In the second part of our Innovation in GSE section of this issue, we look at the innovative X-WAY MOVER, which is able to execute a number of tasks supporting the movement of cargo to and from aircraft; indeed it is for the entire ULD handling process, say HUBTEX and DIMOS, which together developed the latest generation X-WAY MOVER. Michael Röbig, marketing director of HUBTEX Maschinenbau GmbH and Pascal Schütz, responsible for sales and development at DIMOS Maschinenbau GmbH DIMOS, put us in the picture…
Can you tell us a little bit about the history of HUBTEX and DIMOS, and about the X-WAY MOVER?
Michael Röbig: HUBTEX and our partner DIMOS are system suppliers in the air cargo sector. Together, we develop sustainable vehicles and logistics solutions to optimise handling processes. HUBTEX is the leading international manufacturer of custom-made industrial trucks, side loaders and special equipment for the transport of long, heavy and bulky goods.
The company was founded in 1981 and develops as well as manufactures vehicles that maintain an efficient flow of materials and goods in the tightest of spaces from our headquarters in Fulda. Our side loaders and industrial trucks are marketed through a global network of over 60 sales and service partners.
Pascal Schütz: The X-Way Mover has been used at airports around the world since the mid-2000s and has now been significantly improved. This further development is thanks to a collaboration agreed between HUBTEX and DIMOS in 2017
Back in 2004, DIMOS designed a combined handling vehicle for the air cargo sector, which has now been enhanced and optimised with additional functions. The X-Way Mover takes over the entire ULD handling process from landside to airside. The latest generation of the vehicle operates with low emissions and is extremely flexible thanks to the all-in-one approach.
Was the X-WAY MOVER specifically designed for the air freight business, for moving ULDs to/from aircraft and within warehouses?
Michael Röbig: The X-WAY MOVER can act as a seamless extension to any kind of terminal or can be used in facilities with varied operating tasks – even in 24/7 operation. The vehicle is perfect for loading or unloading trucks as well as dollies, and can therefore replace truck docks and cargo transporters.
It can also be used as an elevating transfer vehicle (ETV) for loading and unloading air cargo across as many as three levels and as a transfer vehicle for stationary freight facilities. As well as being applicable for indoor use – thanks to soft elastic tyres – it can also be used outdoors. Its hybrid drive is able to switch between diesel and electric power.
Do you offer various models of the X-Way Mover for carrying different weights, and perhaps different sorts of cargo?
Pascal Schütz: That is correct. The latest generation of the product range includes the X-Way Mover 140 and the smaller X-Way Mover 70. The X-Way Mover 140 has a maximum load capacity of 14,000kg [14 tonnes] and is specially designed to handle 20-ft ULD containers.
The vehicle is 7.625m in length, 4.76m in width and 3.282m in height, with a platform width of 2.5m. The transfer height of the platform can be adjusted to between 200mm and 7.2m by means of a new mast system.
The smaller X-Way Mover 70 has a maximum load capacity of 6,800kg [6.8 tonnes]. Since this vehicle specialises in the handling of 10-ft ULD containers, the outer dimensions of 4.563 x 4.6 x 3.282m are significantly reduced compared to the 140 model. The platform width remains 2.5m.
The X-Way Mover can handle up to 40 ULDs per hour.
What sets the vehicle apart from other cargo loaders, would you say?
Michael Röbig: HUBTEX and DIMOS produce the only vehicle in the world that combines all the functions required for handling and transporting ULDs. The X-Way Mover speeds up the handling of goods such as life-saving medicines or perishable goods, such as food or flowers/plants, which are usually stored in ULD containers, because the transport vehicle single-handedly takes on the tasks of the truck dock, transfer vehicle, ETV, pallet mover and dolly dock.
This combined approach results in less downtime or no downtime at all during transport. The X-Way Mover pushes back the system boundaries and is capable of tackling the entire ULD handling process from landside to airside.
To sum it up: Everything is easier with the X-Way Mover because this vehicle combines multiple functions and is therefore able to take over the entire handling process at the terminal. Handling equipment such as slave pallet movers, truck docks, stackers, dolly docks or transfer vehicles are therefore superfluous and can be replaced by a single vehicle.
A very significant aspect is that thanks to the use of the X-Way Mover, the costs for service and maintenance decrease drastically, since there is only one main contact person providing all services and functions. In consequence, running costs decrease while at the same time availability and productivity increase.
Have you sold many units of the X-WAY MOVER into the air cargo market?
Pascal Schütz: As of today, we count 20 to 25 delivered units per year. Markets in Europe, the Middle East as well as Japan and China have been particularly interested in our innovative solutions for ULD handling. The X-Way Mover, which was developed in accordance with IATA [International Air Transport Association] standards, already boasts four of the five largest air cargo companies in the world among its customers. They have implemented two or more X-Way Movers in their process.
Next to the big players there are also many small companies that have shown their interest in the X-Way Mover, mainly because of the flexibility that it offers during peak times and its low costs for maintenance.
What else do your companies offer to complement the value of the X-Way Mover?
Pascal Schütz: It is important to add that both HUBTEX and DIMOS provide a wide range of products that are specifically constructed to meet the individual demands of our customer in the field of ULD handling.
Since both companies act as system suppliers, our work does not start and finish with simply providing the product. We begin by creating the whole process with our customers and by consulting them in regards to establishing a flexible procedure. We know how important it is for customers to react to peak times and reduce the need for additional manpower to a minimum.
As a result, our work starts very early: first, the process and the tonnage to be transported need to be defined. Afterwards we support our customers with the choice of a suitable vehicle set-up and not only accompany our customers during the implementation but also act as a permanent consultant and partner.