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Schiphol Airport: A Pioneer in Baggage Handling Technology

  • Airports
  • 3 min read

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a major European hub, has always been known for its constant drive for innovation. In a recent move to transform baggage handling, Schiphol, in collaboration with its six baggage handlers – KLM, Aviapartner, dnata, Menzies, Swissport, and Viggo – is ensuring employee welfare in the baggage halls.

Schiphol Airport: A Pioneer in Baggage Handling Technology

The Joint Action Plan: A Step Towards the Future

These partners have unitedly presented a joint action plan to the Labour Inspectorate, Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie. The focus? Reducing the physical workload of their employees. The central idea is to progressively move from manual lifting aids to full automation in baggage handling.

For the immediate future, the goal is to have a lifting aid at each and every workstation. This will ensure that every staff member can access and use it. The airport has equipped roughly 50% of the work locations, and Schiphol plans to achieve 100% coverage by April 2024.

To accelerate the adoption, Schiphol has strategically invested in 30 transfer belts and 19 baggage robots. This decision came after these innovations received positive feedback during their trial phases. Of the three types of lifting aids tested, Schiphol swiftly decided to order 80 of the most effective ones.

Baggage Halls: Varied and Versatile

Schiphol’s baggage halls are diverse in structure and function, catering to arriving and departing passengers. The needs vary depending on whether the luggage is for arrivals or departures. It also depends on whether baggage goes through straight belts or carousels. With the new lifting aids, arriving baggage will require minimal manual intervention. Critically, these aids will significantly reduce the health risks for employees. They will minimize heavy lifting for over half of the locations handling departing baggage.

Eyeing Full Automation

The ultimate vision? Full automation. This doesn’t just mean replacing manpower with robots; it’s about merging human expertise with technology. Over the coming months, Schiphol and its partner companies will experiment with the most advanced technologies. These include automated unloading equipment and next-gen baggage robots. These are simply the advanced iterations of what’s already being used in Schiphol.

However, it’s crucial to note that the technology is still developing. Independent research from The Next Web and ErGos shows there is still some way to go. An exact timeline is pending for Schiphol’s baggage halls to be fully automated. However, the airport expects to update the timeline by the end of 2024.

As Schiphol sets the stage for the future of baggage handling, it emphasizes technological advancement and employee welfare. Schiphol is leading the way in airport baggage handling automation. Only time will tell how many other airports follow.

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