Modern airports have an automatic baggage handling system, which transports baggage from the check-in counter to the baggage sorting belt for the flight. On the way to this point, the baggage is automatically X-rayed, temporarily stored and sorted. However, the heavy manual work begins at the supply point. The baggage is generally manually placed in a flight container (ULD) or stacked on a baggage ramp cart.

During this process, one worker typically lifts about 16t per shift. The automated baggage loading cell completes these work steps using a robot.

The robot’s patented ‘gripper’ is developed to increase performance and efficiency of the loading process. It comprises a telescopic surface with a stop. Consequently the telescopic surface precisely matches the size of the bag. This is advantageous for the actual loading process, as the maneuverability of the robot in the container, especially in the wing sides of the ULDs, is considerably increased.

The robot moves with its load precisely to the pre-calculated container position. The robot gripper very quickly retracts its telescopic surface again and the bag is set down at the desired place (due to gravity). The patented system fulfils the requirements from around the world for a future-proof baggage logistics system in terms of safety, performance and ergonomics.

Operational process:

  • Supply of passenger baggage to the robot by a conveyor belt
  • Determination of position and shape of the bags to be loaded using a scanner and image processing system
  • 3D measurement of the flight container or ramp cart interior to assess the current loading state
  • Calculation of the optimum place for the next baggage item
  • Picking up of the bag from the conveyor belt by the robot and setting down at the calculated target position in the container or ramp cart

This procedure lasts approximately 12s-15s and will be repeated for each baggage item until the container or ramp cart is full.

Advantages include:

  • Prevents workers from performing heavy manual work
  • Simple handling of even super-heavy baggage items (more than 40kg)
  • Reduction of damage to baggage
  • Increase in flight safety due to avoidance of human handling after X-ray screening
  • Possible tracking right into the aircraft
  • High filling loading level due to patented ‘gripper’
  • Modular system, adjustable and adaptable to widely varying customer requirements