Lestyn Armstrong-Smith explains how Logan Teleflex is supporting the drive for better performing and more energy efficient airports.
Airport operators are looking for coherent baggage handling systems (BHS) and equipment that consistently provide high levels of performance, technological improvements, as well as cost-effective implementation and operation. But they are also increasingly looking to reduce their environmental impact and be seen as ‘green’ and energy efficient.
Logan Teleflex’s Tilt Tray Sorter technology has been at the core of its business since the introduction of third generation machines more than a decade ago. The latest generation − the highly advanced Model 700RF − offers improvements such as electrically powered tipping, radio frequency communications for greater efficiency, and a host of leading edge technological developments. The company says that the visible and immediate benefits of this include ease of use, speed, accuracy, minimal maintenance and downtime that maximises availability, precision control and energy savings.
Interestingly enough, it says it is the only available sorter on the market that does not require the ‘Heath Robinson’ style approach of using specially designed mechanical infills to deal with any induction problem. Plus, from an environmental point of view, it includes a variety of measures such as automatic dual speed operation and high performance induction that can process with two units the same number of bags that competing products require three units for, which together provide a highly energy efficient package.
“The M700RF represents the cutting edge in high-performance baggage handling technology. Such is the accuracy and reliability of our sorter that an induction test at Montreal Trudeau Airport resulted in only one bag out of 3.5 million bags failing to be properly inducted onto a tray,” says Dave Reynolds, Sales Director of Logan Teleflex.
He adds that the unique infill-free baggage sorting of the Logan solution offers a wide range of benefits that exceed other available similarly priced offerings. Environmental, cost saving, operational and technological advantages are some of the many reasons why forward thinking airport operators in Montreal, Cape Town, Dublin and Kunming have chosen the M700RF.
Automatic sorting of unstable bags
This induction accuracy is extremely important to smooth sorting operations. The patented Logan induction synchronises each bag, checking that each one is in the correct position following acceleration and deceleration of the induction conveyors. If the bag is out of synch because it’s unstable, then the system automatically resynchronizes it, ensuring that even the most unstable bags will clear induction.
Mr Reynolds claims: “Failures of up to 3% can be seen with other products. Such equipment requires infills to combat inherent design flaws and consequent operational problems. Infills are relatively complicated as they are mechanized to enable them to cope with the articulation of the trays as they go around bends, tip, and so on. They are therefore yet another potential maintenance problem for airport operators.”
But Logan Teleflex believes the problem with infills goes much further because by masking the induction problem they can lead to lost baggage. The company says infills prevent mis-inducted bags from falling between trays, but the bag becomes a mis-tracked bag and must be routed to the dump chute for manual processing. Tipping two trays to ensure the rogue bag is tipped to the dump chute can also cause a valid bag to be discharged to dump exacerbating the manual handling problems. In an extreme case the rogue bag can be so far out of position that it ends up on a tray with another valid bag, in such cases the rogue bag may be miss-sorted to a valid chute.
“Beyond the advantages of eliminating infills, the Logan’s M700RF offers other unique features that make perfect sense in today’s cost and environmental conscientious markets. These include the high performance achieved by the automatic two-speed feature of the system, which reduces energy consumption dramatically. This feature alone has demonstrated a 25% power saving because it slows down automatically to compensate for low throughput periods. This also reduces mechanical wear and tear and consequently maintenance costs are reduced by as much as 40% in some cases,” says Mr Reynolds.
According to Logan Teleflex, energy savings are also made possible because the sorter can handle the same throughput levels with only two inductions, whereas three inductions are common with other equipment.
The company says the high operational capability of the M700RF is also noteworthy, achieving 99.98% in-service availability. This, it says, demonstrates the robustness of the system by limiting downtime for maintenance and a very low use of spares. Mr Reynolds adds that all componentry found in the sorter is: “best in class,” thereby maximising efficiency and lowering environmental impact.
The RF communications feature of the sorter enables it to tip a tray at any point − even on bends. This offers the advantage of needing less space for installation and consequently the overall size of the baggage hall can be smaller. This in turn reduces the environmental impact of the sorting operation as well as reduces the carbon footprint of the airport.
“Another unique feature of the sorter is the use of radius-edged trays instead of the commonly used square edged trays. With the growing popularity of wheeled bags and suitcases, Logan discovered that baggage often ‘hooked’ the wheels over the tray edge causing discharge failures. By redesigning the edge of the tray, 95% of these issues were effectively resolved,” concludes Mr Reynolds.
A look inside reveals more
Logan Teleflex says that if you go beyond the surface of the TTS some significant differences appear that give airport operators a clear choice to apply technology that will underpin their environmental objectives.
The company has performed an immense amount of development work internally and with component suppliers to reduce energy consumption for its equipment. Significantly, the development of the linear induction motor drives by Force Engineering Limited has doubled the efficiency of the drive mechanisms. In addition, by critically examining the issue of friction between carriage wheels and the sorter track led it to develop what it claims is its: “unique castor-wheel arrangement.” This allows the carriages to follow the ideal line along the track and dramatically reduces friction associated with fixed-wheel designs.
Specifically designed to be more efficient
In addition, Logan Teleflex has developed the systems to reduce spares consumption − lower friction plays an important part in this. Where there is less need for replacing parts this is also beneficial not just in terms of less maintenance but also in the need to consign used parts to waste.
It has also introduced dynamic two-speed operation. Most systems offer two speeds, but Logan Teleflex says its product switches automatically between high and low speeds according to load without interrupting sorting operations. This alone is claimed to reduce the total distance travelled per year by 5,000 miles (8,000 km). The significance of this speaks for itself, with its impact on running costs and maintenance.
Logan Teleflex believes it is in a position to challenge airports to review their sorter technology and conclude whether or not their existing systems are helping them to achieve their environmental goals.
Tilt Tray Sorters for Kunming Project
Two large Logan Teleflex Tilt Tray Sorters measuring a total length of more than 2,300ft (700m) are a key element of a baggage handling system (BHS) project for Kunming International Airport in China that has been awarded to Logan KSEC.
The company says the project is worth €30 million (US$40m) and was won against stiff competition. It is the largest project to date for the joint venture between the UK’s Logan Teleflex and China’s KSEC (Kunming Ship Building Equipment Company).
The BHS will be installed in a brand new facility that will replace the existing airport. The system is due for completion and commissioning in March 2011. The new airport is due to go live on January 1, 2012, making it the fourth largest in China and the main regional airport for Yunnan province.
The BHS has been designed in conjunction with the prominent Chinese airport consultancy IPPR. Spanning a total conveyor length of more than six miles (10km), the system is managed using BagStage software and has a 26 PLC-based control system. It includes 200 check-ins, 12 make-up carousels and includes 14 arrivals carousels.
“This is an important win for the Logan KSEC joint venture. It puts the organisation firmly on the map of China as a competitive manufacturer of high quality, cost-effective baggage handling systems. We are delighted that Logan KSEC will play an important role in bringing the new facility into being. The new Kunming International Airport will be a major gateway to south west China as well as becoming an important regional hub,” says Dave Reynolds, Sales Director, Logan Teleflex.