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Case Studies

Baggage Handling System at VENICE Airport (Italy)


With an overall investment reaching 110 Mio. Euros, the new airport of Venice now boasts the kind of superior efficiency that will make it the unrivalled hub for air travel across North-east Europe.The automated system of the airport accounts for no less than 10 percent of the total investment and is the crown jewel of the whole structure, as it conducts all security monitoring procedures in addition to handling all baggage operations. The system was designed for a throughput capacity of 600 million passengers per year and for a handling capacity of 4,000 pieces of luggage per hour. The system features 62 check-in points, 4 X-rays of 1st and 2nd level and 2 of 3rd level, 23 pushers, 6 bays for handling and reconciling, 7 piers for arrivals, 5 carousels for luggage claims, 550 geared motors and over 3,000 metre-long conveyor belts.

After check-in, luggage is conveyed to the handling system located on the ground floor. Once inside the separate area where access is restricted to personnel only, luggage is submitted to thorough automated and manual security controls. After security clearance, the luggage goes through the automated scanner-read system (ATR) and each piece of luggage is proceeded for its respective destination, that is, to the piers of the respective flight slots. Indeed, in a seamless handling process that takes a fraction of a second, bar code labels on luggage are read, information is transmitted to the control system, connected to the flight, thus feeding back destination to the automated system. Once at the pier, and before loading onto trolleys and then on board the respective aircraft, luggage goes through bar code scanner-reading manually to ensure that each passenger embarked has his respective luggage, an operation known as 'reconciling'.
The system's control and command unit comprises 4 fault-tolerant servers and
16 S7-400H PLCs (high dependability). Two PLCs under Hot-Standby redundancy configuration plugged to fibre optics cables run each zone. Connection to Ethernet control, in addition, is also redundant .
Four redundancy-effective PROFIBUS DP lines run from each couple of PLCs. Two of these are connected to ET200M remote peripheries by way of two PROFIBUS IM interfaces for each node, while the other two lines are used for connection by way of two RS485 repeaters to text-visualising panels present on electric cabinets of the same zone and accessible to baggage handlers only.
Each ET 200M remote periphery runs both digital and serial signals towards evolved peripherals: X -ray baggage control systems and ATR bar code scanners. ET 200M peripheries also run a number of ASI subnetworks for the connection of all sensors and actuators directly connected on board systems (photocells, proximity, buttons, flashlights and light bars, motor starters,…).

High-performance redundancy and extensive application of distributed automation ensure high-dependability and cost-efficient diagnosis capability, in view, notably, of the extreme complexity of the overall system.
The adoption of a solution based on the employ of ground-breaking redundancy PLCs and double bus PROFIBUS DP is a major advance in high-dependability automated processing.

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