Comprehensive solutions from Goldhofer for efficient and sustainable ground handling
Now that Goldhofer’s product portfolio for the airport apron includes a full set of battery-powered versions – the »SHERPA« E cargo tow tractor, the »BISON« E conventional aircraft tow tractor and the »PHOENIX« E towbarless tow tractor – the company has adopted a holistic approach to sustainable ground handling.
Since sustainable ground handling today means more than just banning vehicles with combustion engines from the apron, there is a need – in addition to alternative drive concepts and product support – for comprehensive pre and after-sales consulting services with a focus on airport infrastructure and equipment, and fleet optimization. “Sustainability derives in no small part from improved economics. So the goal must be to have all operations handled just as well or even better but with significantly less outlay than before,” says Rüdiger Dube, Head of Strategic Product Management Airport Technology at Goldhofer. “It is crucial to have an all-round view of all aspects and issues in day-to-day apron operations. An isolated focus on individual processes is not helpful in this context.”. Goldhofer’s experts are accordingly studying and developing practicable and cost-effective solutions for ground handling in a 360-degree perspective.
For this purpose, cooperation agreements have been concluded with various partners who also have a focus on the airport apron. They include the following:
ABB E-mobility The company offers a full, intelligent charging infrastructure for optimum supply of the e-vehicle fleet.
ATCSim the UFA subsidiary configures customized hardware and software for simulations of GSE applications. This makes it possible to provide ground handling personnel with full training, in complete safety and with zero risk of damage, so that they can quickly find their feet in real-life towing operations.
EFM the Munich-based specialist for aircraft towing and de-icing has a training center which, among other things, offers pushback and towing training units designed to get employees operational as quickly as possible.
Guinault the company’s portfolio includes full electric ground power units.
Rheinmetall their unique eMSU is a zero-emission air start unit.
“We have a focus on offering customers a complete package, because ultimately everything is interconnected in delivering sustainable ground handling,” says Lothar Holder, CEO at Goldhofer AG and Head of Airport Technology.
For Goldhofer, it is important to keep the entire operating environment and infrastructure in mind when it comes to zero-emission ground handling. It is not enough to rely on e-mobility alone. “We are committed to offering our customers a comprehensive partnership to present the opportunities and benefits of efficient and sustainable ground handling,” says Lothar Holder.
As the key to planning security, follow-up aspects of the purchase must also be considered in any assessment of overall efficiency. This also includes training and other services. Goldhofer, for example, offers standardized or individual online training packages in addition to the customizable training programs available at headquarters or on the customer’s own premises. This not only saves time and money but also ensures the availability of the training courses when travel restrictions apply.
The development and application of telemetry solutions for remote monitoring is another key to enhanced efficiency. Here, too, Goldhofer is setting new standards with its »LINK« telemetry system. The technology enables any faults that might occur to be read out online via remote access in order to provide a rapid response for the on-site technicians. This greatly speeds up the diagnostic process so that maintenance tasks can be performed significantly faster and more efficiently. “Our vision for the future is to understand customers' requirements better than the customers themselves,” says Andreas Fiderer, Head of IT and Digitalization at Goldhofer. Today, vehicles can already be continuously monitored for anomalies so that needs-based maintenance can be planned: a system that recommends perfectly coordinated maintenance using meters, sensors and analyzed data so that anomalies can be detected in advance, and faults and downtime avoided. Condition-based maintenance provides optimum efficiency and significantly extends the service life of the vehicles. In addition, live tracking on a remote dashboard delivers a wide variety of useful data from all the vehicles in the »LINK« system: What’s the charging status? What routes and distances has the vehicle covered? How many pushbacks have been performed over what period of time and with which types of aircraft? With such information, operators are in a position to optimize fleet management – for example, through improved route planning or driver training for the best possible results with ground handling vehicles.