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ADB Safeguard

Air travel made safer by ADB SAFEGATE and Ewon

ADB SAFEGATE is a world leader in aircraft guidance and docking. Ewon is the leader in remote access communications equipment tied to automation and related technologies used in the process. Together, they have teamed up to make the commissioning and troubleshooting of ADB SAFEGATE systems better,  more reliable and secure.
“In my years as a service engineer I spent over 140 nights in hotel rooms every year. With Ewon the traveling is now minimal. We are applying the Ewon systems and its Talk2M software everywhere so we have more time to focus  on the things that really matter.”
Niels Burez, Technology Manager

Most of us take air travel safety for granted


Waking from a short snooze, you find yourself sitting in the window seat of a shiny silver jet. The squawky sound of the pilot’s announcement prepares you for landing. Quickly straightening some inflight reading materials, you prepare for your next business appointment and daydream about next month’s visit to a seaside resort.


Simultaneously, the big aircraft does an approach swing, gently touches down and taxis to a pre-assigned gate. The whole process happens over 102,000 times every day. The truth is, most of us never stop to ponder the technical marvel of either the airplane or the logistics of its journey from departure to arrival gate. We can take all this for granted because someone else has perfected the system.



- Troubleshooting made more reliable and secure

- Talk2M Security features for IT Professionals with ISO27001 and STAR Certification

- Flexible connectivity (LAN, WIfi, Cellular) for optimal connectivity

- Reduced service cost and travel by 80%


ADB SAFEGATE has 100 years of experience in air travel safety


That “someone else” happens to be the 1000-plus dedicated employees of ADB SAFEGATE. Since the early days of aviation back in the 1940s, ADB SAFEGATE has served as the experts in creating a higher quality, safer and more convenient future for aviation. Headquartered in Belgium with 35 offices around the world, the company serves the needs of over 2,500 airports in more than 175 countries. They use Ewon to better accomplish their safety goals by allowing remote access to equipment thousands of miles away.


As one might expect, safety is a core focus for the ADB SAFEGATE team. Speaking with Niels Burez, a Technology Manager at ADB SAFEGATE, we heard the following: 


“Airports require massive attention to detail on safety and it’s all about minimizing the risk. We use industrial automation systems to handle a lot of the switching of landing and approach lights, but it doesn’t stop there. Most systems are designed with build-in redundancy for maximum reliability. This can include redundant PLCs, redundant fiber ring communication, redundant HMI’s, redundant circuits and redundant power sources. This all to reduce the risk of interrupting airfield operations if one of the components would break down.” 


Airports are conservative in their approach to connectivity


“Airports are right in their conservative approach to internet connectivity. Malware or a hack situation could create a dangerous arena for the traveling public. Because of this, some of our customers still prefer to physically disconnect the Ewon units when not being used.”


In addition to the security issues, many airports simply do not have a LAN/WAN connection near ADB SAFEGATE’s equipment. “The lack of physical connection is no problem with Ewon. Actually, nearly 95 percent of our connections come by way of cellular SIM cards.”


Ewon provides the right product for applications with connections using both 3G and 4G technologies designed for worldwide use.


The use of the Ewon’s is at all times in agreement with the airports IT department and maintenance team operations. Ewon has provided ADB Safegate with comprehensive documentation which is presented to the airport to proof the safety and security of using Ewon remote access devices.“


Ewon enables the use of mobile devices


Besides the ability to connect the Ewon routers using cellular technology, Ewon features the ability to access the system through mobile devices. Using Ewon’s free M2Web, an engineer or technician can easily access remote automation control devices from their smartphone or tablet. Here’s what we heard from Niels:

“We find ourselves out in some pretty remote areas testing out new airfield lighting installations. In the old days we would call someone in the facility and ask them to turn on a certain bank of lights. Regardless of how careful the description or how knowledgeable the guy on the other end, there was at best a delay in making it happen and at worst a miscommunication where the wrong section was turned on. Today, we can use our cell phone to access the system and test different circuits from wherever we are located, significantly reducing the amount of time needed airside.”


ADB SAFEGATE has deployed over  50 Ewon units and plans for more


ADB SAFEGATE has as of today deployed over 50 Ewon units. While the company does not track the number of trips avoided or dollars saved in making the trips, Niels did say this, “In my years as a service engineer I spent over 140 nights in hotel rooms every year. With this experience, I know the impact that travel has on our people. The cost of the Ewon devices is minimal compared to travel costs, but the real issues of extensive travel fall on people. We are applying the Ewon systems and its Talk2M software everywhere possible to reduce the need of travel for issues that can be solved remotely so we have more time to focus on the things that really matter.”


What’s next for Ewon at ADB SAFEGATE?


Currently most of the applications are tied to remote access of the airfield lighting equipment via the Ewon Cosy. For the future we see many areas of great potential in our industry to grow in these kind of operations. As an example we can share this:

“For many of the small and remote airports like the Caribbean Island of Saba (population 1900), the airport staff is comprised of just very few people. Typically, these people are the kind of brilliant technical generalists keeping the airport alive; but sometimes they require specialists for specific equipment. Yet those flying into Saba, demand and expect the same level of safety enjoyed at some major metropolitan airport. Being able to supply instant remote support when requested by the airport makes fantastic sense. But we plan to do more. It is our goal to use Ewon’s more advanced Flexy to hold and gather data for ongoing evaluation; a predictive maintenance. When safety is involved, stopping trouble before it starts must be explored. Ewon will be a part of that effort as well.”


Knowing all this should allow us all to grab just a few more winks of sleep aboard our next flight.


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