Schiphol tests new technology to lighten physical work in baggage handling hall

Schiphol is working with baggage handling companies to test two new technologies aimed at improving the work of employees in the baggage handling hall. One of the trials is with a robot developed especially for Schiphol that lifts suitcases instead of a baggage worker doing it. A new lifting aid is also being tested that enables suitcases to be pushed onto the baggage belt. 

Work in the baggage handling hall and on the apron is crucial in enabling all travellers to go on their journeys. We want everyone at Schiphol to have a good workplace and and therefore want to use technology to improve working conditions. In the coming period, we will test at least five more lifting aids and several fully automated solutions, some of which are new in aviation.

Sybren Hahn, Director Asset Management at Royal Schiphol Group

Working with robots 

Aviapartner employees are currently working with a robot specially developed for Schiphol. Because the employee works with the robot, the airport expects the robot to be able to lift at least 80% of all baggage without any problems during this trial. The ultimate goal is 90% of all baggage. 

The Danish Cobot Lift robot was originally used in other sectors, such as bakeries. Over the past six months, the robot has been further developed for lifting suitcases and for use at Schiphol. With this first two-week trial, Schiphol and handling companies want to test whether expectations will be met in practice and find out how employees experience this technology and what they need for the follow-up. 

New lifting aid 

In the baggage handling hall, KLM employees are testing a new lifting aid that allows suitcases to be pushed onto the baggage belt. In the near future, employees of the other handlers at Schiphol will also test this lifting aid. This new transfer belt is specifically for unloading transfer passenger baggage, for which no lifting aid is currently available. The equipment is placed between the baggage container and the baggage belt, so employees only need to push the baggage aside. This can reduce the physical strain on staff in the short term. 

Schiphol is testing this solution and will do so with other alternatives in the coming period, so that the most suitable options can be implemented where necessary. Within a year, every work location will have a functioning lifting aid that can be used by all employees.