Home Bots & Business Schiphol Airport Integrates Robotics into Baggage Handling Operations

Schiphol Airport Integrates Robotics into Baggage Handling Operations

by Marco van der Hoeven

In the baggage hall at Schiphol, Aviapartner employees have started using the first of the airport’s new baggage robots. The robot is taking over the heavy physical work – the lifting of suitcases – from the baggage handling staff. Schiphol purchased 19 robots after positive reactions from employees during a trial earlier this year. In addition, the airport has acquired a 10% stake in Cobot Lift, the company that makes the robots, in order to ensure a swift roll out and scaling up at Schiphol.  

The baggage robots were specially and speedily developed for Schiphol in the past six months. Because the employee and the robot work together, the airport expects the robot to be able to lift at least 80% to 90% of all baggage items without problems when used on a large scale. An initial trial was carried out this summer, after which the airport decided to fast-track the purchase of the robots

Next robots

The number of robots is being increased step by step, with the next 5 robots set to be installed at the airport next month. Schiphol and the handling companies are thus taking the necessary steps to reduce the physical workload of baggage employees, as required by the Labour Inspectorate.  

CEO Ruud Sondag previously said: ‘People must come first again at Schiphol, which is why it’s important we improve the working conditions of baggage employees. These robots do that. They are the best available worldwide and the tests we did proved that they really lighten the workload of colleagues in the baggage halls. […] The use of the robot is part of our work to have lifting aids at every workplace by April 2024.’ 

Erik de Goeij, Managing Director of Aviapartner Netherlands, is proud of the project which is part of several planned improvements. ‘The Aviapartner employees that will be working directly with the robot have already been trained and other employees will be doing the training too in the coming period. The deployment of the first COBOT is an important step in the transition from physical baggage handling to managing and operating a robot. We’ve recently gained a lot of experience by using the COBOT for the handling of real flights. With this knowledge and the adjustments we’ve made, we have taken significant steps towards lightening the employees’ workload and the automation of baggage handling. Given the positive response from our employees, we look forward to the continued rollout of COBOT with great confidence.’ 

Stake in Cobot Lift 

In order to ensure a swift roll out and further scaling up of the baggage robots at the airport, Schiphol has acquired a 10% stake in the Danish Cobot Lift. Schiphol and Cobot Lift are working together to further develop this robot. Schiphol will assume a board position in Cobot Lift. In the coming months, we will be actively working on a number of new experiments in the domain of baggage handling. The collaboration fits into a broader program in which Schiphol works intensively with handlers, airlines, scientists and technology partners to improve working conditions for employees. 

Ruud Sondag says: ‘Together with Cobot Lift, we can make a swift impact for employees. We are looking forward to our future collaboration and hope to further increase the number of robots.’  

CEO Henrik Elm Gullov of Cobot Lift adds: “We are extremely satisfied and proud about taking our innovation partnership with Schiphol Group to the next level and welcoming Schiphol on board as shareholder. We share the common objective of wanting to significantly improve work conditions. This ownership share will allow us to intensify both our efforts to roll out our solutions in Schiphol and at the same time develop the solutions required to be able to help at all work positions where baggage is handled in airports today.” 


Misschien vind je deze berichten ook interessant