Siemens: combining innovative equipment with intelligent software

Posted: 13 July 2017 | | No comments yet

Keeping pace with rising passenger numbers while ensuring the highest levels of passenger convenience is the balancing act that airports and airlines have to master. Michael Reichle, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL), explains how Siemens combines innovative equipment with intelligent software.

How does Siemens help airports and airlines meet the challenges of today and tomorrow?

We successfully bring the real world of logistics and the digital transformation together for our customers – that’s how it works. We combine decades of experience and know-how in the automation of logistics processes with intelligent software and cloud application competence. Digitalisation meets customer value – that’s how we interpret the buzzword ‘Airport 4.0’.

Could you please give more detail regarding what that means for airports and airlines?

In addressing the challenges of the future, airports often find that their baggage and cargo handling systems require modernisation and expansion. Flexibility has therefore become a crucial requirement: the flexibility to grow, to adjust check-in layouts, or to adapt to new screening requirements.

Another important requirement for future airports is data transparency. The digitalisation of airport logistics processes allows for a significant improvement in baggage and freight handling along the entire logistics chain. And simplified and accelerated processes boost customer satisfaction.

What are Siemens’ latest product innovations?

Large airports with a high number of transfer passengers particularly profit from our new tray portfolio, which combines the highest speed and highest throughput rates with industry-leading energy efficiency.

With their unique design, our trays reach peak speeds of up to 10 metres per second. Additionally, Siemens baggage handling systems reach industry leading throughput rates; an example being at Beijing International Airport, where up to 19,200 bags are transported per hour. The high backend ensures extra safe transport of baggage and reduces the dropout rate to almost zero. Our screenable tray enables the integration of ultramodern X-ray devices.

Major hub airports around the world already rely on our tray technology, but we are also proud of new important tray projects like Incheon in South Korea, Guangzhou in China, and Paris in France.

What does Siemens offer in the context of digitalisation?

Siemens’ solutions cover the entire automation pyramid: from low-level hardware and controls to high-level information technology and cloud collaboration platforms.

Let me give you an example: Siemens’ new intelligent data management and monitoring system enables information-based decision making. With transparent information at their fingertips, operators receive assistance to improve staff deployment, equipment utilisation, and maintenance procedures. What’s more, the system can also be used to measure key performance indicators (KPIs); for example, as part of performance-based operation and maintenance contracts. The Siemens system allows for continuous operational improvement and reliability. Our dashboard solutions are successfully used, for example, in Los Angeles and Dubai.

We are currently taking our data analytics dashboard to the next level: MindSphere from Siemens is a cloud-based, open operating system for the Internet of Things. Using the industry-proven platform and its unique algorithm, we are piloting trendsetting solutions for preventive maintenance at airports; for example, at London’s Heathrow Airport.  

How do you bring products and software together?

Our software and mechatronic products are developed to fit seamlessly together. Our experienced and well-trained employees bring digitalisation and logistics together. Today, more than 50 per cent of our engineering staff worldwide are software specialists. We have recently established the new strategic position of Chief Digitalisation Officer within SPPAL to further highlight the importance of digitalisation. Three thousand employees work at our own regional subsidiaries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Canada and the United States. Wherever our customers are, our Siemens experts are close at hand to develop and implement solutions designed for their needs: from small domestic airports to regional and international hubs.

About Michael Reichle

Michael Reichle was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) in July 2014. The industrial engineering graduate joined Siemens in 1997 and held various management positions, for example in infrastructure mega projects, as well as in industry solutions and rail business.

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