There is still some good news coming from the aviation industry in these rather gloomy, Covid-19 dominated days. For example, a recent announcement by specialist HiSERV, one of Europe’s fastest growing ground support equipment (GSE) rental companies. Its electrically-driven ground power units (eGPU) are on the advance, replacing the common diesel unit, a main emitter of CO2 and hazardous fine dust, and thus improving the ecological footprint of airports.
The first measurable effect when switching from diesel engines to electrically powered GPUs is a much better air quality at aprons, benefitting the ground handling staff responsible for loading
or unloading luggage, the cleaning personnel or the pushback drivers. In other words, practically everyone working airside on aprons or around aircraft stands is positively affected when old
equipment is replaced by state-of-the-art eGPUs.
According to HiSERVE, their “model 7400”, built by the Danish/U.S. manufacturer ITW GSE, is able to supply power to up to 12 aircraft per day while standing at a gate, before its batteries need recharging.
Vienna started eGPU testing phase
Currently, the Berlin-based company possesses 3 electrically-powered GPUs based at different airports, among them Vienna International Airport, Austria. Just before the outbreak of Covid-19 leading to a near standstill of flight ops, VIE had decided to rent the unit for a testing period of a full year in order to get an exact picture of the performance of the product and its advantages compared to the common diesel driven power units used so far. “We are convinced that, at the end of the day, the comparison will be positive, demonstrating that our 7400 eGPU shows a significantly better performance, not only because of environmental impacts but also its cost-effectiveness,” HiSERV manager Christoph Papke self-confidently stated.
If the performance of the device is as superior as he indicates, the question arises why his company is so far only known to insiders. “Because we are a fairly young firm that’s in business only since 2017,” he says. Ever since then, the ground support equipment supplier enjoys remarkable growth. Currently, it manages a fleet of 4,000 units from different manufacturers such as Trepel, Goldhofer, Kalmar Motor AB, Mulag or Rheinmetall, to name but a few. In addition to traditional diesel along with eGPUs the portfolio encompasses pushbacks, high lifters for loading/unloading cargo aircraft, passenger stairs, ramp equipment tractors and alike machines. “We are able to supply an airport with everything that’s needed to keep its ops running on the air side, including pallet transporters or dollies allowing for seamless cargo processing,” Mr. Papke emphasizes.
So, what is HiSERV’s USP? “It’s twofold: Customers may profit from short and long-term rentals and are also offered our pay-per-use option, not matched by any of our competitors.” Thanks to the tailored rental solution, airports, airlines, ground handling agents, or other clients can convert fixed assets into flexible pay-per-use costs, he adds. “Secondly, we optimize the use of our GSE through a smart fleet management based on permanent data collection and analyses during operation,” the manager says. “The information gained we pass on to our customers to make performance processes transparent,” HiSERV’s Managing Director, Roland Ueckert, adds.
Further to this, the data retrieved from tracking provides valuable information concerning the optimization of the GSE fleet, such as utilization hours and costs incurred, enabling predictive maintenance to avoid sudden breakdowns but keep the machines in good shape for daily ops.
Next on the company’s agenda is the geographical expansion of their business. On this occasion, HiSERV and Spanish firm Serpista S.A., a leading GSE maintenance shop on the Iberian Peninsula have signed an agreement to jointly better serve the European and Spanish market.
However, the outbreak of Covid-19 has led to a postponement of these plans.
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