***image1***A new mechanized cargo handling machine arrived at Ramstein March 9 making materiel storage and retrieval easier.
The 60-ton Elevated Transfer Vehicle is a part of the largest Department of Defense Mechanized Materiel Handling System. The $11 million system is being installed at the new air freight terminal.
The MMHS will provide movement of air freight pallets to and from staging docks and storage locations. The automated ETV acts as the “arm and eyes” for the system and is capable of rotating pallets as well as scanning their shape. This in the long run enables them to be loaded in a safe and space-conscious manner, said Hans-Juergen Kraska, 723rd Air Mobility Squadron project manager for the air freight terminal.
According to Ted Diakiw, Air Force Material Command Logistics Support Office industrial engineer, the new system will make people’s jobs easier too.
MMHS can hold up to 524 pallets while the ETV can move up to 80 pallets an hour, said Mr. Kraska.
“Much of the cargo movement will be automated rather than performed by multiple people. This does not mean it will take less people to handle the air cargo requirements at Ramstein, but will make the 723rd more efficient because it can utilize its personnel where needed,” he said.
In a place where forklifts and manual labor do the job, such a machine is likely to modernize the system.
“It’s a significant step forward for the 723rd AMS, because they have used sweat, muscle and forklifts for so long to perform their mission. Now we are headed for information and technology to reduce the dependency on (manual labor),” said Mr. Diakiw.
The Ramstein system is designed at the most current level of technology and is common in the commercial air cargo industry. This will make operations, maintenance and future upgrades easy and we can follow industry as they make improvements, said Mr. Diakiw. It will also provide greater control of the cargo inventory. That means faster and more efficient handling of parts, food, medical supplies, etc.
Testing of the system will be done for two months and is estimated to be fully functional and in use by October. Another ETV will be arriving in Ramstein next month.
“This will ensure we always have one operational and to use during surge periods to move more pallets and cargo through the system,” said Mr. Diakiw.