Loaders: Next-level machinery

Demand for electric-powered loaders continues apace.

The value of the GSE market is expected to grow exponentially, reaching $5.9 billion by 2028, with the market heavily controlled by cargo handling, according to Vantage Market Research.

It anticipates that cargo handling is set to generate more than 30% revenue during this project period.

The Vantage Market report highlighted the market will also be driven by manufacturers shifting their focus to adopting greener GSE, with North America dominating the electric landscape. This is due to investments in brownfield airport projects to upgrade infrastructure. Many countries in North America already have zero-emission policies, which are incentivising manufacturers to create greener GSE.

German-based manufacturer Trepel recognizes both these trends. “We have ambitious growth targets which includes increasing our facilities and personnel to meet these needs,” said Daniel Davis, Sales Manager, Trepel.

In 2023, Trepel is planning to increase their electric product range, and to continue updating and enhancing their technology. Their best-selling loader model is the Champ 70W loader, which is available in electric. The Champ 70 Neo (electric) has on-board charging, a 1175 Ah battery, which has three motors operating different parts of the system. “This means we make better use of the available battery power compared to our competitors,” said Davis.

Another popular loader is the Champ 140, which has been around since the 1990s but has constantly evolved into the latest version today, (see more from a ramp agent’s perspective on pages 40 and 41) which is now available in electric.

Hybrid solution
Vincent Deschaseaux, COO of TLD’s loader factory in Sherbrooke, Quebec, believes the shift toward eGSE or innovative clean solutions is the driver today rather a dominant player or activity controlling the market. “And obviously we are pursuing our ‘Leaner and Greener’ strategy towards cleaner, better and safer operations for our customers,” he said.

In preparation for when charging infrastructure will be available at airports, TLD has developed a hybrid solution (called ipHS) with an outstanding feature allowing to offer a hybrid unit that is ready for full-electric mode. The ipHS smart and innovative concept is really simple and transparent: TLD 929-reGen and TXL-838-reGen family loaders are already equipped with iBS packs that are modular and provide a power source to the unit.

Selecting the ipHS option, one block of the iBS pack is replaced by a small gen-set, which can provide electricity and power to the unit. Power source management is fully automatic and transparent for the operators and autonomy/duty cycle is the same as for full electric units.

In addition, TLD is committed to stop producing ICE units by 2024 and continuing their Alternative Power Source strategy.
Deschaseaux explained: “With this strategy we developed the leasing of the iBS batteries, which will help lower the cost of acquisition and generate many more savings, not forgetting lower total cost of ownership, easier maintenance, fuel savings, future-ready GSE: automation and native eGSE design with electric driveline for all TLD GSE.”

Reopening of China
Previous supply chain issues seem to be resolving themselves but pressure points remain for many manufacturers.
“Supply chains do continue to challenge us, as do constraints in the labour market. So in reality both of these affect us, along with increases in energy costs due to what’s going on in Eastern Europe,” said Davis.

“During the past three years all players in the market have reorganised their supply chain and managed to diversify their sourcing. This being said, with the reopening of China, past Chinese New Year 2023 should see an easier supply management. Though not everything would restart just like that,” added Deschaseaux.

China’s biggest GSE manufacturer Guangtai is very confident about the performance of loader market in 2023 following client feedback, and has developed an electric loader product range with some of the world’s advanced battery technology. The e-powered container/pallet loader has already been very well received by customers both domestically and overseas. Menzies in Budapest Airport, Hungary and Incheon International Airport in South Korea were quick to purchase the energy-efficient machine.

Compared with the previous electric container/pallet loader, the water cooling mode adopted nowadays has greatly improved the safety of the equipment. Water cooling can accelerate the heat dissipation speed of the equipment especially after the equipment has been running, therefore, the loader can operate at a relatively suitable temperature.

In the near future, the battery used in Guangtai’s electric equipment will be smaller, and its efficiency, stability and safety will be even more greatly improved.

“Through user feedback, our electric container/pallet loader is efficient and stable, especially in terms of power consumption turnaround, and performs very well. The high density battery pack can support a whole eight-hour day of continuous operation with no need to do intermediate charging. The world’s highest standard and most advanced LFP battery, has been adopted in Guangtai electric equipment, from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited. This is not only for loaders, but also all our electric products are equipped with this battery,” said a spokesman from Guangtai.

Furthermore, Guangtai’s electric loaders are easy to operate with modular design and Helix rollers, loading ULDs from the side and rear. Additionally, customers are no longer worried about the lack of power when it works, owing to the fact that Guangtai’s electric container/pallet loader can continue to work while charging with the Mobile Power Bank.

“Based on good feedback from the current market, we have great confidence in the market performance of our electric loaders in 2023. We plan to support our customers, provide various preferential schemes (such as special price and trial), in order to let customers learn more about our e-power loaders and gain benefits so that customers can feel the advantages of our electric container/pallet loader in reducing energy consumption, reducing emissions and saving costs,” added the spokesman.

Easy to operate
Over the decades since its first main deck loader in 1969, JBT AeroTech has supplied thousands of cargo loaders around the globe to help airlines and freight companies move their time-critical cargo. Today, the JBT AeroTech Commander line of loaders is an industry staple. Recently added to JBT GSE’s loader products are the Ranger and Falcon cargo loaders for higher speed operations and to service smaller cargo aircraft.

With the HeliRoll Convey System, swing out power modules, and PLC system for onboard diagnostics, JBT AeroTech loaders are easy to operate, easy to maintain, and highly reliable.
The Commander 15i and 30i electric cargo loaders are in operation around the world. The latest version of the Commander 30i, with its extended range, was introduced at the 2022 GSE Expo in Paris. In use with multiple customers at sites around the globe, the Commander 30i with its longer duty cycle are meeting customer requirements for reliability and an extended time between charges. 

According to Kevin Cecil, New Product Development Manager: “We will continue to offer our loaders with new options and electrify the heavier-duty Commander 40i electric loader later this year.”

With speeds up to 15mph (24 km/h) on the Ranger Electric Loader, making maneuvering cargo loads with ease around the airport. Plus, with smooth ride features and an all-electric power system, cargo loading and transfers are done in a way that is friendlier to workers, cargo, and the planet.

The Falcon cargo loader is newly designed to service smaller cargo aircraft such as the Cessna, ATR, and CRJ models. With a lift capacity of 2267kg (5,000lbs), platform lift heights compatible with feeder cargo aircraft, and truck transfer flexibility, the Falcon loader combines the ease of operation, ease of maintenance, and high reliability of JBT’s conventionally sized cargo loaders with the size and maneuverability needed for emerging feeder cargo aircraft operations.

It is truly moving big things from a small package. In addition to a full offering of cargo loaders, JBT AeroTech is proud to have developed the JetDock automated docking system. The optional automatic docking system makes finding, aligning to, and docking with the aircraft cargo door fast, precise, and safe. It takes just the touch of a button – and no need for decals or other markings on the aircraft fuselage.

Further, JBT AeroTech has offered Aircraft Proximity Detection (APD) on cargo loaders for over 15 years.
Finally, to enhance operational efficiencies and maximize up-times, new JBT loaders come equipped with iOPS telematics capability to monitor and manage cargo loaders.

Additionally, iOPS is compatible with most GSE of all types to help the customer effectively manage GSE fleets across the ramp. This equipment monitoring platform from JBT provides real-time, actionable information on the status, performance, and maintenance needs of your equipment. “You’ll be amazed at how powerful and actionable the information you get from this software is. And, you can access it anywhere on laptops and mobile devices,” said Eric Davis, Director of Global Customer Care.  Be in the know and in control with fleet management technology from JBT AeroTech.

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