SAS Cargo and Unilode deepen collaboration to enable flying digital

posted on 11th March 2019 by Justin Burns
SAS Cargo and Unilode deepen collaboration to enable flying digital

SAS Cargo and unit load device (ULD) management company Unilode Aviation Solutions will further deepen their collaboration with Unilode digitising SAS Cargo’s container fleet starting Q2 2019.

This agreement forms part of Unilode’s digital transformation programme, which is based on BLE5 technology and a global reader infrastructure, and enables ULD tracking and the measurement of temperature, humidity, light and shock in air freight shipments, among other benefits.

This development is another major milestone in a long-standing collaboration, which started in 2011 with the conversion of SAS Cargo’s ULD fleet to lightweight containers, and enables SAS Cargo to take the next step in fulfilling its digital ambitions.

SAS Cargo Group president and chief executive officer (CEO), Leif Rasmussen said: “The implementation of innovative and competitive digital solutions requires that all stakeholders put the customer at the centre, ensure transparency and integrate a digital transformation strategy that offers a coherent customer experience through all channels.

“Unilode’s digital transformation programme supports SAS Cargo’s digital initiatives by providing a customer-centric approach and offering value-added services to SAS Cargo’s customers. The digitisation of our ULD fleet will bring SAS Cargo to the next level of supply chain excellence and we look forward to expanding our collaboration with Unilode.”

Unilode CEO, Benoît Dumont added the aviation industry is “embracing digitalisation” in the supply chain to optimise operations, enhance visibility and give more insights to the customers.

He said: “We are pleased that we can accelerate SAS Cargo’s digital ambitions with the digitalisation of the ULD operations, which we have been managing for eight years.

“We are proud to serve SAS Cargo as a trusted and strategic partner and we continue to work hard to provide SAS Cargo and all our customers with state-of-the-art ULD solutions, which contribute to an integrated, innovative and digital supply chain in the aviation industry.”

Meanwhile, Unilode along with Safran and OnAsset Intelligence have completed the development of a breakthrough solution for the seamless integration of digital Bluetooth tags in pallets.

Unilode said it is the “world’s best and unique form factor, corner piece and attachment method for the digital enablement of aviation pallets”, which is an essential element in Unilode’s digital transformation programme for ULD management solutions.

The three parties started their collaboration less than a year ago to develop a unique design for a Bluetooth 5 digital tag, which can seamlessly be fitted into a pallet to prevent mishandling and stacking problems that may occur with bolt-on solutions positioned externally.

Safran’s engineering team designed a complementary corner piece solution to house the antenna of the tag in the pallet corner, with the rest of OnAsset’s innovative digital device being entirely integrated inside the edge rail of the pallet.

Once the prototyping phase was completed, the team consisting of Unilode, Safran and OnAsset Intelligence engineering and electronics experts conducted a lengthy testing process focusing on structural integrity, regulatory compliance, operational safety and electronics performance, which was completed successfully.

Unilode’s new Safran pallets will be delivered with the integrated corner piece while existing units will be retrofitted to enable the provision of data on location and shock, which is important especially for time-critical and shock-sensitive cargo. The technology is fully DO-160 compliant and approved for in-flight use, and Unilode will start rolling out its digitally enabled ULDs along with the global reader infrastructure to set its digital transformation programme in motion.

Dumont said: “We are proud that Unilode’s digital transformation programme is supported and enabled through a collaborative engineering effort with our partners Safran and OnAsset Intelligence.

“Our solution for the digital enablement of pallets is fully integrated and therefore safe, compliant with prevailing regulations, does not create a trip hazard for individuals or pose a target for forklifts and does not operationally impede on the use of the pallets by occupying a portion of the seat tracks.

“Unilode is in the process of securing its intellectual property rights in the pallet tag form factor and looks forward to rolling out its digital transformation programme, which has been recognised as a leading innovative idea through Unilode’s nomination as a finalist for the 2019 IATA Air Cargo Innovation Award.”