Many of the world's premier suppliers used Inter Airport to launch new products and confirm their global intentions.
In amongst the usual swathe of ground support equipment at Inter Airport, visitors to the outside area could not have failed to notice the vast array of monstrous looking winter service equipment that lined the aisles. The charge was led by Finland's Patria Vammas and Germany's Schmidt Airport Equipment, exhibiting together for the first time following initial discussions that date back to the last Inter Airport in Frankfurt two years ago.
The two have struck up an agreement that sees Vammas and Schmidt represent each other in the Nordic countries and central Europe respectively. They have also forged a close relationship that sees collaboration on production and manufacturing.
Individually, Vammas, in particular, had plenty to talk about. As Airports International readers will be aware (see April 1998 and April 1999 issues), Vammas made an important breakthrough into the US market 18 months ago, when JF Kennedy, Toronto Pearson and Boston Logan airports all took up lease/option orders for its PSB 5500 history plough, broom jet blower units.
A further order has now been placed for six units by Chicago O'Hare with delivery expected in time for the winter season.
Interestingly, Vammas had Eric Tolton, General Manager, Facilities Maintenance, Greater Toronto Airport Authority, on hand to talk about the PSB 5500H from a user rather than a sales perspective.
Having leased two units from Vammas last December, Toronto saw more snow in the first two weeks of the following January than in the whole of the previous winter. According to Tolton, the units coped with everything that was thrown at them, and the GTAA was able to cut runway clearance times from almost two hours to just an hour.
"At the end of January, I was convinced in my mind about the units," says Tolton. "They could make a difference in runway occupancy time - a critical issue at a busy airport like Toronto. This winter, with a fleet of six vehicles, I think we can realistically achieve 30 minutes [clearance time]. Without such equipment it would be a pipe dream."
With recommendations like this, and the significant number of US airports in the snow belt that are building new runways, the future looks bright for Vammas in North America.
In the meantime, the Patria Vammas board is looking to the next stage in the company's development. Keen to develop more of a 'total' winter service offering, it has given the green light to fill in some of the gaps in the range of equipment currently offered.
With this in mind, Vammas announced at the show that it had signed a letter of intent to combine forces with a Scandinavian friction testing system supplier.
"Friction testing equipment fits excellently into Patria Vammas' current product range," said Hannu Lautamaki, Vice President in a statement. "We have much of the required engineering and manufacturing competencies already and have very strong synergies within our company. The customer base is the same and thus will strengthen our position to better serve airports."
Elsewhere in winter services, there was much to attract visitors to the Bucher Schorling stand where the company was highlighting a new addition to its range, the P21 high performance snow sweeper. The new vehicle is essentially the next generation of the company's highly successful P17 model, of which more than 800 units are in use today.
According to Bucher Schorling, the basic concept for the P21 involved the production of the best possible design for a three-wheel trailer unit, which could be adapted for use as a semi-trailer, or with a drive unit and also as a compact sweeper, fitted on a special chassis.
As Axel Dazenko, Sales Manager, Airport Equipment told Airports International, many of the features of the popular P17 have been retained on the P21. It retains, for instance, carrier wheels on the roller broom and an aggregate compartment for the unit which can be tilted hydraulically.
"It was time to look towards the next generation," explained Dazenko. "The P21 has higher performance, lower weight and a smaller wheel base. The small wheel base gives it excellent flexibility, while the weight plays a role in terms of maintenance and fuel consumption."
The new P2, which will be produced in parallel with the P17, has already been tested in the high Arctic regions of Sweden, and further winter trials are expected this season before serial production begins in earnest next year.
Another winter vehicle specialist, Norway's Overaasen AS, was celebrating a US$5 million contract from Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL). According to Overaasen, officials at Oslo expect runway closure time to be cut in half with the purchase of the equipment.
Overaasen's delivery consists of 10 complete units, each including trucks, snowploughs, and runway sweepers. The airport is purchasing seven jumbo-sized RS 400 runway sweepers, whose five-metre clearing width is a major time-saver, since a runway can be cleared in one sweep. Also in the contract are three compact RSC 200 runway sweepers with a standard 3.5-metre width. Both sweeper units are based on Overaasen's 200 modular system.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the vehicle exhibits was a new system designed to work in tandem with such snow clearing and deicing giants. The Aircraft Sensors division of BF Goodrich Aerospace featured its new [IceHawk.sup.TM] Wide Area Ice Detector camera designed to detect ice on an aircraft both before and after conventional deicing.
BF Goodrich has been providing in-flight ice detection for years. However, it decided to expand its expertise into on-ground deicing with the purchase of ice detection technology from Robotic Vision Systems Inc (RVSI) at the end of last year.
"The technology is used to detect ice on aircraft surfaces, and will become an important part of the de-icing process," explained Michael J Parise, Director of Engineering, Commercial Transport. "It is used both to detect the presence of ice prior to deicing, and then to verify the ice has been removed afterwards."
In just a couple of seconds, the IceHawk[sup TM] `camera' scans the wide area of an aircraft surface with an infrared light beam to give an instant picture of any ice (including `clear ice'), snow or frost. Ice patches are highlighted in red. The system can see through de and anti icing fluid to detect any frozen contaminant underneath, says Parise.
This means that, instead of taking a blanket bombing approach to deicing, aircraft can be deiced according to precise data. The idea is to save money on expensive deicing operations, as well as improve safety and, of course, help the environment by eliminating unnecessary deicing. It could also eliminate the need for so-called tactile and visual inspections by ground and flight crews.
Parise says that the initial intent is for the system to be used as part of the deicing process, although its actual use will depend on the deicing procedures used by specific airports and airlines. Delta Airlines has already used IceHawk[sup TM] operationally for several deicing seasons, including its use as an approved replacement for a tactile check on one of their aircraft types. The airline will shortly seek approval to use the system as a replacement for a tactile check on a second aircraft type.
At the show, the system was also mounted on one of the Vestergaard Elephant deicing trucks destined for Munich Airport.
Meanwhile, in the airport fire fighting sector, the paint was barely dry on the vehicle that German Fire Trucks (GFT) was exhibiting to herald its entry into the market.
The two-year-old, Munich-based company had on show its new Airport Fire Fighter 8x8 (GAFF 8x8). According to Christoph Preuss, Assistant Manager, GFT, the GAFF 8x8 is the first vehicle to be built according to both ICAO and ADB (an association of German airports) guidelines.
The vehicle boasts an aluminium body which means that it is lighter for better fuel consumption, more rigid and extremely resistant against corrosion. The modular construction means that there is fast and easy access to the pump unit, tank and dry powder unit.
The unit, built with a MAN chassis, also has a formidable fire-fighting capacity having onboard 12,500 litres of water, 2x750 litres of foam, and 1,000 kgs of dry powder. A roof mounted flood light unit ensures effective nighttime operations.
While it is generally agreed that airport shows are places for making contacts rather than securing definite orders, airport bus specialist Contrac proved to be the exception to the rule in Munich.
"At the last count we have sold 23 buses from the stand," said a beaming Sales Director, Andreas Funk on only the second da),. "We have been selling both the Cobus 3000 and the smaller 2400 which was introduced six months ago."
While the 14-metre Gobus 3000 remains the company's flagship product, the 2400 is a smaller relation, with capacity for 35 passengers, intended for carrying VIPs and flight crews.
"The Cobus is mounted on a special low floor bus chassis, which requires only one step to enter," said Funk. "The chassis, designed by Daimler Chrysler, is made of aluminium, enabling Contrac to guarantee a working life of more than 25 years."
Similarly, the bus body is made of aluminium, which protects against corrosion or rust. As a light material, aluminium also helps to keep the total weight of the bus down, a big help in terms of fuel consumption. Low fuel consumption is also achieved through the limited engine horsepower of 50 km an hour. This top speed, Funk points out, is not a limitation for drivers since it is already higher than is allowed at airports.
Elsewhere, Trepel's CHAMPion 140 loader was making its show debut. This is a further development of the 14 ton loader, type PCL 140/56 introduced in 1994.
"While seven ton loaders are mainly used, we are beginning to see the 14 ton loaders replacing them in many parts of the world," said a spokesman.
The loader has an 82 kW engine which, says the company, makes the CHAMPion 140 the fastest loader in the world. A maintenance-free multiple wet disk brake system provides brake performance of up to 40%. In addition, the unit is equipped with a separate operated spring-loaded 'brake system which acts as an emergency brake. The main platform - with or without payload - can be raised or lowered in 23 seconds.
Another German manufacturer, Schopf, highlighted its new F180 tractor for pushback and towing of aircraft of up to 250,000 kg in weight. It is the natural successor to the F246, of which more than 300 units have been sold around the world. The launch customer for the F180 is Germany's Dortmund Airport.
Back inside the sweltering hangars at Munich, visitors to the TEAM stand were able to cool down and enjoy some old-fashioned Spanish hospitality with Rioja, cheese and jamon, along with the news that the company is widening its business portfolio to include aircraft guidance and docking systems.
Technical Manager, Javier Sibils, told Airports International that this new system, patented with the name GuideVISION, had been introduced to complement the company's range of mobile telescopic passenger boarding bridges.
GuideVISION is one of the new generation of automatic docking guidance systems which, instead of loops or lasars, relays images taken by digital camera. The real time pictures can be seen by the pilot, and the camera records images of the whole surroundings and environment during docking. The images also enable the area to be monitored remotely. TEAM says that the new system will allow greater precision for aircraft when travelling over the runway, greater safety under bad weather conditions and an optimal integration of the airport control centre information systems.
GuideVISION has been developed with the future needs of airports in mind, says TEAM. The system, which also offers new additional information such as the time or outside temperature, can be integrated into both the passenger boarding bridge technology and the airport computer systems. It automatically communicates information to controller work stations.
Sibils emphasised the safety of the system: a check is made every 200 milliseconds of all the system operating parameters and the aircraft is stopped if any error is detected. The system also picks up objects intercepting the aircraft's path and alerts the pilot if the passenger boarding bridge is not in parking position.
According to Sibils, Guide VISION will be commercially available in 2000, and the company is currently tendering for bridge and guidance system packages.
At the PD Systems stand, Martin Batchelor, PD's new Vice President Sales and Marketing, was keen to highlight the company's major strategic change over the last six months.
Until February of this year, PD Systems had been operating essentially as a one product outfit - the company's well-known Colourmaster range of passenger information monitors.
However, parent company Germany's Jauch Corporation sees considerable growth potential in PD Systems if it can establish a wider range of products.
"We decided fairly quickly when we carried out a strategic review that we couldn't really be a one product company, however good that product was," explained Batchelor. "The way that PD can grow is by offering a range of products so now we can be a one-stop supplier of everything from CCTV units to Colourmaster and Plasma."
Customers, large and small, can now pick and choose from a wide menu of monitor solutions.
Fellow FIDS player, Intersystems, was emphasising its global reach with representatives from its Asia Pacific, US and European offices out in force in Munich.
Intersystems has recently partnered with Weather Services International (WSI), one of the world's largest suppliers of real-time weather data, imagery, programming and weather forecast services. The resulting product, RapidWind, is a weather information display system that runs on airport display monitors.
Intersystems says that RapidWind is another method of increasing airport revenue; the facility could, for example, be hired by airlines to show waiting passengers the weather conditions at their chosen destination.
RapidWind is a software module which fits into Intersystems' RapidAims Airport Information Management System.
The advantage of having an exhibition at a busy international airport such as Munich is that several exhibitors are likely to have actually done some business at the airport. This was certainly the case for Alstom Automation, which shuttled 100 visitors a day from the exhibition area to Munich Airport to see the company's recent transfer baggage handling installation in action.
Alstom supplied the complete electrical hardware and software, including the host computer, the visualisation system, and the connection to the airport flight computer at Munich. Alstom was also responsible for the overall coordination of commercial, project management, construction and system integration, as well as the actual training of staff in terms of maintenance and final operation of the system.
The DM16 million installation went live on 1 July, just six months from point of order. Today, the filly automatic online operation - now a separate system at Munich - handles 5,000 bags per hour for Lufthansa's busy transfer baggage operation. According to Alstom, the airport has been extremely satisfied with the system's read rate of more than 90%.
The airport is promising airlines a minimum connection time of 35 minutes, with a further reduction to 25 minutes for select partners such as Lufthansa.
In addition to this important project at Munich, Alstom is currently involved in baggage handling system contracts at airports such as Basle/Mulhouse, Istanbul, Frankfurt and the exciting new Inchon International Airport in Korea.
For the latter project, Alstom Automation has been taken on by the Korea Airport Construction Authority (KOACA) as part of a consortium led by Mannesmann Dematic and including POSCON Corporation and POSCO Machinery. The total order is worth around DM200 million, with Alstom's automation content (electric, computer control and installation), around DM21 million.
* Korea's Youyang Airport Lighting Equipment came to Munich to show off its comprehensive range of airfield lighting. The company has been very successful in supplying its products to US Air Force bases in Korea, and is now planning a step-by-step expansion into the US and European civil markets, Doo Ho Kim, Director, Youyang told Airports International.
* Expresso highlighted its new luggage trolley "Safety First Mark II" which has a load capacity of 120 kg and a compact luggage platform of 780 X 610 mm. It also has space for large advertising panels at the front, in the basket and on the push handle.
Man versus machine
Who'd be a baggage handler? All that lifting and loading in hot, cramped baggage make-up areas. But, help is at hand. In one of the most innovative initiatives on show at Inter Airport, ABB is trying to relieve baggage handlers of some of this toil by automating the loading process with a prototype robot `baggage handler'. Visitors to Inter Airport were able to see a demonstration of the robot's capabilities in a nearby hangar. The robot showed it's ability to make complex decisions about baggage size, weight, and position when loading, coping admirably with vanity cases, Samsonites and soft baggage alike.
The robot raises many questions about baggage handling automation, not least in terms of loading speed, system integration, and the need for something of a paradigm shift in terms of today's baggage handling and loading procedures. Martin Koini, Head Design and System Development, ABB, admits that there is a lot of work to do in terms of system optimisation, but nonetheless reported phenomenal interest from a variety of airport representatives at the show.
The next step, says Koini, is a field trial in a live satellite or pier. With such interest at the show, this could be sooner rather than later.
Deciding the kind of seating that fits best into an airport is not as simple as it first appears. Airport authorities naturally look to hard-wearing, easy to clean seats, but the benches also need to fit into the building as a whole. This leaves the door wide open for seating companies which have come up with a range of solutions for the discerning passenger.
In developing its new Delta 075 seating system, Artifort appointed architect Jan Pesman as the designer: Pesman says he took the large scale of the surrounding airport architecture as his starting point, and the design of the bench hints at wings, flaps and other light-metal components of aircraft.
Schiphol has been trialling the Delta 075 for the last few months, and eventually some 4,000 Delta 075 seats will be incorporated into the airport's new seating areas. Artifort's Coen Verhoef told Airports International that this second generation of Delta seating is tougher against vandalism, and has stronger backs.
More radically, Schiphol has also bought 70 chaise lounge chairs, named Relay. These relaxing havens, reminiscent of a dentist's chair in shape, provide welcome leg support thanks to a built-in foot rest. If successful, Schiphol could be installing a total of 300 Relays in its waiting areas.
Meanwhile, Kusch and Co has signed a five-year contract to supply seating to nine airports in South Africa. The company's Craig Wright said that, in the first year alone, Kusch has supplied 3,500 seats to Capetown, Durban and Johannesburg airports. Wright told Airports International that the contract could mean as many as 15,000 seats in total over the five year period.
"The airports in the hotter climates are showing a lot of interest in our pure stainless steel version seating," said Wright. "In humid or salty conditions, some materials are likely to deteriorate much faster. Our seats can be easily mechanically "brushed" to remove scratches - and this will be necessary very infrequently."
Meanwhile, Figuras, a 50 year old company which has been dealing in airport seating for around 20 years has also been kept busy with a variety of projects-including 10,000 seats recently installed at Palina, Majorca.
The company's Clemens Porsche was stressing the width of its new airport benches, designed by Spaniard, Oscar Tusquests. The benches, type 4 747, are a generous 65 cms from the centre to centre of each seat.
Artifort's Coen Verhoef settles down to a well-earned rest with Airports International on the company's newly introduced Relay model of luxury benches.
With its devilish propensity to stick to floors and surfaces, chewing gum remains a perennial problem for airports and municipal areas. Step forward German company, Ecoser, which was introducing its new chewing gum removal machine removal machine in Munich.
Unusually, the machine which can be mounted on a trailor or larger vehicle, works on the principle of low rather than high pressure. A company representative said that high water pressure machines had the disadvantage of using much larger quantities of water, and were power-thirsty, adding to the expense of operation.
"Our machine uses the principle of low pressure with steam, and an environmentally friendly chemical material" he explained.
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1999|
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