How is SEW EURODRIVE’s drive technology helping to boost the efficiency of baggage carousels?

Tobias Nittel: Depending on its length and structure, two or more simple direct-online motors are required to run at a fixed speed on a baggage carousel for minimal function. This means that even when the carousel is only partly loaded, all motors will operate in a so-called ‘partial load’ situation with low efficiency.

In order to optimise functionality and reduce the energy consumption of the carousel, SEW provides a smart module controller in which the drives are connected and can be activated or deactivated based on the live load. Combining this smart control with the use of super premium efficient drive solutions, such as our DRC.. electronic motor, can help to reduce energy consumption significantly. Additionally, the solutions add functionality to the application, such as adjustable acceleration with smooth ramps, load sharing for less stress to the mechanical system and local operation to overcome breakdown situations.

Noise is also a concern behind the scenes in baggage handling. How do SEW’s motors help to dial down the volume?

High noise levels are a significant issue when it comes to baggage handling. The mechatronic drive system MOVIGEAR and the DRC.. electronic motor are totally enclosed and surface cooled, ensuring high system efficiency. This means an additional fan is not required to achieve the system’s full capacity and, since the fan is mostly the reason for noise in a gear-motor or mechatronic system, the noise level is significantly reduced. Compared with a standard gear motor, the use of MOVIGEAR will lower the perceived noise down by half or even less.

To what extent have you integrated energy efficiency into your baggage handling products?

The energy efficiency of SEW’s baggage handling product range begins with the assembly of our highly efficient MOVIGEAR drive system, which consists of a motor, gear unit and electronics, in a single extremely compact mechatronic unit. It is optimally adapted to the special requirements of baggage handling technology in the airport industry thanks to its outstanding overload behaviour, which substantially reduces the installed power rating and generates energy savings.

The benefits of the MOVIGEAR product range can also be found in the motor’s extremely high efficiency level, even exceeding IE4 (super premium efficiency), making it a sustainable drive solution. The integration of motor, frequency inverter and gear unit into the MOVIGEAR mechatronic drive system, which has not yet been mandated by European Standard EN50598, is already minimising losses and increasing the efficiency of baggage handling systems.

SEW’s expertise also extends to automatic handling robots. What advantages do loading robots extend to the management of ground operations?

Manual loading is a necessary, but potentially dangerous, part of normal airport operations. In order to increase the safety of staff in this area, different OEMs and system integrators are investigating options to increase the level of automation in this area.

Based on our experience from other industries, such as material handling, SEW has developed products and software solutions for an automation of process like this. These include a standard loading robot, stationary conveyor systems, autonomous vehicles that could possibly pick the ULD from the loading station and tailor-made kinematics that are adapted perfectly to the needs of the operator.

SEW also manufactures products for the automotive, beverage and intralogistics sectors. How has the company’s involvement in these industries informed your work at airports?

Developing products for these different industries allows us to learn and understand the needs of our customers. Lately, we have recognised that more and more processes are transferable between different sectors. For example, permanent magnetbased motors are traditionally used in conveying applications throughout the food and beverage industry, but are now commonly found in airports as well.

This principle also applies to autonomous vehicles, which our firm has recognised are invaluable in the flexible transportation of individual passenger baggage. In fact, SEW has used autonomous vehicles in its own manufacturing and assembly processes for many years. We are more than happy to share our experience and help our customers to implement these new technologies in their own systems.