On Wednesday 17 June 2009 at 4am, Terminal 1 (T1) at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport was brought into operation. The high expectations for this DCV-based automated baggage handling system were all met, and since the start the system has performed according to plan. In total 200 flights were managed from T1 on the first day. There were no delays and no baggage missed its flight.

The Joint Venture Vanderlande-DINSA-ABB, led by Vanderlande Industries, successfully completed the start-up of the automated baggage handling system (SATE) at Barcelona’s T1 for its customer Aena. Vanderlande’s TUBTRAX DCV-technology was used in the departure system.

The heart of the system is the departure system. Baggage is led into the system by passengers checking in either in the departure hall or the parking area. The departure hall has 140 check-in positions and another 14 are located in the parking area.

In addition, baggage can also be introduced into the system through several high-capacity induct stations: six for transfer baggage, one for the train station and two for cruise ship baggage. A giant web of more than 20km of conveyors is built to route baggage from all these induct stations to one of the 22 make-up stations (tilted TRIPLANAR carousels).

From these stations the bags are loaded on carts that commute back and forth to the airplanes. In peak hours the system can process more than 10,000 bags per hour.

Destination coded vehicles (DCVs) are used for the Barcelona system. Every individual baggage item, from small to large, will be loaded in a dedicated tub, each of which is fitted with an ID tag. It is a totally redundant system based on Vanderlande Industries’ TUBTRAX technology.

TUBTRAX technology is made with highly standardised and modular equipment, which is capable of transporting the tubs with speeds up to 6m per second. This system also guarantees a total hold baggage screening in the four existing security levels, either carried out by X-ray machines (12 units) or by tomographic machines (four units).

The SATE system includes an automated early baggage storage (EBS) made up of 14 miniload cranes, which allow individual access to any of the 1,500 stored baggage items.

The system is completed by a conventional baggage handling system for arrivals. This system can be kept straightforward because no sortation is required. In other words, all bags go from one plane to one carousel. The arrivals system has a total length of more than 3km of conveyors and 15 TRIPLANAR tilted carousels.