Taking flight into the future
A GEC Alsthom case study

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Page 4: Project management

It was recognised at the outset that the two companies, GEC ALSTHOM and Lödige, would need to form a task force to plan and implement the project. In order to carry out the work successfully, it was vital to have a fully integrated project team which would appear ‘seamless’ not only to the client, but also to those employed in the teams.

Handling process

Gec Alsthom 3 Diagram 1The British Airways World Cargocentre is a purpose-designed, multi-level structure, housing an automated cargo handling system. Each floor of the Cargocentre has a specific function.

The ground floor level provides the customer interface facilities of lorry docks for delivery and collection of cargo through a number of points. The handling of Unit Load Devices is also at ground level. There are special storage areas here, as well as facilities for loading and unloading Unit Load Devices and facilities for loading and unloading cargo into the consignment cages.

The first floor provides the location for the general Unit Load Device load and unload stations where cargo from the consignment cages is handled by power manipulators or manually to and from the Unit Load Devices. Cages and Unit Load Devices are transported to this area by hoists from the storage areas and from the ground floor.

The second floor houses the cargo sorting equipment - an automatic sorting machine together with transport and storage conveyors to achieve a highly automated sorting system. The sorted packages are routed to consignment cages or to delivery conveyors to customers collecting their packages.

The levels above the second floor are the entirely automated consignment store with lifts for moving goods to and from each level below and transfer vehicles for moving between different parts of the building. The consignment store is located towards the landside of the building and the Unit Load Devices store is towards the airside.

Key features of the operation are:

  • total flexibility to intermix imports and exports
  • the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) as part of the coordination between flight patterns and lorry/freight forwarder pick up times
  • prescheduled work to minimise storage time
  • the bar-coding of packages with an interface into British Airways’ inventory management system
  • automated storage
  • S-2000 sorting system which has a capacity of more than 4500 units per hour
  • special cargo handling facilities for hazardous materials.

The materials handling system ties in with all movements to suit air cargo flights and outside traffic patterns. A document handling system is routed around the building to provide a rapid means of sending cargo documents to delivery and collection areas.

GEC Alsthom | Taking flight into the future