Airports are facilities that ensure the transport of people and goods via air. They are the link to the other modes of transport, road and rail. In order to fulfill this function, the airport operators must provide the necessary airport infrastructure. Depending on the size of the airport, this could include terminal buildings, air cargo terminals, hangars for aircraft maintenance, facilities for the purpose of air and ground traffic control or vehicles for the execution of ground-based flight operations. For many years, SICK has been providing sensor solutions for the measurement and recording of data in these highly varied airport areas. SICK is renowned for consistently setting technological benchmarks, an example of this being its Airport Luggage Identification System (ALIS). With more than 2,500 installations spread throughout almost every airport in the world, SICK is presently the market leader in this industry.
In terms of luggage transportation, SICK offers suitable solutions for the entire process chain – starting with check-in and right through to loading of the aircraft. The luggage, which is identified with bar code labels and/or RFID tags, is securely transported to the target destinations within the building by means of the airport's material handling systems that are several kilometers in length. With its worldwide leading solutions for luggage identification, SICK can also provide support in this area. With sensor technology from SICK, it is possible to determine the size, position or shape of luggage items, which in turn helps to protect system parts from damage and optimize the processes for the intermediate storage or automatic loading of luggage items. > pdf: ALIS – Barcode/RFID – Airport Luggage Identification System
Air cargo terminals are warehouses and distribution centers that are operated by airports, airlines or typical forwarder companies. They are set up as on-site distribution centers at the airport itself. In terms of system technology and processes, they conform to standard distribution centers. Differences exist in the use of special air cargo containers, referred to as ULDs (Unit Load Devices) and specially designed loading pallets (in accordance with cargo hold geometry). Important components that are characteristic of air cargo terminals are high-bay warehouses and connective material handling technology. In the area of sensor technology for material handling systems and storage and retrieval systems, customers can rely on the highly proven solutions from SICK. These applications are intended for use in the positioning, protection and operation of storage and retrieval systems, as well as for shelf allocation. Last but not least, they are also used to ensure the safe operation of forklift trucks.
In the present-day field of airline catering, state-of-the-art systems are being implemented; the logistic processes are either partly or fully auto-mated. Operation of the individual work areas such as the reception of used dinnerware, cleaning, food preparation, loading of the trolleys and the aircraft supply is computer-controlled. Further components of such systems include automatic small part warehouse and the connective material handling technology, e.g. accumulating roller conveyors, electric overhead conveyors (EOC) or power and free conveyors. The widest variety of SICK sensors are used in each of these individual processes. Bar code scanners for container identification, distance sensors and optical data transmission components for secure operation of the storage and retrieval systems and photoelectric sensors for efficient operation of the accumulating roller conveyors.
In order to provide passengers and staff with quick and easy access to the aircraft, passenger boarding bridges are docked with the aircraft. In order to keep holding times as short as possible, and depending on the type of aircraft, up to three passenger boarding bridges (in the case of the Airbus A380) are maneuvered up to the aircraft.Sensors help to facilitate this process. The position of the bridge to the aircraft will be detected, sensors prevent the bridge from colliding with the aircraft body during the docking process, and in the event of several bridges being used, collisions between the bridges themselves are also avoided.
Aircraft docking systems help the pilot to take up the exact parking position at the terminal during landing. A display – positioned at the gate – guides the pilot to the correct stopping point by means of visual signals.SICK sensors scan the contour of the aircraft. This data can be used to determine the aircraft type, the current position of the aircraft and its deviation from the ideal line.
Aircraft tugs are used for the pulling or pushing (pushback) of aircraft. They push the aircraft backwards out of the parking position and onto the airfield. Aircraft tugs are also used to transport aircraft to maintenance hangars – without using the aircraft's own engine.SICK scanners assist the driver of the aircraft tug during the towing procedure. The steering angle of the tug is determined by means of the data transmitted by the scanner. This prevents unintentional oversteer and any associated maintenance work.