Changing airport gangways: igus® e-chains® and smart plastics for the future - igus Blog

Changing airport gangways: igus® e-chains® and smart plastics for the future

Richard Habering | 21. June 2023

Airports rely on gangways to allow passengers to board and disembark conveniently. If the gangways fail, getting into the aircraft is much more difficult. One way to prevent gangway disruptions is to use igus e-chains and i.Sense EC.P condition monitoring. With e-chains, gangways function smoothly, and the need for maintenance is also recognized at an early stage with i.Sense EC.P condition monitoring. igus smart plastics provide a reliable, maintenance-friendly solution for gangways.

Efficient gangways at Cologne Bonn Airport thanks to igus e-chains

Cologne Bonn Airport is one of the busiest in Germany. Coping with increasing passenger traffic requires continuous infrastructure improvement. A decisive factor in this refinement is efficient, reliable passenger handling. This is where igus applies its innovative solutions.

The airport chose energy-saving, easy-to-maintain e-chains from igus. These e-chains not only ensure a secure energy supply, but also allow flexible gangway movement. They also reduce operating costs and enhance gangway availability and safety. The e-chains feature a robust design and resistance to environmental influences. They offer protection against dust, dirt, and moisture, which is particularly important at airports. The e-chains’ energy-saving properties also contribute to sustainable airport operation.

e-chains are replacing festooning systems

Many airports used to use festooning systems for their gangways, but those systems entailed frequent disruptions and high costs. Festooning systems consist of a large number of parts, such as pull ropes, shock cords, bearings, and wheels. These parts must be lubricated frequently. The cables hang freely, so they require a great deal of space. They are also exposed to the elements and therefore highly susceptible to damage. And they are bundled together in a jacket, making maintenance longer and more difficult.

To avoid these problems, many festooning systems are being replaced by energy chains. The e-chains are made of wear-resistant, lubrication-free high-performance plastic with a long service life. And e-chains do not hang freely, but are guided as a chain. The chain links keep the cables from snagging and bending. The e-chain protects the cables from environmental conditions and dirt. Crossbars make servicing cables and chain easy, avoiding long downtimes.

i.Sense EC.P condition monitoring – The smart monitoring solution for gangways

To further improve gangway efficiency and reliability, igus has developed the i.Sense EC.P condition monitoring system. This innovative system allows continuous monitoring of important components in real time to detect failures at an early stage.

The i.Sense EC.P system is based on smart plastic components that are equipped with sensors and collect data on various parameters such as temperature, wear, and vibration. This data is transmitted to a central system, where it is analysed to predict maintenance needs and allow targeted action before there is a failure.

These smart plastics now enable Cologne Bonn Airport to proactively identify potential problems and plan appropriate maintenance measures. Gangway operating time improves, as does passenger safety.

In addition to preventive maintenance, the i.Sense EC.P system allows data-based decision-making and helps airport staff to develop long-term maintenance strategies. Analysing the collected data reveals anomalies at an early stage, so gangway availability can be continuously improved.

Gangways play a crucial role in passenger handling at airports. Maintenance-friendly igus energy chains and the i.Sense EC.P condition monitoring system are smart solutions that greatly improve gangway efficiency, reliability, and safety. Cologne Bonn Airport is a great example of how innovative igus solutions optimise operations and contribute to a pleasant travel experience. With igus on board, the future of gangways is moving in a smart, effective direction.

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