Barely sought, already found

The GSE 4.0 project offers end-to-end transparency for planning tools and equipment

You barely decide you need a tow bar when the search starts. The aprons and hangars at Lufthansa Technik are not exactly small, which means it can take some time to find the required tow bar or any other piece of ground support equipment (GSE). But those days are gone. This is because all GSE – in other words, tools and equipment with a drawbar or an ignition lock – can now be found immediately with the help of new location-tracking software. Apart from tow bars, this includes tractors, loaders, launchers, air-conditioning equipment, generators, ladders, catering and conveyor belt machines as well as work platforms and trailers. 

Lufthansa Technik began with a pilot project in VIP Maintenance in Hamburg in April. Meanwhile the hardware and software have been installed, all antennae positioned on the hangar roofs, and around 1,500 pieces of GSE networked. The system will now go online gradually. After examining other specific applications, a pilot project was launched at the end of April in A380 maintenance in Frankfurt. The system is expected to be up and running in Munich from August and then subsequently also be available for users within the Lufthansa Group, for example at Lufthansa Cargo.

GSE 4.0 supports location tracking anytime and anywhere, thus allowing all networked GSE to be located both in the outside areas and within the hangars. The availability of each individual piece of ground support equipment can be planned more effectively and fully transparently thanks to the fast location-tracking solution. But that's not all: Every piece of GSE can display relevant information to suit every requirement, such as fuel level, exterior temperature or defects.

GSE 4.0 has been made possible thanks to the use of appropriate hardware and software. Established hardware is used for tracking in the form of the tracker and gateway (antenna); the special visualization software, on the other hand, was custom-developed. All trackers are fitted with on-board sensors, which can be configured flexibly depending on requirements and the GSE and enhanced by existing external sensors, such as those used by motor vehicles (GPS). This means that the system can not only display all relevant data, it can even be programmed to report independently, for example to request refueling or an engineer in good time prior to the next call-out.

The system can also be used on mobile devices so that all of this information can be retrieved anywhere and anytime for the GSE in question. And of course the system also works from stationary workplaces. Because the project can be applied to all the ground support equipment of the Lufthansa Group, all Lufthansa sites globally will soon be able to benefit from GSE 4.0 and thus the new coordination of tools and equipment – and there will no longer be any need to search laboriously for GSE or for equipment to stand around on the apron in cold and wet weather.