Grenzebach Automation is a leading supplier of automation solutions in the airport context, providing innovative, yet reliable and efficient equipment to close the remaining automation gap between the luggage conveyor and the apron. Our field proven robot based bag loading system analyses incoming bags, determines the optimum loading position, and places the bags at the calculated position inside the ULD or ramp cart. Among other benefits, this system allows to triple throughput per operator, drastically increase space efficiency and complies with workplace health and safety regulations.

Automation systems for baggage handling

Airline passenger figures have been constantly growing and are predicted to keep growing for many years. Baggage handling is evolving from a necessity to a service, with the expectation to further minimise lost, delayed or damaged bags. Security concerns result in evolving regulation and the need for increasing process integration. Workplace safety is gaining importance, demanding ergonomic solutions. Efficiency remains of key importance, both in terms of cost and space.

All these are good reasons to move towards an increasing automation level at airports, specifically also for loading and unloading of flight bags, which is today still mostly manually performed and at the same time physically extremely demanding. Anticipating these trends, Grenzebach has already been active in this area for many years, and today is the only supplier offering a field proven fully automated bag handling system for containers and ramp carts.

Baggage handling automation system modularity

The Grenzebach solution consists of several modules. First the baggage is analysed and parameters such as weight, geometry and type of bag are assessed. Optionally, baggage identification via barcode or RIFD can be made. Also, the current height profile inside the loading units is measured.

One of six robotized baggage loading systems in the new South Terminal of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Automated baggage loading system in full action, loading an AKE flight container.
The Bag Analyzer determines geometrical dimensions, volume, position and orientation of the bag.
Automated loading cell with automated loading unit transport system and manual topping station.
Automated bag offloader system with tilt mechanism for ramp carts and separating bags onto conveyor.

A load manager uses these data to automatically calculate the optimum load position within the ULD/ramp cart. When loading several containers at the same time, sorting criteria such as flight destination and flight class are considered as well.

The actual loading is performed by a standard industry robot equipped with a special tool for handling bags.

Configuration options for baggage handling systems

The automated baggage loading solution can be integrated as an add-on into existing baggage handling systems or form the kernel of an island solution based on new baggage handling processes: thanks to the modular design, the automated baggage loading system can be configured to suit any specific situation and need.

Benefits of automated baggage handling

The benefits of automated baggage handling include:

  • Efficiency and cost reduction: throughput per baggage handler increases by a factor of two or three
  • Space consumption: reduction by 60% – 70% per throughput
  • Health and ergonomics: reduced physical stress for workers, workplace regulation
  • Security: traceability, access to bags is controlled
  • Image: innovative, modern, good employer, efficient
  • Handling: gentle handling of bags reduces risk of damage
  • Competitive advantage: easy handling of overweight bags
  • No human error: reduced risk of wrong loading / lost bags

Automated baggage offloading

Apart from baggage loading, also the baggage unloading process can be automated: the Grenzebach bag offloader features mechanized unloading of bags, sequential release of individual layers of bags and manual process control.

About Grenzebach Automation

Grenzebach Automation, located in Karlsruhe, Germany, is part of the successful and globally active Grenzebach Group and focuses on developing technology for the automation of logistic processes. Grenzebach is a well-established manufacturer of production and handling technology for the flat glass, building panel, veneer and other industries. With production capabilities in three continents and a professional 24/7 service organization with locations in all relevant time zones, Grenzebach is always close to you.