dnata is moving its air cargo handling operations at Manchester Airport in the UK to a new purpose-built facility, the “dnata City North” cargo complex.

After Heathrow, this is the second-largest cargo terminal of dnata in its UK network. To make the new terminal fit for the future, dnata invested in an intensive planning phase. Together with ACUNIS, an innovative concept was developed, which also takes future requirements into account.

ACUNIS is a joint brand of AMOVA and Unitechnik Systems. Under this name the two German companies combine their know-how in the area of air-cargo intralogistics.

ACUNIS will supply the entire logistics system for the “dnata City North” cargo complex. The heart of the new facility is a 15ft Elevating Transfer Vehicle (ETV) with a split roller deck. This universal vehicle can handle 10ft and 15ft ULDs and moreover store and retrieve two 5ft ULDs independently. The high-bay warehouse offers space for up to 120 ULDs. The 20ft ULDs can be routed through the racking system to the airside.

A special feature is located on the airside of the terminal, where the customer uses not only dolly trains but also apron trucks due to the long travel distances. ACUNIS will provide specially designed truck docks for handling not only truckloads but also ULDs with lateral overhang on dolly trains.

On the land side, truck docks are planned to serve the Road Feeder Service (RFS). The facility is completed by several motor-driven roller decks, various work stations, some of which are height-adjustable, and cold storage cells for pharmaceutical products.

Besides the complete automation, ACUNIS also supplies the warehouse management system (WMS) UniWare, which ensures an optimal material flow and coordinates and controls all transport orders of the ETV, the express line, the work stations and the truck docks. In addition, the WMS realizes the backup function of ULD identification. If the connection to the customer’s higher-level Cargo Management System (CMS) fails, operations continue anyway. Thanks to the freely zoomable system visualization of the WMS, the operating personnel always has an overview of the status of the automated transport equipment and the ULDs.

ACUNIS convinced the customer not only with its technical concept and air cargo know-how, but also with a rather short delivery time. The contract was signed in November 2019, assembly will start as early as summer 2020 and the handover of the operational terminal is planned for late 2020.