Vanderlande has supplied and installed 72 STACK@EASE units as part of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3 integrated baggage (T3IB) system. This follows successful testing of the innovative solution at terminals 3 and 5.

Developed by Vanderlande in 2013, STACK@EASE is a highly flexible solution that takes the heavy lifting out of loading operations in baggage handling environments. It works intuitively as an extension of the handlers’ normal operations to minimise their physical workload. This helps to increase productivity and reduce the risk of manual handling injuries.

The STACK@EASE unit takes its power from any standard wall socket and has a compact design. In addition, its minimal footprint enables it to fit seamlessly into baggage handling systems around the world with minimal disruption to existing layouts.

Cobalt Ground Services’ Baggage Training Duty Officer, Anand Sood, commented on his experience of using the STACK@EASE: "I didn’t really believe it at first, but the process was just as fast using the STACK@EASE as it was by manual loading – with so little effort. I could easily do my job in this way all day long. The movement I make with the STACK@EASE feels so natural that I don’t have to force it one way or the other, as it automatically gauges the weight of the load and counterbalances it."

Heathrow handles over 185,000 bags a day through a system comprising 30 miles of conveyors. The new T3IB facility is the most advanced integrated baggage system in Europe, integrating Terminal 3s baggage handling capacity from 5,200 to 7,200 bags per hour. The system is designed to reduce the time it takes to get bags ready for a flight to 90 minutes or less, meaning passengers will benefit from increased baggage connection reliability and the ability to check bags in earlier.

Director and General Manager of Vanderlande Industries UK Ltd, Mike Christman, said: "We are delighted with Heathrow’s decision to install the STACK@EASE in T3IB. With its low environmental impact and simple operation, the unit has a minimal impact on the planet, while creating a better working environment for baggage handlers."

The rise in passenger numbers across the world continues to put additional pressure on the capacity of existing airport terminals and infrastructure. As airports adjust to meet today’s demand for short turnaround times and higher throughput rates, the need for an efficient baggage handling operation also intensifies.

However, the reality is that at the majority of airports, sophisticated baggage systems still rely on manual handling to complete the end-of-line movement of luggage. STACK@EASE will provide invaluable support at this phase of the baggage handling operation at Heathrow.