Sustainability, digitization and automation represent the three key concepts on which air transport is leveraging to improve the performance offered in terms of safety and efficiency.
According to data collected last year by the Air Transport IT Insights report, compiled by SITA at the conclusion of a survey of more than 180 airports and airlines in 45 countries, compared to 2021, about 80 percent of them have planned a significant increase in resources to be allocated in the future to the technology and automation sector.
The challenge is to ensure the business continuity of complex infrastructure on a daily basis, identifying the most appropriate solutions to achieve this. An example of this is the provision of innovative control rooms capable of managing a large and ever-increasing number of facilities in order to guarantee travelers moving within individual Terminals greater speed, convenience of use and reduction of architectural limitations, especially at peak times.
Automate's contribution in this area is the technical know-how made available by the company resources together with the use of Wonderware software, an effective combination for achieving important goals. In fact, airports can initiate a significant innovation process by progressively accommodating all the handling facilities that passengers enjoy from the moment they enter the facility though all the steps to get into each individual aircraft. Furthermore, proceeding through in-depth analyses of the different needs and resources available facilitates the development of solutions to make the service provided intuitive and freely usable by each individual operator, without the need to have lengthy staff training phases.
However, it is important to note that the qualitative performance of the software implies the presence of specific features, such as:
- Scalability and ease of integration of new systems
- High Availability and Fault Tolerance is Fault Tolerance
- Ease of control of a large number of installations
- Integration of video streams from each plant's cameras
- Visualization of alarm history
- Calculation of performance indices for business intelligence
- Remote access through PCs, tablets and smartphones
All features are relevant to define a system that must be modern, intuitive and with an attractive design. This allows the operator to reach any details while remaining on the same platform, thus without the need to load additional external tools. User Experience proposta.
In this solution all data are structured in a hierarchical manner. To this end, the starting point arranged by Automate Srl is a 3D model of the entire airport environment, from which it is possible to navigate by interacting with the interface components through Terminals, Embarkations and Piers, until having access to each individual plant in detail and, consequently, to all services information: alarms, operational status, performance indexes, video stream visualization, commands for remote restart and alarm bar specific to the plant currently being viewed.
In order to never lose sight of the overall status of the entire system, we also proposes a dual-monitor infrastructure whose second screen is exclusively dedicated to the display of all currently active alarms, in addition to re-presenting within the SCADA the exact airport structure and the progress of navigation according to a precise order from general to particular:
- Area (Departures, Arrivals, Piers)
- Plant Detail
- Area (Departures, Arrivals, Piers)
However, the real innovation proposed is the division of the macro areas and the display of synoptics related to Terminals, Arrivals, Departures and Piers organized in two main sections:
- However, the real innovation proposed is the division of the macro areas and the display of synoptics related to Terminals, Arrivals, Departures and Piers organized in two main sections:
- Side panel summarizing the status of each plant: an overview of all the information related to status and alarms, video streams with the possibility to perform the remote restart procedure in case the alarm has returned, drastically reducing the intervention time and thus ensuring an always better service.
In summary, this allows the operator to keep an eye on the overall status of the system, considering that the presence of a precise and explanatory color pattern makes it easy to guess whether a particular escalator is in operation, damaged, or whether alarms that have returned independently have occurred previously.
Throughout the whole process, the most ambitious aspect to be evaluated is undoubtedly the integration of the visualization of the cameras controlling the facilities into the monitoring system, achieved by embedding them into the client interface in a way that ensures smooth navigation and moderate impact of the application on the hardware resources of the visualization client. To achieve this, custom plugins were developed so that video streams could be accessed directly through specific security platforms entrusted to airports, such as Genetech's Security Center.
By paying special attention to system development, it is also possible to:
- Simplify the visualization of the alarm history in order to be able to verify in the event of an alert what dynamic it was caused by.
- Insert a rich dashboard dedicated to KPIs, so as to provide the user with precise evidence of the progress of each plant.
- Take advantage of mobile access for the operator, who can access SCADA functionality quickly and easily directly from their laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Particolarmente sfidante risulta, inoltre, la fase di messa in servizio della nuova architettura lì dove gli scali sono operativi H24. Qui l’esperienza maturata dai tecnici Automate nel settore ha permesso di procedere a partire dall’individuazione di una fascia oraria notturna, in cui in genere la mobilità all’interno degli aeroporti risulta essere minima, proseguendo con una pianificazione precisa, realistica e puntale dei singoli impianti da integrare e testare ogni notte, in modo da rendere possibile un go live progressivo della nuova control room minimizzando l’impatto nei confronti del passeggero che si trova a muoversi all’interno dei vari terminal.
In conclusion, thanks to the power and scalability of the identified supervision system, standardization of objects and graphical language, it is now possible to:
- supervise at field and business level all the carpets and escalators currently present, , significantly reducing downtime with the ultimate goal of ensuring operational continuity of service and, more generally, an increasingly efficient and innovative service;
- easily integrate new facilities such as stairs and carpets;
- expand the type of electromechanical facilities to be monitored such as piers, elevators, and freight elevators.