Taking flight into the future
A GEC Alsthom case study

Page 5: Innovation

Gec Alsthom 3 Image 4The key to the success of the New World Cargocentre is total flexibility and this has been achieved by a system design that can handle imports and exports as and when required, subject to the requirements of Customs & Excise regulations. This enables the whole system to swing naturally from one activity to another.

Another major innovation is the cargo handling Manipulator, designed and developed by Lödige to act as the ‘mechanical hands’ in the load and unload operation. This is where the cargo is transferred from Unit Load Devices to consignment cages and vice versa. Replacing existing fork lift trucks, these ceiling suspended lifting and carrying devices have the ability to rotate 360° on the spot and move in any direction whilst being extremely responsive to operator control. With the capacity to lift 1000kg with its fully extended arms each manipulator has the sensitivity to pick up a tray of full coffee cups without spilling a drop.

Design process

Gec Alsthom 3 Image 6The design of such a large and complex scheme entailed the co-ordination of a large number of people from many disciplines. Experts from mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering, safety, quality, risk management and ergonomics all made important contributions to key elements. Computer aided design (CAD) and simulation was used throughout the design process to show how the performance requirements could be met.

The safety of personnel in construction, operation and maintenance was of paramount importance and was, therefore, taken into account in the design process. The safety and security of cargo was also a critical factor. As this is such a complex undertaking, the supplier cannot work in isolation. There were many meetings with the client and other interested parties to ensure that the development was fully integrated.

The SARM assessment method is concerned with the Safety, Availability, Reliability and Maintainability of the plant and equipment. It aims to improve plant performance in each of these aspects throughout its lifetime. Purchasing at lowest cost does not necessarily deliver the best value for money. The SARM policy focuses the supplier on the through life cost of a project. It is the through life cost which is important for the user and this does not necessarily result from the lowest initial capital costs.

The best investment payback is the optimum balance between capital costs and running costs at the desired level of performance of equipment. In order to make decisions regarding the balance of capital and running costs, a number of performance factors are taken into consideration. For example, as well as the engineering performance, parameters of Rate and Quality or Value, measures of Reliability, Maintainability and Risk need to be established.

The SARM assessment methodology is aimed at the prediction of the functional life time cost and risk parameters of Safety, Reliability, Availability and Maintainability, to optimise the design and minimise the cost of ownership. This concept is applied not only during the design phase of the project but also when the plant comes into operation.

GEC Alsthom | Taking flight into the future

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