Key topics such as system availability, operational effectiveness and return on investment come to mind when thinking of an airport’s baggage handling system as a critical asset.
Taking into account the initial outlay for a brand new system, alongside the projected operational and maintenance related investments, it is no doubt a long and complex journey to converge onto suitable and future-proofing solutions. Osem Jibrail speaks to Manufacturers’ Monthly about how SEW can make the journey easier from a conveyor powered drive system perspective, using their latest Movi-C drive system technology.
Airports can be stressful at the best of times. Whether queuing up at the baggage check-in, waiting to board the plane itself, or hanging around waiting for the plane to taxi to a gate once it’s arrived at its destination, there are other places most people would rather be. Also, there is the chance luggage might get lost and end up in another state or part of the world altogether.
There are two main hurdles once the aeroplane is parked – customs and baggage collection. Going through customs for most is a formality, however baggage collection can be a different story.
Many systems, sub-systems and processes would need to operate effectively for a bag to reach its desired destination, and therefore be available for collection by travellers.
This is not lost on Osem Jibrail, who is SEW Eurodrive’s national industry specialist for airports. When it comes to installing new conveyors and the equipment that drives them – such as geared motors and variable speed drives / control gear – Jibrail believes it’s not just about supplying the drive solution and leaving it at that. He said it’s important to work with the customer from start to finish to ensure complete customer satisfaction and operational effectiveness.
“Conveyors systems are a critical asset at airports. They hold a lot of risk to the operation of the airport,” he said. “This is a risk where a few flights could be grounded, or people from the other side of the world don’t get their bags. Surveys over the years have shown customer satisfaction at airports and with airlines is important.”
Jibrail said it is his role to approach Airports, as the end users, conveyor system OEMs and integrators, as well as consultants who are involved in this industry, and learn about what they do, what they want, what they find useful, what problems they have and how SEW can help solve them. He does this in conjunction with using SEW’s products and solutions Whether they’d be off the shelf, customised or both.
“This is why we try and be involved with the integrators, and airport authorities as early as possible in the project proposals and inceptions,” he said. “We try and instil redundancies, and we try and instil Plan Bs. We also try to ensure the drive systems and solutions we offer are simple and do not require a great deal of training to install, commission and diagnose”.
SEW is also aware that there is huge drive among many different organisations to ensure that supplied equipment are compliant to the highest energy efficiency standards and as well as sustainability demands, not only made by governments but the general public as well. This is another reason they like to be involved at the scoping stage of a project.
“We aim to be involved early on in the project, this way we are able to work from the ground up in achieving such targets as reducing the peak power draw of the system as a whole, and reducing the average energy consumption of a system as much as possible, by articulating our motor selections to suit the system’s operational demands,’” he said. “What we try and do is take our time in learning about the applications and customer needs, and then standardise that as much as possible, therefore reducing drive system variants and complexity
“We size up to demand, we don’t chuck in an unrealistic safety factor for the sake of it. We take the big picture into account as we size and select conveyor drive systems. We perceive ourselves as a partner to the stakeholder, to the airport, not just a supplier.”
Jibrail also backs SEW’s ability to meet company’s needs simply due to the scale of the company both in Australia and overseas. Its stock holdings are high, which means its delivery times are quicker, which helps them to supply on demand almost as soon as a part is required.
“We have a big engineering force in terms of our level of expertise and training,” he said. “We take the time to invest in those traits in our engineering team. How that is useful in the airport solution business is that we are able to align ourselves with the customer’s requirements and come up with the most suitable solutions rather than just supply what’s on the shelf.”
“Getting deeper into an industry and learning the pain points, what problems are there to solve, speaking our stakeholders’ language – this is what we do.”