Introducing predictive maintenance at Heathrow Airport

As part of its strategic partnership with Heathrow Airport, Vanderlande is introducing predictive maintenance to the airport’s baggage handling system. Vanderlande will equip approximately 2,000 assets in Terminal 3 with sensors. Incorporating cutting-edge solutions from Amazon Web Services (AWS), this initiative stands as an integral part of Vanderlande’s service proposition and will go live in spring 2024. It represents a substantial leap in Heathrow’s asset management roadmap as set out under the strategic partnership.

Transforming airport asset management

Well maintained and flawlessly performing assets are essential for seamless baggage operations. However, even with regular maintenance, there is a risk of unplanned system downtime caused by wear and tear. Through the implementation of predictive maintenance, asset management is transformed to become more proactive, and data driven.

By strategically deploying sensors on critical equipment and harnessing smart data, asset degradation patterns are identified and addressed before they can disrupt operations. This strategy not only reduces asset downtime by 25% on average, but also yields substantial savings in spare parts costs and maintenance hours. The result is a more sustainable and efficient approach to maintenance that fully supports Heathrow’s vision, which is to give passengers the best airport service in the world.

Leveraging combined expertise

To deliver unmatched predictive maintenance, Vanderlande seamlessly integrates state-of-the-art solutions from AWS Monitron. Having learned from its airport partners across the world, Vanderlande brings a deep understanding of airport processes and asset management to the collaboration. AWS Monitron complements Vanderlande’s AI capabilities with cutting-edge machine-learning algorithms and state-of-the-art sensors for detecting potential failures in industrial equipment.

The combined knowledge of these two industry leaders will ensure the delivery of a tailored solution to enhance baggage operations. A successful proof of technology for this initiative was conducted at the airport in 2023. This confirmed the effectiveness of the solution, highlighted the ease of data collection, sensor accuracy and, notably, a zero false alarm rate.

Delivering operational excellence

Since 2019, Heathrow Airport and Vanderlande have forged a strategic partnership, which has set the stage for long-term collaboration that is dedicated to operational excellence. This relationship also makes it easier to introduce innovative technology and processes.

“Vanderlande’s predictive maintenance solution is unique in its ability to be scaled almost indefinitely, without fundamental changes to its architecture and edge tooling. The harnessing of machine learning at the cloud layer allows application across a wide range of front-line assets in a way we believe will fundamentally shift the way maintenance is delivered at Heathrow,” says Iain Grierson, Chief Engineer – Baggage Handling Systems at Heathrow. “Solutions delivered to date have proven its ability to detect failures before they happen, helping make sure our passengers experience seamless journeys through Europe’s airport hub of choice.”

“The opportunity to implement predictive maintenance on such a large scale is exciting, as it enables a proactive asset management and allows us to further support Heathrow Airport in the achievement of their goals,” says Wouter Berben, Engineering Excellence Manager at Vanderlande.

Redefining airport operations

Looking beyond this project, Vanderlande is implementing predictive maintenance initiatives at various airports across Europe and North America. The proactive approach to asset management is set to become a benchmark for the industry, offering airports a reliable solution to enhance their baggage handling systems – and, ultimately, their passenger service levels.