Ground handling goes electric and digital The Goldhofer booth: where the action isNovember 2019

Visitors show keen interest in forward-looking e-mobility and digitization solutions

For Goldhofer Airport Technology, this year’s Inter Airport Europe was a highly satisfactory event: more visitors to the booth, more talks with users and a significant increase in specific enquiries. The main factor in this positive development was the focus adopted for Munich by the full-range supplier on future-oriented ground handling systems. The presentation of the first towbarless electric tow tractor by the name of »PHOENIX« AST-2 E, for example, and also the scenarios presented in the Future Zone attracted significantly more international visitors than in previous years. “The surge in interest in our e-mobility solutions took us slightly by surprise. Instead of taking a break after the trade show, the motto now is: ‘Time to roll our sleeves up!’,” says Christof Peer, Goldhofer’s Sales Director Airport Technology.

At this year’s Inter Airport Europe the Goldhofer booth was a veritable hive of activity: Visitors crowded around the Goldhofer trade show building to see the tow tractors on display, and the meeting rooms and Future Zone were equally busy. In addition to the premiere of the »BISON« D 1500 conventional tractor, which is capable of towing aircrafts in the A380 class, the prototype of the »PHOENIX« AST-2E with »IonMaster« technology, which was also introduced at the show for the first time, was met with keen interest too. With the addition of this workhorse, which also operates on lithium-ion batteries, the technology pioneer from Memmingen and Ostfildern now boasts a full range of emission-free tow tractors. The »BISON« E 620 conventional tow tractor and the »SHERPA« E cargo and baggage tow tractor also drew crowds and test drives were available in the Drive Zone to give visitors a first-hand experience of their impressive agility and maneuverability.

Another busy area was the Future Zone, with its focus on change to progressive ground handling systems and efficient vehicle operations. On the basis of individual customer requirements (aircraft types/weights, towing distances, gradients, tractor power/range, etc.), visitors were able to evaluate the efficiency of Goldhofer’s electric tow tractors and, with the help of an efficiency calculator, determine such items as the total operating costs of the »SHERPA« E models compared to diesel-powered vehicles. Many were surprised to see how quickly a customized »SHERPA« with electric drive pays off compared with other types of drive. The future zone also showcased Monitoring Dashboards and Predictive Maintenance solutions which Goldhofer is exploring in the near future. They provided visitors with real-time information on operating data such as motor status, charge level, speed, etc., of the »SHERPA« E being driven a few meters away in the Drive Zone and of a »PHOENIX« towbarless tractor plus upcoming maintenance and servicing requirements. The latter is currently in use in day-to-day operations at Munich Airport.

In view of the increasing number of emission-free airports worldwide and the growing need for stable charging infrastructures and intelligent connectivity, Goldhofer Airport Technology has positioned itself as a complete provider of e-mobility and digitization solutions. “We see the highly positive response from our customers and prospects at Inter Airport Europe as confirmation of the wisdom of the path we have taken. For a future-oriented approach to ground handling, it is not enough to simply invest in electric vehicles. A combination of innovative apron vehicles and intelligent airport design is essential to ensure both sustainable and economical operation,” says Lothar Holder, CEO at Goldhofer AG and Head of Airport Technology.

Goldhofer’s »SHERPA« E pulls the crowds at Inter Airport 2017October 2017

There was an unusually big turnout at the stand run by Goldhofer’s new Airport Technology Division at this year’s Inter Airport, which was held on October 10–13 in Munich. One of the main attractions was the premiere of »SHERPA«, Goldhofer’s first baggage and cargo tow tractor, which was on show at the stand and also starred on the test grounds created specially for that purpose.

That gave visitors an opportunity to see for themselves what the »SHERPA« has to offer in terms of reliable performance. They were suitably impressed above all by the »SHERPA’s« outstanding maneuverability, comfortable suspension and dual-circuit brake system for maximum safety.

Especially keen interest was shown in Goldhofer’s first electric tow tractor, the »SHERPA« E, which employs heat pump technology to regulate temperature of the battery and cabin and allows global and energy-efficient application in all temperature conditions. The maintenance-free 400 V lithium battery ensures extremely short charging times and offers up to 33 percent longer run times than lead-acid batteries – optimum preconditions for use in multiple-shift operations.

Another highlight of the Goldhofer stand was the latest version of the Schopf F396 aircraft tow tractor with the new Tier 4f engine. The most powerful tow tractor available from the Goldhofer Group, the F396 boasts a towing capacity of up to 170 tons, which means it can handle the Airbus A380. With its new engine design, it offers an exciting level of performance on the aprons of airports worldwide with a minimum environmental footprint.

Another reason why the Goldhofer team was kept so busy throughout the four days of the event is to be seen in the »PHOENIX« universal towbarless aircraft tow tractor with its brand-new start-stop system. The »PHOENIX« is a real allrounder capable of handling 80 percent of all aircraft in service worldwide. With the start-stop technology, the extremely robust tow tractor with the tried and tested hydrostatically powered steering drive axle now uses even less fuel than ever before. The system automatically switches off the engine when the tractor is stationary and the brakes are applied. The result is significantly longer operating cycles and battery life, less wear and fewer repairs.

The Goldhofer stand also featured a presentation of the global Goldhofer Customer Service. This unique service offering ensures that Goldhofer customers receive full support for their vehicles throughout their service life.

For Lothar Holder, Member of the Board in the Goldhofer Group with responsibility for Airport Technology, this year’s Inter Airport was an extremely satisfactory event: “We are thrilled by the highly positive response to our vehicles as reflected in the large number of orders placed. I should like to congratulate all the members of the Goldhofer/Schopf team, who found time for so many intensive discussions with customers in spite of the size of the crowds. We are delighted to have been able to welcome so many interested parties to our stand at Inter Airport.”