Schiphol trials technology to lighten physical baggage handling work

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Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands will test two new technologies to lighten the physically demanding work of employees in the baggage handling hall.

One of the trials is with a robot developed by Cobot Lift especially for Schiphol. The Cobot Lift robot was originally used in other sectors, such as bakeries, but over the past six months it has been developed further for lifting suitcases and for use at Schiphol. The updated Cobot Lift robot lifts suitcases for employees. As the employee works with the robot, the airport expects the robot to be able to lift at least 80% of all baggage without any problems during this trial. The ultimate goal is 90% of all baggage. With this first two-week trial, Schiphol and handling company Aviapartner want to test whether expectations will be met in practice and find out how employees experience this technology and what they need for the follow-up.

Additionally, in the baggage handling hall, KLM employees are testing a new lifting aid that enables suitcases to be pushed onto the baggage belt. Soon, employees of the other handlers at Schiphol will also test this lifting aid. This new transfer belt is specifically for unloading transfer passenger baggage, for which no lifting aid is currently available. The equipment is placed between the baggage container and the baggage belt, so employees only need to push the baggage aside. This can reduce the physical strain on staff in the short term. The airport expects every one of its work locations to have a functioning lifting aid that can be used by all employees within a year.

Sybren Hahn, director of asset management at Royal Schiphol Group, said, “Work in the baggage handling hall and on the apron is crucial in enabling all travelers to go on their journeys. We want everyone at Schiphol to have a good workplace and therefore want to use technology to improve working conditions. In the coming period, we will test at least five more lifting aids and several fully automated solutions, some of which are new in aviation.”

Read more of the latest baggage updates from the passenger terminal industry, here.

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