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Nord drives picked for airport baggage handling system

A baggage handling system OEM has chosen Nord Drivesystems’ IE4 AC vector drives for a new system installed at a Canadian airport.

Glidepath carried out the work at Victoria Airport in British Columbia, Canada, installing a new handling system with a capacity of 750 pieces of luggage per hour.

“The baggage handling system is made up of 85 conveyors with a total length of some 250 m,” says Jason Williams, project engineer at Glidepath.

“It comprises two in-line screening CT machines, two decision points for sortation, and two separate infeed lines. It has four-way sorters, spiral power curves, bag alignment devices, a luffing conveyor, and Glidepath’s proprietary ploughs and power curves.”

All drive tasks are carried out by IE4 AC vector drives from Nord Drivesystems. Each drive unit consists of an IE4 permanent-magnet synchronous motor, a motor-mounted Nordac Flex frequency inverter, and a two-stage gearbox.

The hollow shaft gearboxes are secured on the drive axis with a Gripmaxx bushing. This attachment ensures safe, easy-maintenance fitting without keys, says the company.

The drive systems achieve excellent efficiencies even in the partial load range and at low speeds. They therefore pay for their initial cost within a few years or even only months, claims the company.

The frequency inverters were configured exactly to Glidepath’s specifications – with plug-in connectors for power, communications, encoders, and sensors. They feature an internal EtherNet/IP interface and are designed for easy feed-through installation.

The pluggable drives saved Glidepath a lot of time during installation and commissioning. The coded connectors enable speedy, error-free networking.

“Thanks to the field I/O capability of the Nord drives, we were able to connect the majority of our field devices directly to the frequency inverters,” says Jason Williams.

Featuring Industrial Ethernet communications, the drives enable not only remote monitoring and control of all drive axes, but also seamless monitoring of connected sensors and actuators.

For Jason Williams, this was a crucial factor: “The real advantage here is, the drives support high-speed Ethernet, which allows for reliable bag tracking on our system.”

A Nord specialist provided significant support to Glidepath through efficient standardization.

“On this project, we have just five different gear ratios for a job that has 90-odd motors in total and three different motor sizes”, Williams says. “That is a huge advantage. As a consequence, we need only one spare drive per gear type and engine size.”