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completely different approach. This is why he says the new terminal building at Bergen Airport will be the first to adopt it in total although there has been a partial trial at Heathrow Airport as well. At Heathrow the baggage handling operators are using a remote arm known as a “manipulator” which is operated by a joystick which does most of the loading and lifting work. The trial which is using two of the manipulator units has been ongoing for about a year with modifications and feedback coming from the operators but Oftring stresses that the use of the arm is only a part of the Bag Factory system. “I think that Bergen will be the first airport to completely implement the system,” he adds. This will include a batch build concept and a storage area connected to three telescopic arm units. Bergen is currently the second busiest airport in Norway with 5 million passengers per year but the plan is to increase that to 7.5 million. There are a number of advantages of the new system


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over traditional methods, he says. One is improvements in health and safety because a lot of the lifting work is taken away from the operators. The second benefit is being able to reduce the requirement for multiple sorting carousels thereby increasing space in the sorting area. “We have done some simulation work on this and think with one speed loading device you could replace between 8-10 conventional sorting carousels,” he says. “Se you create space in the sorting area which is always too small anyway and you increase efficiency because you are reducing the number of people from 10 to 2 and you are also increasing speed of operations.” He says that the baggage handling industry is a


conservative one and there will be people who will say the new concept is too radical a change. “What I would say to that is why don’t you try it in one part of your operations replacing one of your carousels with a speed loading unit? And I think once they do that they will see the advantages.” Meanwhile at Finland’s Helsinki Airport they are set to start a trial using a robotic arm, which has been designed


AF / January 2014 / 25


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