Airport logistics Cloud-based system service from Siemens for London Heathrow Airport

  • Baggage handling system availability optimized by new maintenance concept
  • Use of intelligent sensors and modern cloud technology
  • Reliable, punctual delivery of baggage for greater passenger convenience

Siemens is using its decades of experience in logistics and profound software know-how to press ahead with the digitalization 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 traveled with baggage. "As well as optimizing 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 cloudbased 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 percent 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 visualizes 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 digitalization, 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.



Monica Soffritti


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