been installed in the tractors, so that they can always remain in contact with the control tower. "No two days are the same," says Fritz Glatzer.
The Austrian BBG (Bundesbeschaffung GmbH) is currently planning to purchase six additional XERION 5000 tractors. These are to be put to work at other airports around the country.
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