How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

Foreign object debris (FOD) removal is a vital function in numerous types of environments where debris on the ground can create a variety of different hazards. These hazards can cause damage to vehicles, airplanes, aircraft, race cars, and people. Developing an effective way to remove FOD can seem challenging because you have a wide variety of different types of equipment, machines, and products, including:

  • Sweepers
  • Vacuums
  • Water-Based High-Pressure Washers
  • FOD Mats

Which type of solution is best for your industry and environment depends on your particular needs and the level of safety you want to maintain.

, How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

What Is a FOD Mat?

A FOD Mat is a special type of foreign object debris removal equipment that connects behind another type of vehicle such as a truck, golf cart, and so on. The mat is opened, then connected to a tow bar or secured in some other manner to the vehicle in front of it.

For wider sweeping paths, it is possible to secure two mats together side-by-side and then connect them to the vehicle. You can even have a three-mat configuration. For three mats, there is one at each end with a third one slightly placed behind the first two in the middle with an overlap.

What Does a FOD Mat Do?

A FOD Mat helps pick up and collect foreign objects from the ground and collect them on top of the mat. There can be small brushes along the underside of the mat that spin when the mat is pulled, to help transfer the debris from the ground and into the collection area. Debris is contained in place in the collection area at the back of each collection section, as there is some type of cover used over the mat.

, How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

What Type of Debris Can a Foreign Object Debris Mat Pick Up?

The types of debris you can pick up with a foreign object debris mat include a wide range of materials such as:

  • Paper Clips
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Small Metal Parts
  • Sand
  • Rocks
  • Broken Pieces of Asphalt
  • Screws
  • Nuts
  • Bolts

Essentially, the mats will pick up most types of dangerous debris from the ground. However, very large objects should be picked up manually, as the openings in the mats may not be large enough to accommodate or collect them.

What Types of Conditions Can a Foreign Object Debris Mat Be Used In?

Since there are no electrical or fuel powered brushes or moving parts and components, FOD removal can be done in both wet and dry conditions. On wet surfaces, the brushes will still function to collect and remove debris from the ground. Any water that is also picked up is released through a very fine mesh net placed over the mat and returned to the ground.

, How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

How Easy Is It to Clean FOD Mats?

After collecting debris or when you notice the collection area on the mats is full, you simply shake out using the  handles on the rear of the sweeper.

Debris should not be dumped onto surfaces that need to be kept clear of FOD.

You can also use an industry shop vac to suck up the debris and then dump it into an appropriate trash receptacle. After emptying the collection areas on the mats, detailed cleaning is not usually necessary.

However, if you do need to clean the mats, we recommend rinsing them out with water using a nozzle connected to a regular garden hose. You should never use a pressure washer, as this could damage the mats and the moving parts and components. Nor should you use petroleum-based cleaning solutions, as these can damage the mats.

Detergents are also not normally required. If you want to use detergents to wash your mats, you need to verify it is a water-based detergent.

, How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

How Efficient Are Foreign Object Debris Mats Compared to Other Methods?

Foreign object debris mats are estimated to be between 95 and 98 percent efficient in single pass FOD collection for small surface debris. The mats are effective at collecting hand tools, chunks of pavement, sand, dirt, and so on. However, they are not designed to collect bottles, cans, or other large objects, nor will they collect debris in potholes.

How Does Aerosweep’s FOD Mat Work?

Aerosweep’s uniquely designed and patented foreign object debris removal mats use friction to collect and remove debris from the ground. There are special bristles on the underside of the mat that pull the debris inward. Then the natural force of friction drags the debris into the collection areas, which are made from high-strength plastics.

Our mats are connected behind vehicles with a special adapter that connects directly to a tow hitch on the back of the vehicle. For dual and triple mat configurations, there are additional tow bars required. These tow bars have their own wheels on them to create a sturdy device to which the mats are connected and secured. Then the entire configuration is attached to a tow hitch on the back of the vehicle.

In addition, our foreign object debris mat solutions are portable and easily stored out of the way when not in use. You can fold up the mat into an easy-to-carry configuration. Our smaller mats can easily be lifted and moved when folded up by one person. Our larger mats can require two people to safely lift and move them.

, How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

FAQs About Aerosweep FOD Mats

In this section, we answer some of our frequently asked questions about our foreign object debris removal mats.

  1. If I need replacement parts for Aerosweep mats, what are my options?

Most all of the parts and components on our FOD removal mats are replaceable should they wear out, get damaged, or break. You can order just the replacement parts you require and do not have to order an entire new mat. We also offer replacement parts for our towing configurations.

  1. How long do Aerosweep mats last?

Our mats are made from high-quality materials to last a long time. We understand budgets for foreign object debris removal can be tight. We offer a solution that will meet your current and long-term needs with our very durable mats.

  1. How fast can areas be swept with Aerosweep mats?

Since you are towing the mats behind a vehicle, and the mats are on the ground, you can complete sweeps for debris at a rather fast pace. Using Aerosweep’s unique and patent applied for Groundforce Hitch your FOD sweeper can sweep faster and will be kept down on the tarmac safely even when sweeping into headwind.

Effective sweeping is performed at speeds between 6 and 25 miles per hour (10 and 40 kilometers per hour). For maximum vehicle speeds, please feel free to contact us directly.

, How to Make FOD Removal Processes More Efficient Without Sacrificing Safety

  1. Is there any way I can keep track of my sweeps?

Aerosweep offers a free downloadable app for Apple IOS smartphones and tablets. This app allows you to keep track of when sweeps were last performed, what areas were swept, the track/path used during the sweep, and more. Using the app alongside one of our foreign object debris removal mat configurations will ensure you do not miss any sections you need to sweep, and it will keep areas safer.

If you have further questions not answered here, or want to learn more about our FOD removal mat solutions, please feel free to contact Aerosweep directly at +61 (0)3 9894-2100 today!

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