Specialist HBS Test Baggage for Heathrow Airport

14 March 2016

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world. In 2014, it handled a record 73.4million passengers, this requires baggage systems that needs constant forward thinking programmes to meet increasing demands – this includes current legislative requirements of the new Next Generation ECAC Standard 3 security guidelines.

The Heathrow T3iB Commissioning Team were tasked with getting the new T3iB facility, one of the most complex baggage sorting systems in the world, tested, commissioned and running.

This new T3iB facility includes 8 new Next Generation ECAC Standard 3 machines that screen aircraft hold baggage for explosives. Testing these screening machines and their associated conveyor systems is part of a rigorous commissioning process. All systems need to be thoroughly tested to ensure that if there is a threat, i.e. explosives in baggage, the Standard 3 machines detect and reject the bag for further investigation.

This validation process is crucial to the system being signed off as safe and operational. Our solution was the provision of specialist Test Baggage, designed to test the systems capability to detect these threats. We provided Heathrow with 300 of our specialist ‘Reject’ test bags containing lead numbers for operator identification and explosive simulant for detection under x-ray. Using these bags, our Validation Team were able to support single machine tests and a Matrix test. The Matrix test is designed to confirm that when using multiple screening machines they are properly connected to multiple work stations to enable a team of operators to view and analyse any “problem” bags.

These Validation tests are designed to ensure that the ‘Clear’ bags are sent safely to the aircraft for loading while ‘Reject’ bags are escalated for further checking. We don’t just supply our test baggage to clients, we also use it ourselves within our Validation Service; we know exactly what is required to create the perfect test bag. Our ‘Reject’ bags deliver a 100% rejection rate and eliminate wasted time during the critical testing phase.

Using our experience testing the Next Generation ECAC Standard 3 machines, we were able to combine our Validation Services and Test Baggage to ensure efficiency throughout the test programme. This hands-on experience allows us to constantly develop and improve our Test Bags and Validation Services to keep up with the increasingly smart screening machines being produced whilst producing test pieces that are easy to use and store and test your machines.

In delivery we mobilised and delivered with short notice to meet our client’s needs.