Michiel Heikens and Peter Leene, respectively account manager ground support equipment and senior project buyer for Dutch carrier KLM, explain just why they believe Power Stow’s Rollertrack Conveyor is of such value to the airline’s own handlers
KLM has almost 100 of Power Stow’s Rollertrack Conveyors, which are designed to handle all types of passenger baggage, in service. The Rollertrack Conveyor is an extension to a belt loader that is placed into an aircraft’s hold to facilitate the movement of baggage within the space.
A handler in the hold will place bags on the Conveyor, which moves it onto the belt loader outside the aircraft. The handler at the bottom of the loader then moves the luggage onto a baggage cart.
This saves a lot of manual lifting and movement by handlers in the cargo hold. The Rollertrack Conveyor can handle heavy and odd-shaped bags or cargo and can move loads round 90-degree corners by means of its flexible design and construction.
KLM first acquired Rollertrack Conveyors about a decade ago. All of its units are in use at the carrier’s home hub of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, where KLM undertakes its own handling.
The Conveyors serve KLM’s commuter and narrowbody aircraft, including Air France-KLM’s extensive fleets of A320 Family and B737 aircraft.
The advantages of the system are many but the most important for KLM, confirm Heikens and Leene, are the beneficial health effects enjoyed by the handlers that use it. Because they are required to perform much less manual lifting and in a baggage hold, the carrier’s baggage handlers are now sustaining far fewer injuries to elbows, shoulders and backs.
That makes for happier handlers – as evidenced by feedback received directly from KLM’s handlers who use the Rollertrack – and dramatically fewer sick days recorded.
It also helps KLM to conform with strict Dutch law that makes employers directly responsible for their staff’s health and wellbeing.
Other advantages include the greater speed of aircraft turnaround that the system facilitates, as well as the fact that fewer handlers are needed in an aircraft baggage hold to move luggage in and out of the space quickly, Heikens and Leene note.
KLM must be pleased with the system: it intends to acquire 15 or so more this year.