Robson’s Airport Systems are a Runway Success

Sheffield firm Geo Robson has ensured it is all systems go at Birmingham International Airport with a £1.2 million enhancement package to the baggage handling systems in Terminals 1 and 2.

Darnall-based Geo Robson designed and manufactured the conveyor systems, which include two 50m baggage make up carousels and over 30 baggage conveyors totalling over 100m including three new check-in weighing conveyors.

The system enhancements increases the airport’s capacity and efficiency, enabling it to cater for the projected growth of passengers from 4 million per year to 5.5 million. The new systems improved ergonomics and security features, ensuring the work environment is safe and secure for airport staff and passengers. Robson’s airport project manager Ian Davies stated, “Working with the staff at Birmingham was a pleasure; the installation met the programme and was completed within budget.”

Also, as part of the terminal expansion project, Robson has been busy refurbishing systems for Terminal 4 at Heathrow International Airport. The check-in and weigh conveyors were first installed at the airport in the early 1980s and have shown nearly 30 years’ service.

The refurbishment work of the 300 check-in conveyors included full electrical and mechanical services with the fitting of new conveyor belts and replacement parts where required. The stainless-steel conveyor casings were mechanically re-polished to revitalise the finish and allow them to fit seamlessly in to the redeveloped terminal.

Robson offered the refurbishment service in answer to many customer requests. Because of their robust engineered design, the conveyors were still performing well after many years of use although the casings were scuffed and showing signs of wear. The refurbishment service saves the customer the expense and disruption of purchasing and installing new equipment.

Robson, who has worked with Heathrow Airport for over 30 years, is completing other major project work at Terminal 4. The current installations are worth in excess of £2.5 million.

Further afield Robson has just handed over a £250,000 baggage cart system for Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, supplied direct to AXIMA Services, the airport’s main contractor. The system allows the airport to move the baggage carts from one area of the airport to another without the disruption of passing through the busy passenger terminals.

Robson specialises in airport baggage handling systems, with many installations worldwide. The baggage cart system allows airports the flexibility to automatically move a slug of 25-30 carts between airside and landside or between floors from departures to arrivals or visa versa.

Adrian Rafferty, whom designed and project-managed the Montreal system, stated, “The baggage cart system posed certain challenges at the design stage, but once the design was agreed the pre build at the Robson factory went smoothly.” The on-site build was equally smooth under the supervision of Robson engineer Roy Carnell.

The baggage cart conveyor uses two types of conveying technologies; firstly a flat, fire-retardant friction-backed conveyor belt, which transports the carts, and secondly dual-chain gripper belts mounted on opposite sides of the system to hold the carts in place, preventing them from rolling away or separating while travelling on the 40° decline to reach the lower floor.

Used together with synchronized roller shutter doors the conveyor can span from landside of the airport, which is the normal passenger terminal, across to the baggage reclaim, which is classed as a secure area because of the access to the aircraft. The synchronized roller shutter doors ensure no-one can bypass the stringent airport security checks.

The complex design of the baggage cart conveyor also had to cater for a change in the dimensions of the carts. This would enable the airport to upgrade the carts in the future. Special adjustable sliding supports were installed to enable the alteration of the width of the gripper belts when the new carts are purchased.

Robson’s managing director, Robert Edley, stated, “Robson’s success within the airport industry is attributed to the dedicated and skills of the airport products team. Our reputation for quality engineered products is renowned throughout the industry worldwide.”

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