Baggaging software before hardware: Why a digital BHS will always be more efficient

Until recently, BHS maintenance staff could only react to physical problems in real-time. This meant they were often over-stretched and unable to solve the issue without causing delays.



But increasingly, BHS operators with a good handle of their data are informed of likely system faults and mishaps before they occur.

And not only does data enable them to make informed decisions to improve the system performance, but it yields insights to reduce operational costs and risk whilst increasing system capacity and efficiency.

The use of data enables:

  • Insights to increase BHS capacity and efficiency and reduce risk
  • Improved analytics and other data utilsation efforts
  • Reduced system interference, improved scheduling of staff
  • Optimised throughput
  • Fewer unwanted stops
  • Lower OPEX for the baggage operation

Huge boost for maintenance

Airports with a digitalised and data-driven BHS operation have an operational solution that helps avoid under or overstaffing, so they are saving money on labour resources – crucially at a time when staffing is stretched and lacking know-how (no longer a problem, as data will not leave the workplace, unlike staff turning over).

A digitalised BHS no longer requires staff to be on call within easy range of any potential problem. They are also less likely to carry out un-necessary maintenance – for example, before an inspection.

Airports use data to radically improve the maintenance of their BHS:

  • Planned/scheduled maintenance – data enables airports to perform predictive maintenance instead of in pre-planned cycles
  • Condition-based maintenance: Data informs airports of all necessary actions, including scheduling information
  • Predictive maintenance – patterns in performance inform airports what is likely to happen
  • Prescriptive maintenance – recommended actions to prevent a future problem.

Extended life of parts – data ensure parts are not replaced too early, reducing wastage.

What are the benefits of digitalisation?

Digitalising your BHS could be compared to recruiting a clairvoyant to your team. The intelligent system will detect things humans cannot, placing the BHS operator in command of the system’s destiny.

Furthermore, it will maximise the value of the vast amounts of data passing through the BHS.

Enriched at a data warehouse with the help of the latest cloud technology, the BHS operator can harvest it for innovation and important business decisions.

Data can be sourced in many ways:

  • Existing data – collected and analysed so the system can make informed decisions automatically
  • Intelligent totes (in ICS technology) – accelerometers, tag readers and photocells can detect abnormalities such as misalignments, micro stops and system speed changes
  • Sensors and camera tech – data is collected and forwarded to the Cloud using the BHS supplier’s software infrastructure.
  • Exploration of log files – searching for patterns with the help of machine learning algorithms will improve system’s ability to learn why something failed, or spot something out of the ordinary.

Undoubted impact on performance

The use of BHS data is one of the most promising digitalisation efforts an airport can make.

Airports not fully exploring the possibilities of data are denying themselves countless opportunities: particularly in regard to increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost of their BHS.

The data offers such transparency that the operator can assess how every component is performing. When combined with experience, it can recognise patterns the human eye cannot detect.

Learning algorithms in the system can start to detect and predict what is likely to happen and prescribe what action to take to eliminate future problems.

If the BHS is fully digitalised, the system starts telling the operator the exact action to take and the spare parts needed. Directing the focus of maintenance staff in this way can lead to savings in time and resources.


The technology to digitalise BHS could not have come along at a better time, as it reduces the need for staff at a time when airports are struggling to recruit.  Not only that, but the use of data ensures that demand never exceeds supply:  predictive maintenance takes care of the issue before it becomes a problem. Meanwhile, the data enables airports to make informed decisions to continue innovating whilst reducing costs and risk and increasing capacity and efficiency.

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