DOLL: Making operations safer with digitalisation

Staff shortages in aircraft handling pose significant safety risks: If untrained employees operate highloaders for catering and cleaning services, this significantly increases the risk of damage to the planes being loaded.

The threat of massive liability risks amounting to millions looms large. Consequently, German specialty vehicle manufacturer DOLL is committed to relentless digitalisation for simple and safe operation of its vehicles: By integrating an intelligent assistance system into its globally deployed highloaders, DOLL eliminates the risk of collisions during delicate docking manoeuvres.

The aircraft handling industry faces significant challenges due to a lack of skilled workers. This has been exacerbated by the worldwide loss of approximately 1.6 million jobs during the pandemic. The resurgence of flight operations has given rise to an urgent need to hire and quickly train new ground handling staff.

In stressful situations, where many service vehicles and machines manoeuvre in close quarters around an aircraft being loaded, the risk of accidents increases substantially. This may result in damage to aircraft or injury to persons during the loading process.

Despite the presence of untrained staff and high employee turnover, it is imperative that accidents and mishandlings of this kind be avoided at all costs. DOLL Airport Equipment, a leading provider of catering, cleaning, and medical highloaders, has implemented an extensive digitalisation program for its vehicles.

DOLL also has also developed intelligent assistance systems to support drivers and continues to enhance them. As the vehicle approaches the aircraft, these systems assist the driver with a 3D sensor system. This system scans the area around the vehicle and automatically brakes if it comes within less than 0.5 metres of an object.

Using a 3D camera, the driver can detect the distance between the aircraft and the vehicle in real time. In the final position, he is able to see at all times through a display where supports, scissor lifts, suitcases, or platforms are currently located. This prevents incorrect operation of the vehicle. At the same time, this technology simplifies handling and saves time.

DOLL has now further expanded this technology: A larger display not only offers a 360-degree view but also short, simple instructional videos for operating all the vehicle functions.

"Every driver must be able to operate our vehicles safely, even under stressful conditions. That is our standard," says Pierre Marx, Key Account Manager at DOLL Airport Equipment. "That's why we have further enhanced our assistance system with the 12-inch 'Vision X' display."

Following the removal of all travel restrictions from the pandemic era, the aviation industry is expanding rapidly, and the demand for specialty vehicles is increasing. DOLL can meet this high demand, as the company group is broadly positioned with its diverse portfolio.

"After the end of the pandemic, we were able to quickly ramp up our production again," emphasizes Günter Schwarzenbach, Managing Director of DOLL Airport Equipment. DOLL Airport Equipment GmbH is undergoing continuous expansion. "There is significant demand for intelligent vehicle systems and the requirements for quality and delivery reliability are increasing. We are able to meet both."

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