Nord Drivesystems Optimizes Baggage Handling System

Nord Drivesystems Optimizes Baggage Handling System

One baggage handling system OEM came to greatly appreciate certain features of the Nord Drivesystems products they had chosen to include: encoder connectivity, positioning capability, and plug-in connectors that ensure fast and safe installation and commissioning. In addition, versatile interfaces enable efficient networking and remote monitoring of the devices in the field as well as the use of drives as distributed I/O nodes. On top of that, they were able to benefit from a variant reduction that greatly simplified spare parts management.

Though passenger numbers and luggage volume at Victoria Airport in British Columbia, Canada, are nowhere near the numbers at large international hubs, it was exactly for this reason that the baggage handling system (BHS) posed major challenges to the handling system OEM. This airport did not have a lot of room to accommodate all the usual modules – from check-in through security screening to sorting. The airport company commissioned Glidepath, a manufacturer specializing in baggage conveying, parcel sorting, and freight logistics technology.

(Luggage is screened before it can be admitted onto a plane. Photos courtesy of Nord.

The new handling system has a capacity of 750 pieces of luggage per hour. “The baggage handling system is made up of 85 conveyors with a total length of some 250 m,” says Jason Williams, project engineer at Glidepath. “It comprises two in-line screening CT machines. It has two decision points for sortation, and it has two separate infeed lines. It has four-way sorters, spiral power curves, bag alignment devices, a luffing conveyor, and Glidepath’s proprietary ploughs and power curves.”

All drive tasks are carried out by IE4 AC vector drives from Nord. Each drive unit consists of an IE4 permanent-magnet synchronous motor, a motor-mounted Nordac Flex frequency inverter, and a two-stage gearbox. The hollow shaft gearboxes are secured on the drive axis with a Gripmaxx bushing. This attachment ensures safe, easy-maintenance fitting without keys. The drive systems achieve excellent efficiencies even in the partial load range and at low speeds. They therefore pay for their initial cost within a few years or even only months, and total expenses over the product lifespan are significantly reduced. The frequency inverters are configured exactly to Glidepath’s specifications – with plug-in connectors for power, communications, encoders, and sensors. They feature an internal EtherNet/IP interface and are designed for easy feed-through installation.

(Nord AC vector drives consisting of an energy-efficient geared motor and a distributed frequency inverter power the conveyor modules.

The pluggable drives saved Glidepath a lot of time during installation and commissioning. The coded connectors enable speedy, error-free networking. Williams appreciates the versatile interfaces: “Thanks to the field I/O capability of the Nord drives, we were able to connect the majority of our field devices directly to the frequency inverters.” Featuring Industrial Ethernet communications, the drives enable not only remote monitoring and control of all drive axes, but also seamless monitoring of connected sensors and actuators. For Williams, this was a crucial factor: “The real advantage here is the drives support high-speed Ethernet, which allows for reliable bag tracking on our system.”

The drive systems take on various tasks at the conveyor modules. They move luggage at different speeds from one belt to the next. They ensure accurate height adjustment when conveying diagonally. Glidepath only came to realize the full potential of the integrated positioning function of Nordac Flex inverters once the drives were commissioned. As they gathered parameters for various applications, Nord engineers soon found that the positioning function was the optimal solution for the luggage sorters. “On our four-way sorters, we took advantage of the Nord positioning system. We are very happy with the result.”

For more information:

Nord Drivesystems

Phone: (608) 849-7300


Categories: Editors Choice

About Author

Matthew Jaster

Matthew Jaster, Senior Editor, has a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and has 15+ years of writing and editing experience in automotive, manufacturing, engineering, law and arts and entertainment.

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*