What is GSE?
Most of the praise for a safe flight goes to the pilots and flight attendants, however no plane can ever take off safely without the work of the ground crew. Pre and post-flight inspections, cargo transport, and more are all essential tasks for these teams.
These crews rely on ground support equipment (GSE) to provide the fastest and safest flight procedures.
This is not only the case for commercial flights, but private and military as well.
Ground crews utilize transportation, forklifts, and other equipment. This allows the workers to quickly and effectively fuel, load, and unload cargo.
What Are GSE Nameplates Used For?
For GSE applications, nameplates can help workers in a myriad of ways. From simply identifying tools to communicating limits of equipment.
For example, a forklift data plate will show the worker the lifting capacity and any other important information such as manufacturer info.
As with most industrial type applications, asset traceability can be very useful for airports and their crews. Keeping all the various moving parts in a ground crews set of tools and equipment can be a logistical challenge.
Applying labels and tags to equipment can provide a set of data points, allowing for the assets to be tracked. This helps tighten up processes as well as preventing loss or other issues.
Another common usage for asset tags is maintenance management. With equipment that is often repaired, monitoring the status of machines and tools can help protect workers from using unsafe equipment.
Safety is absolutely paramount when it comes to air travel. Not only are passengers and the on-flight crew at risk, so are the ground workers before the flight takes off.
Following safety protocols is vital to protecting everyone involved. Many organizations utilize safety plates on and around planes and their equipment to reinforce and educate on proper procedures.
In addition, inspections are performed before every flight to ensure the aircraft is ready for use. If there are any issues, the ground crew will delay the flight to fix the problem. Cutting corners doesn’t work when there are lives at stake.
Aluminum is often used in aircraft and its accompanying industry due to the properties of the material. The substrate is very durable, but also extremely lightweight in comparison to other options. This makes it a choice candidate when dealing with precision weighted aircraft.
Aluminum GSE plates can be colorized with the anodization process. This allows for workers to color code tools or equipment, and even make safety placards more visible.
For some of the harshest industries in the world, stainless steel metal is seen as the most reliant metal substrate. Incredibly durable, the material can handle use in weather and other harsh environments.
Stainless steel nameplates are often preferred due to their sheer durability. GSE equipment and tools are often exposed to all weather conditions. Knowing that the plates will hold up is a major benefit.
Marking Processes for GSE Plates
One of the most commonly used methods for marking GSE plates is photo anodizing. This process embeds the custom design between layers of aluminum. Durability for the marking is outstanding, with designs lasting upwards of 20+ years.
These plates can include any custom design or information. Logos, diagrams, and even barcodes for scanning can all be included in the plate.
As mentioned, aluminum can be colorized to provide even further levels of customization.
Another popular choice for this type of nameplate, etched designs are also durable. A chemical process lightly indents a design into the metal substrate. This provides a long lasting solution for GSE identification.
Additionally, color can be added to the etched areas for a more prominent design. The etched marks will last for a significant amount of time, while the color infill will not.
Another option some aerospace organizations turn to is printed decals and labels. These labels are fully customizable with any type of information or design.
They typically attach via industrial strength adhesive, allowing for a simple peel and stick type application.
Decals are versatile in that they can be adhered to nearly any surface, even with curvature or bends in it.
The only downside is that the topical ink is not incredibly durable, and will eventually fade and wear when exposed to harsh environments.
Aircraft ground support crews are the unsung heroes who ensure our daily flights go off without a hitch. These crews rely on GSE nameplates to mark, identify, and track their equipment and tools.
By following safety procedures and creating safe protocols with identification solutions, ground support crews help protect themselves and aircraft passengers.