Have you ever tried lifting suitcases and placing them on top of each other for a couple of hours, under time pressure? Baggage handlers at airports frequently handle items weighing up to 50kg. As you can imagine, loading hold baggage in different shapes, sizes and weights into carts and containers manually is physically demanding. Having to repeatedly lift, turn and reposition luggage at awkward angles, to strict deadlines is hard work for handlers, and the potential for work-related injuries is significant.
Several solutions can help with loading, in various stages of automation and effectiveness: devices that grab bags by a vacuum or hook, horizontal loading aids that support baggage from below, extendible conveyors that reach into the container and lastly, fully automated robot loading that upgrades operators to the position of supervisor.
The best solution in terms of ergonomics as well as total cost of ownership for most airports seems to be the horizontal loading aid
. When making the transition from a manual only loading operation, it is imperative that airports select the correct equipment to support their ground staff. This will not only dramatically reduce inefficiencies, but create a safer working environment.
To be able to cope with the continued increase in passenger volumes that is expected globally, tracking and tracing requirements, sustainable operations and handling peaks in the baggage handling system, airports must implement the latest innovative technology to create maximum efficiency, and the decision to invest in loading aids is more a question of when rather than if.