Foreign Object Debris (FOD) consists of any sort of material that poses a risk to the safety of equipment and individuals when it is left in areas of traffic. FOD can be found in numerous industries, namely:

  • Aerospace
  • Aviation
  • Military
  • Warehousing
  • Shipping/Transport
  • Manufacturing

FOD removal is a vital part of maintaining safety while at the time improving quality control in certain industries to address the concerns over FOD.

What Items Are Considered FOD?

FOD could include any objects or items that create hazards in the workplace if left in a place where they could damage equipment or individuals. The more common types of FOD include:

  • Broken Pavement
  • Trash
  • Soda Cans
  • Paperclips
  • Employee ID Badges
  • Tools
  • Screws
  • Nuts
  • Bolts
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Hats
  • Luggage
  • Coins
  • Rags/Towels
  • Wildlife/Birds

Each of these items poses various risks depending on the environment and location where they are located.

To illustrate, an airline repair technician accidentally leaves a tool on the wheel of an aircraft. When the aircraft is moved for takeoff, the tool will fall off the tire and get run over. If the tool has sharp edges, it could puncture the tire.

Initially, the puncture may be small and only cause the tire to slowly leak out air. However, after takeoff, the tire continues to lose air. When the plane lands at its destination, the tire is flat and blows out upon impact with the runway. The pilot could potentially lose control of the plane, which would cause it to flip over or skid off the runway and crash.

As you can see from this example, FOD can pose serious risks to both the airplane and the pilot, crew, and passengers on board the plane.

How Is FOD Detected?

FOD can be detected using different methods and techniques. Visual inspections of areas is an effective method for checking for larger types of FOD in work areas, on runways, and so on. A newer type of FOD detection is the use of cameras, radar, and infrared technologies to scan for the presence of FOD. These systems can help detect larger pieces of FOD, as well as wildlife.

However, the use of one or both of these methods can make it difficult to see smaller objects, so they should not be used as the only means of FOD detection.


Another method used to detect FOD is to use sweepers. Sweepers collect FOD from off of the ground and collect it into different areas for easy disposal. There are several different types of sweepers on the market, and each is capable of collecting various types of FOD.

For instance, our FOD*BOSS airfield sweeper quickly and easily sweeps runways, hangars, and other areas and removes most types of FOD, except larger objects. Our sweepers can also be used in warehouses, in manufacturing facilities, on aircraft carriers, and in other environments, because they are portable and come in a range of sizes. Plus, they are effective in both dry and wet conditions.

To learn more about the FOD*BOSS and our other airport sweeper products, please feel free to contact Aerosweep at today!

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