Vanderlande and Avinor to explore last-mile baggage automation

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Vanderlande and airport operator Avinor have partnered to explore ways of fully automating the last mile of the baggage handling process.

The goal of the partnership is to automate a part of the baggage handling process that has remained unaltered for more than 50 years. The unloading of luggage from the baggage handling system onto containers bound for the aircraft is currently a labor-intensive and costly operation. According to Avinor, about 50% of costs related to baggage handling are incurred through these last-mile activities.

Vanderlande will supply two solutions – BagLoad for integrated robot loading and Fleet Batch for the transportation of ULDs. These solutions will be trialed at Oslo Gardermoen Airport in Norway. The goal of this partnership is to enhance the efficiency and reliability of baggage handling, benefiting the airport industry as a whole.

Avinor received funding of around Nkr15m (US$1.4m) after Innovation Norway selected its project proposal. The airport operator chose Vanderlande as its technology partner through a tender process, and the partnership will run from August 2023 to November 2024. The two organizations have a long history of partnership, dating back to 1994 when Vanderlande supplied Oslo Gardermoen Airport’s first BHS.

The first phases of the partnership will take place at Vanderlande’s testing facilities in Veghel in the Netherlands and involve further developing and prototyping the technologies according to the project brief. From September 2024, the two products will be subject to a three-month trial at Oslo Airport, where Avinor has built a dedicated project test center. This facility is connected to the BHS, so assessments will be undertaken in a truly live environment.

“The main objective of our partnership is to increase the efficiency of the baggage handling process while removing repetitive heavy lifting duties currently undertaken by baggage handlers,” said Ole Petter Storstad, director of technology and infrastructure at Avinor. “We’re excited to work with Vanderlande, whose current level of technology provides us with confidence that a viable solution can be developed and rolled out across the entire industry.”

“We’re delighted to be partnering Avinor in this ambitious project, and I believe their choice is recognition of our strong focus on automating the end-to-end baggage handling process,” commented Andrew Manship, executive vice president of airport and parcel solutions and a board member at Vanderlande. “The collaboration will supercharge our development work, and a successful outcome will benefit the airlines, handling companies and all individuals currently engaged in difficult manual work.”

For more key baggage updates from the passenger terminal industry, click here.

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