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Why Use Linear motors

Heathrow Baggage Handling


Force Engineering was tasked with applying their Linear Induction Motor (LIM) technology to the baggage handling system within Terminal 5. There are over 6,000 motors within the 5 miles of track ranging from small, low thrust motors for fine control at junctions to active fan cooled, high speed motors to power the carts in the long inter-terminal tunnels.


The LIMs developed by Force Engineering reduced the problem of slow baggage delivery by providing a much faster transferral to the various handling systems, cutting the time taken by the traditional road transport from tens of minutes to just 18 seconds.

The addition of LIMs to the handling system means that baggage is transported up to three times faster than conventional conveying systems whilst reducing energy consumption. The individual motors in the system are only powered when the baggage carts are directly overhead and then only to the required thrust to maintain the cart's desired speed. As a result the LIM system consumes one third of the energy of a conventional conveying system; typically a system working three times the speed would require nine times the energy. So Force Engineering's LIMs not only provide the high speeds required but also remain a very energy efficiency solution.

Force Engineering's technology is seamlessly integrated into the control architecture of the complete system with the full speed and direction control of the individual carts ensuring overall system integrity and reliability.

Key Benefits of using Force Engineering's Linear Induction Motor for the project:

  • Greater speed and energy for the baggage handling system
  • LIM technology fully integrated with distribution control systems
  • Bags up to 30kg can be moved faster than conventional systems and need only be handled once
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Reduced noise
  • Energy efficient
  • Low cost per bag movement


Using Force Engineering's LIMs, the baggage handling system runs at speeds up to 14 metres per second (30mph / 50kph) whilst consuming less power than a comparable system. The greater speed and reliability of the system means that more baggage is delivered on time to their relevant flights, especially for the 30% of passengers that travel through Heathrow due to a flight transfer.