Secure cargo transfer aids airport operators

Three German organisations have jointly developed a system that streamlines the security procedures airports have to use when transferring cargo between landside and airside.

Siemens Mobility will now begin worldwide marketing of the SAATS (Secure Advanced Air Cargo Transfer System), after signing a license agreement with Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML).

The patented checking system enables the speedy and secure transfer of ULDs (Unit Load Devices) into the sensitive apron area of an airport.

It is standard practice at airports to use so-called dolly trains to move cargo containers and pallets from the landside area to the critical parts. First, the incoming trucks are unloaded on the landside and the cargo is placed in a temporary storage location. Then, the dolly train driver and the cargo have to pass through a security lock on each trip to the aircraft, undergoing a security check each time. The procedure is not uniform at all airports but is handled in a many different ways.

The new SAATS system disconnects landside traffic from airside movements. Flight-ready ULDs delivered by truck from the landside are checked immediately and are then either stored temporarily or taken directly to the aircraft by dolly train as above.

The user benefits from an improved cargo transfer process and a high security standard. Moreover, the number of staff is reduced and the previous recurring and cost-intensive personnel and vehicle checks are no longer necessary. As a result, the hourly cargo throughput between critical and non-critical parts is increased.

This process involving a clearly defined transfer interface has been patented as a procedure.

Security features such as particle scanning, thermophotography or measuring and weighing functions can also be integrated into the system.

“SAATS makes it possible to combine the stringent security checks of the worldwide cargo hubs with an efficient process for secure and low-cost container transfer,” said Bernd Ruppert, head of cargo and parcel business at Siemens Mobility.

SAATS can be designed as a central facility in the airport or for separate use by individual cargo handlers.

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