No more carousel chaos? Your luggage and load cells

Published On: June 27 2024

You know the scenario. You’ve arrived at your holiday destination, stood in the passport control queue for ages, and finally reach baggage reclaim to find – no luggage (yet). You then spend what seems like a lifetime watching every other suitcase, backpack, golf bag, and UWO (Unindentified Wrapped Object) circulating around.

And as you watch someone struggle to lift their bulging baggage onto the floor, you suddenly realise just how heavy 23kg is…

 

Mind your back

The FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group (BIWG) want to change all that and transform baggage handling using automation and robots working alongside human (cobots). Plus, of course, a little help from load cells.

The BOOST initiative aims to bring airports together to:

“Eliminate physical strain and improve working conditions for baggage workers by accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies. This initiative will leverage the collective innovation power of multiple airports, focusing on hands-on execution and rapid implementation of new technologies in the baggage journey.”

 

Innovation through collaboration

The idea is that airports will drive innovation through collaboration, as Dennis van Kleef, Programme Lead Baggage, Royal Schiphol Group explained:

“Our ultimate goal is to lighten the physical workload and improve working conditions for baggage employees. Information and insights will regularly be shared with the other key partners, meaning everyone can benefit from the various pilots without having to carry them out independently.”

The BOOST initiative initially involves three airports each investigating different aspects of the baggage journey:

Schiphol – The Netherlands

Effective automated loading solutions, with COBOTS loading luggage carts, whilst also testing an alternative robotic loading solution for comparison.

Incheon – South Korea

Automating the “handling of irregularly sized and heavy baggage, classifying and transporting to each terminal building”.

Avinor – Norway

A digital planning solution to optimise luggage batch release and the driver assignment system, including load cells, to “improve efficiency, reduce manual actions, and increase handling speed”.

 

The human touch

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol are also involved in other baggage innovation research with KLM and the Delft University of Technology (TUDelft). Key to THIS research will be the balance between humans and machines, as Professor David Abbink (TU Delft Professor of Haptic Human-Robot Interaction and Scientific Director of FRAIM), explained:

“We need to learn from the experts in the workplace what is important to them in their work and what they would like to see done differently. The members of our research team have different backgrounds, which enables us to try to expose each other’s blind spots, so that we can learn more together than we would individually.

We are shaping the future of work and how the role of people will change in it. The study will help us shape that together with employees.”

 

Load cells and heavy lifting

If you need load cells to help with any lifting, from bags to bridges, luggage to lunar landers, we’re here to help!