Orchestrating an innovation ecosystem for the Royal Schiphol Group 

Royal Schiphol Group’s (RSG) ambition to become the world’s most sustainable and high-end airport group will push the global aviation sector closer to its goal to become net zero in 2050. It’s a truly inspiring goal of this leading aviation company. Therefore we are very proud to be chosen together with TheNextWeb (TNW) by the RSG as long-term partners. nlmtd will support the Royal Schiphol Group as an innovation and sustainability advisor and TNW will be their innovation scouting partner. In the next 4 to 8 years we will be actively working together to achieve the goal to make the RSG the most sustainable and high-end airport group in the world.

Intensify innovation

Where many companies reduce their innovation efforts when times get tough, RSG sees innovation as a solution. From autonomous transportation of passengers and baggage to electric aircraft towing to filtering airside ultrafine particles.

Our cooperation with the Royal Schiphol Group is on three levels:

1. Innovation hub 

Together with the RSG Innovation Hub, we explore innovations for the airports. From industrial robots to autonomous vehicles, from reducing ultrafine particles to achieving 100% renewable energy.

2. Aviation-solutions

In cooperation with RSG’s Aviation Solutions department, we commercialize innovations that have been tried and battle-tested in the Schiphol Group. This way we can increase our impact and generate new revenue streams for the group.

3. Business units 

Other business units working on innovation within the Schiphol Group are also using nlmtd for their challenges. Several of the baggage teams are working with nlmtd to set up a long-term baggage innovation and improvement program to find solutions for capacity constraints, continuity of assets, and working conditions.

Other topics that we are working on with Schiphol: 

  • Transformation to 100% renewable energy
  • Sustainable aviation
  • Improving working conditions
  • Create a healthier environment  
  • Reducing noise pollution

Improving working conditions

One of the highest priorities at Schiphol Airport is to improve the working conditions of staff working in the baggage handling areas. The way to achieve this is to reduce the amount of lifting done by baggage staff. At the moment we are investing in innovations such as lifting aids and collaborative lifting robots.

Scouting of Cobot

To help accelerate the baggage innovation program our partner TNW launched a scouting assignment to find the best baggage solutions. In 2 weeks, a thorough study was conducted to find solutions for lifting heavy items and Robotics. The firm Cobot from Denmark specializes in collaborative robots and was chosen from a long list of potential solutions and a 6-week pilot with them was done.

Implementing 19 collaborative robots

After the successful pilot, a plan was made with the board of directors of Schiphol: finetune the solution and scale. The goal is to have 19 collaborative robots running by the end of 2023. If this is successful, Schiphol Aviation Solutions will investigate a commercial partnership and joint market entry with Cobot.

Can-do mentality

We went from idea to selection, pilot, and implementation in a very short period. With a joint can-do mentality! At this time we are also exploring extensions of the Cobot solution such as autonomous driving and lifting Cobots.

Nlmtd has also collaborated on several other innovations: 

  • Removing ultrafine particles from the air on the platform. One of the technologies that is being tested is to create a certain mist that will attach to the ultrafine particles and will filter the air. This creates a much more healthy environment for platform workers.
  • Development of sensors that can identify the location and concentration of ultrafine particles. This will help in the effectiveness of filtering solutions. 
  • Transforming the traditional energy grid to a 100% renewable energy network. Nlmtd is developing an innovation plan that incorporates local energy generation, usage, and storage. Smart and local energy solutions will support a much more energy-efficient energy grid. 

Power to the innovation teams

For the past 6 months, we have been involved in over 20 innovation projects. What excites us the most, is the strong vision of the Schiphol Group to become the most sustainable Airport Group in the world. A lot of the power is coming from the various innovation teams who are driving and leading this vision. We are very happy to be part of this journey and make Schiphol the most sustainable and innovative airport group!

Want to learn more?

Pieter Paul van Oerle

Pieter Paul van Oerle

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