Airport logistics Smooth baggage handling process thanks to Service 4.0
Condition monitoring and predictive analytics enable higher equipment reliability, increased productivity, and improved system availability.
More than anything, passengers want a smooth travel experience, whether at check-in, in the departing airport, during a flight, or at the arrival airport. And of course, a pleasant trip also means that baggage is handled quickly and accurately. One of the major concerns for airports, airlines and passengers alike is delayed or mishandled bags. Airports therefore need to ensure high availability and reliability of their baggage handling systems. Siemens Logistics’ innovative Service 4.0 program enables predictive maintenance planning and execution with just-in-time equipment servicing. Downtimes are considerably reduced and the efficiency of hardware and software systems is significantly increased.
Initial situation and challenges
Currently, time-based or usage-based maintenance plans dominate at most airports. According to these plans, scheduled maintenance is performed after certain periods of time or hours of machine use. With this strategy, component failure caused by wear cannot always be resolved or avoided in advance without affecting the baggage handling system's availability and capacity. These disruptions cause significant operational issues for the airport and system operators, leading to additional costs and delayed baggage – and thus, unsatisfied passengers.
To avoid such situations and to stay competitive, airports and airlines worldwide need to effectively manage their mission-critical assets. They must ensure that their systems – both hardware and software – are available at all times. Therefore, an alternative and ultimately better way to avoid interruptions in baggage flow is a maintenance strategy that monitors the condition of assets continuously. Failures, unplanned downtime, and emergency maintenance become a thing of the past.
Condition monitoring is a pillar in Siemens Logistics’ maintenance approach. It makes the most of data streams coming from baggage handling systems and their various components. Here, intelligent technologies monitor dynamic component properties, for example temperature, vibration, and other relevant parameters. Big data analytics then evaluate the gathered data – including information on aspects like the technical condition, usage, environment, and maintenance history – and derive information about a baggage handling system’s condition and performance. Predictive algorithms are employed to make forecasts on when assets will need to be serviced.
As part of Siemens’ Service 4.0 program, the predictive maintenance approach allows just-in-time equipment servicing and a predictable, balanced workload for the service team. Subsequently, maintenance actions are performed based on the true condition of an asset or component. As a consequence, the system is only taken out of service if the condition requires it and for the minimum necessary time. Further advantages include better utilization of spare parts and optimized stock management.
These key highlights represent a lean service approach that enables higher equipment reliability, increased productivity and improved system availability. Airports and airlines enjoy reduced costs and opportunities to exploit new business models. Thus, a tangible return on investment (ROI) is guaranteed. Facilities can be operated at their optimum performance and continue to process growing baggage volumes up to the maximum designed capacity.
A lean a tailored approach to service
Experience and best practices from operations and maintenance projects at international airports all over the world went into creating the program. Siemens’ Service 4.0 program has been implemented successfully at several major airports. In fact, three of the top ten busiest airports worldwide with together more than 240 million passengers yearly benefit from the innovative Service 4.0 solutions.
To meet individual customer needs, Siemens takes an agile approach, involving the customer in the solution identification and development process. Together with the customer as a cocreation partner, the Siemens experts analyze critical components and specific vulnerabilities, and develop solutions that are customized exactly to the requirements of the respective airports’ and airlines’ baggage handling systems. This approach adds maximum value and gives customers a significant competitive advantage.
In short, Service 4.0 from Siemens leads to more plannable maintenance processes, greater efficiency of spare parts usage, a reduction of complexity, and overall lower equipment downtime. Airports and airlines benefit from a longer equipment lifetime, a higher return on investment, a lower cost of ownership, higher capacity and productivity, and greater competitiveness. And for passengers, that translates into a smoother journey.