Final Call with Andreas Delhusen, DHF Airport Systems AB

Posted: 20 March 2015 | International Airport Review

Andreas Delhusen, President and CEO of Sweden-based DHF Airport Systems AB, explains how its software can be used for centralised alarm analysis in critical airport functions.

Why is centralised alarm analysis important?

It is important that the technology in critical airport systems is functional. Technical faults of various kinds often lead to expensive disruption for airports and also affect airlines and passengers. A fault in a complex airport system usually leads to a large number of consequential faults. In a modern control room, most variables are measured and monitored by alarms. Therefore, a non-trivial fault usually leads to a large amount of triggered alarms, a so-called alarm cascade. Alarm cascades cause information overload and render the alarm system useless during incidents.

Can you give an overview of DHF’s Airport Fault Detection System (AFDS)?

DHF’s AFDS performs root-cause analysis online in real time, as a fault situation develops. In this way, large alarm cascades can be reduced to a single initiating event. This is a revival for the alarm list, which becomes useful throughout complex fault situations. AFDS provides unique alarm analysis and enhanced functionality for critical airport functions such as air traffic control, baggage handling, air­craft ground support equipment, airport termi­nal building management systems and security systems.

The technology is based on multi-level flow models, which can solve the problem of alarm cascades by performing root cause analysis online in real time, as an alarm cascade develops. By immediately showing the root cause or causes, the system helps the operator to maintain situational awareness in complex fault situations. All alarms arrive to the airports SCADA and control system, and are sent on to the root cause analysis algorithm – AFDS.

This in turn uses a so-called multi-level flow model to calculate whether each new alarm is either a consequence of an already known alarm, or a new root cause, also known as an originating event. Each alarm is labelled as either a root cause or a consequence, and then transferred to the AFDS alarm list. Here it appears in either the root cause list, or the consequence list. The difference between the lists is obvious. In the dual AFDS alarm list, the operator can see the originating events separated from the mass of consequential alarms. In other words, the operator can see at a glance what has really happened.

DHF’s AFDS can provide alarm analysis of an airport’s critical systems from any central location and will pinpoint the real faults, reduce the information overload, shorten the diagnosis time, and improve the validity of the fault diagnosis. In the end, this results in shorter downtime and improved reliability of airport operations. The optimised airport operation will serve as a basis for greater airport capacity and profitability. AFDS does not compete with, but instead, works in conjunction with existing airport systems and enhances the functionality in monitoring and alarm analysis.

How can the AFDS be delivered as an add-on functionality to improve already existing airport systems and processes?

AFDS can be delivered to airport operators and air navigation service providers as a software add-on for existing monitoring solutions for airport and air navigation service technology. AFDS can also be integrated, as a complementary element to into another supplier’s product to offer enhanced functionality. DHF is currently in business development processes with several of the world’s leading suppliers of airport equipment with the aim of integrating DHF’s algorithm into their systems. By adding DHF software to major suppliers’ already existing business deliveries at international airports, DHF expects the product to be gradually present at the majority of the world’s large to hub size airports. What makes the AFDS unique is its technology and implementation. It’s intelligent, fast and easy. Compared with traditional technology it’s almost plug and play, and fits very well into existing airport solutions.

Why is it important to differentiate between root and consequence faults?

Alarm cascades are the most difficult and dangerous alarm problem, and root cause analysis is the solution. So far, there has been a lack of viable solutions, but now DHF offers a reliable and easy to use method. The problem AFDS solves is to identify the root cause, which is the important alarm among hundreds of alarms in these alarm cascades, which can be like finding a needle in a haystack. By filtrating the root causes from the consequential faults the operator can immediately take the correct action. We estimate that with this enhanced functionality airports can increase efficiency and potentially save millions of Euros each year.


Andreas Delhusen, President and CEO of DHF Airport Systems AB, has a solid background in aviation and international airport business. A Flight Captain with 10 years as an active pilot, Andreas then spent 18 years dealing with airport solutions such as passenger boarding bridges, visual docking guidance systems, aircraft ground support equipment and airport IT solutions for a variety of air traffic control and airport systems. Andreas is also a true entrepreneur and co-founder of DHF Airport Systems AB.

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