Siemens is using its decades of experience in logistics and profound software know-how to press ahead with the digitalisation of crucial airport processes. Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) has received an order from London Heathrow Airport to further improve the availability of the baggage handling system.
In response, the Siemens team has developed a new maintenance concept, which uses intelligent sensors and modern cloud technology for the first time. In this way, SPPAL avoids system downtimes and expensive interruptions to operations. The airport operator benefits from an even more efficient and reliable baggage handling system – round the clock for 365 days a year.
Some 76 million passengers passed through Heathrow in 2016, and most of them travelled with baggage. "As well as optimising the process for the airport operator, we are therefore always focusing on improving passenger convenience", said Michael Reichle, CEO of Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics. "To this end, we are using the Siemens cloud- based MindSphere platform at London Heathrow, and assisting the airport with the digital transformation." MindSphere is an open operating system for the Internet of Things, with which Siemens serves customers such as industrial companies, railway operators and airports.
Grant Waring, asset manager, Heathrow Baggage Operations added: "Over 80% of passengers are already rating Heathrow as very good or excellent. This positive assessment is both a confirmation and incentive for us. With Siemens as one of our innovation partners, we want to maintain and further improve our high standards."
To this end, Heathrow is gradually switching the servicing of the baggage handling system from time-based to condition-based maintenance. In support of this innovative approach Siemens technicians have worked with Heathrow to install sensors on important components to monitor the baggage handling system. The sensors measure crucial parameters like acoustics at regular intervals. The data is then transmitted to the Siemens cloud-based MindSphere platform.
The measured data is compared with the expected setpoint data through MindSphere. Deviations may be an early indicator of a potential problem. Siemens visualises the evaluation with an in-house dashboard solution, which is already being used to good effect at major international airports such as Los Angeles and Dubai.
The dashboard runs on all devices with Internet access, such as laptops, tablet PCs and smartphones. Clear graphics enable the local service team to detect any abnormalities at a glance. The personnel can schedule essential maintenance activities in good time and keep the system continually fully functional.
SPPAL has established itself as a technology and service partner for airports and airlines all over the world. Its successful track record includes long-term operating and maintenance contracts at about 40 major airports. In the field of digitalisation, the customer benefits from the new LogX4 IT platform, which brings all SPPAL software products together. LogX4 is designed to create transparency and reduce complexity. This enables potential for greater efficiency to be identified and leveraged along the entire logistics chain.