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How Oshkosh Tests its Snow Equipment

When you take a look at Oshkosh snow units; powerful, commanding and reliable may come to mind. Here at Airport Products, we put a lot of time and brainpower into making our machines perform at their best. What the typical user may not know, is that we test our equipment to meet or exceed their impressive specifications. We want to share our equipment testing process with you so you can understand how our specifications are backed up with real-world testing and not just calculations on a computer screen.

Setting the Scene
To begin testing our equipment, we travel to an undisclosed location in the United States that you may guess; has a lot of snow. Because our snow units are built to clear runways, our testing site has just that, thousands of feet of snow-filled runway for us to use.

Measuring for Success         
For the sake of this post we will be testing a blower. Our first task prior to testing the equipment is to map out 500 feet of runway for our unit to clear. Our testing team then goes back and stakes out 100 foot intervals along the predetermined strip of runway. These intervals are there to provide a marker to record the time passed every 100 feet from start to finish. We collect five times in total, allowing us to use a solid average for our specification calculations.

It’s All Conditional
Here comes the tricky part. Perfect conditions need to be met in order for us to run our tests. What constitutes as “perfect” conditions you may ask? Well, let’s break that down for you.

Snow depth matters. Our testing runway needs to have at least 18 inches of snow in order for testing to take place. This depth ensures that our blower is as close to max capacity and tonnage as possible. 
Snow density is key. We need to know how much the snow weighed we removed in our test run. We identify this by weighing a specific volume of snow in each section of the test path. We can calculate how many pounds per cubic foot the snow weighs once we know the test weights and volumes.

Tonnage. This measurement comes from a set of three inter-dependent equations that are pretty basic to calculate. Snow tonnage is how many cubic feet of snow per hour the unit can move and how much the snow weighed per cubic foot. This is a crucial aspect in determining the power behind your machine. Combined with horsepower, snow density is what drives the tonnage for your unit. Here is how to calculate it:
1.      Volume: the path width x depth of snow x distance clearing } (cubic feet)
2.      Density: the weight of a known volume / volume } lbs/cubic ft
3.      Tonnage: (density x  volume) / (speed / distance) } tons/hour

If Conditions are Met …
Once we get the green light for ideal snow conditions, our blower starts at distance zero and cruises down the runway clearing snow. As shared before, our team records the blower’s time every 100 feet of its 500 foot journey.

Final Calculations/Results
We formulate all the different specifications that we share about our units. Oshkosh rounds down to account for inefficiencies. For example, we most likely don’t have a 100% fill factor of snow going through our blower. We give a lower estimate for our units so we can guarantee that our trucks will perform at or above what we claim.

To Conclude
Performance testing of equipment is a huge task! Oshkosh spends a lot of time and dedicated effort into ensuring our trucks perform at or above what we specify. Common misconceptions are normal to have, and we wanted to share some insight on our testing process. Our brand is built on integrity, so we want to provide the best possible machine to keep your runways clear and passengers safe.