classic | mobile


SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide


Reliable technology for tracking flight baggage
March 2017, Sensors & Transducers

Rising passenger figures are a major challenge for both airlines and baggage handling systems. As a result, many airport operators use what has become one of the most popular forms of track-and-trace systems for airport baggage since it was introduced in 1993: the ALIS (airport luggage identification system) by SICK. ALIS’ built-in barcode scanner achieves very high read rates, guaranteeing the seamless transportation of baggage along conveyor systems that stretch for several miles. The reliable identification of bags plays a decisive role. Demands on the barcode scanners read performance are also rising at a continuous rate, as an increasing number of passengers are checking in online and printing their own baggage labels at home. This can cause the quality of labels to deteriorate. Furthermore, the position of the label on the bag along with the shape and properties of the individual labels can vary significantly.

No Read and No BSM: the bar code is not the only key factor

The read performance for transfer lines – where the baggage in the handling system is transported from one airplane to another – tends to be lower than in bag drop lines. This is mainly due to damaged or contaminated labels. If this results in the system being unable to read the bar codes (No Read), the bag in question cannot be assigned to its unique BSM (baggage source message). This data set (which is internationally valid) is stored in databases and contains the information needed to sort the bag (flight number, IATA code, etc). Another challenge for airport operators is that sometimes complete BSM data sets go missing or the link to the database is interrupted or even down on a long-term basis (No BSM). In these cases, the bag cannot be sorted even though the bar code has been read correctly. In both cases (No Read and No BSM), the bags have to be transported to something known as the MES (manual encoding station), where they are identified manually – which has a negative impact on throughput and the bag’s transfer time. This can lead to delays. In the worst case, the bags are left behind and the airport operators and airlines have to face higher costs and damage to their reputation.

Integrating the right technology

SICK’s track-and-trace systems are available for integration into various forms of identification technology. For airport baggage identification, vision technology using the Lector65x image-based code reader offers a number of benefits. The primary advantage is a significant increase to the barcode read performance. The amount of work needed for alteration is small: the Lector65x can be installed easily into existing frames without needing to change communication with the control unit. Furthermore, the image-based code readers provide high-resolution images that can be used for video coding and optical character recognition (OCR). For example, they can use the label to read the BSM information needed for sorting. A further benefit provided by vision technology: an increasing number of high-resolution images are available for each bag. Because the bag passes below several cameras on the conveyor belt, each image is photographed from a different perspective. Overall, the result is a series of images of the same bag from various different perspectives, improving identification. Vision technology can also be integrated into a laser-based ALIS system and be retrofitted, all with very little effort. The outcome: an ALIS vision system based on the Lector65x.

One solution, many applications

When it comes to achieving the best possible read performance, selecting the right type of identification technology plays an important role, as does integrating the various forms of technology within a system. Track-and-trace systems like the Lector65x System therefore have a lot to offer. The type of camera (fixed focus or dynamic focus), the number of cameras, and the alignment are all customised to the application in question – from reading the top of parcels or tyres (the Tire Lector Array) all the way through to 5-sided reading for parcels or flight baggage (ALIS Vision). By integrating the networking concept from SICK into the MSC800 network controller, the Lector65x System can intelligently be combined with other technology, such as ICR8xx line-scanning cameras, volume measurement systems, laser-based code readers, or weighing scales.

Supplied By: SICK Automation Southern Africa
Tel: +27 11 472 3733
Fax: +27 11 472 3078
Share via email     Share via LinkedIn   Print this page

Further reading:

  • Humidity measurement in poultry farms
    August 2017, Instrotech, Sensors & Transducers
    Temperature and humidity measurement are required for each stage of the chicken lifecycle.
  • Being sensible with sensors in intralogistics
    August 2017, Countapulse Controls, Sensors & Transducers
    There has been much debate in the field of intralogistics around whether classic high bay storage devices or self-driven shuttle systems are the future. Gerry Bryant, managing director of Countapulse ...
  • Telco optical fork sensors for packaging applications
    August 2017, Gail Norton Instrumentation, Sensors & Transducers
    Telco’s OFS series consists of self-contained optical fork sensors that are housed in a durable, U-shaped aluminium housing which operates in thru-beam mode. The series is available with a wide variety ...
  • Foxboro pH sensors reduce costs and maintenance
    August 2017, Sensors & Transducers
    Traditionally, pH sensors require replacement and are sometimes seen as consumables due to the frequency of change-out in certain applications. Therefore, suppliers are constantly working on developments ...
  • Safety laser scanners immune to wood chippings
    August 2017, SICK Automation Southern Africa, IS & Ex
    Through industrial parquet manufacturing, fine wood flooring has become more affordable and easily available. To achieve production of over 80 million metres of flooring annually, demands stringent requirements ...
  • Smooth speed regulation with high precision
    August 2017, Countapulse Controls, Sensors & Transducers
    The new Hengstler Acuro AX73 is a class-leading optical encoder that offers smooth speed regulation with high levels of precision. Its compact dimensions make it suitable for installation in areas where ...
  • Why use image-based barcode readers?
    August 2017, Westplex, Sensors & Transducers
    Image-based barcode readers are rapidly replacing laser scanners in a wide range of industries including food, beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, and logistics, but when considering a transition ...
  • Time of flight technology as standard sensor
    August 2017, ifm Electronic RSA, Sensors & Transducers
    Ifm electronic’s O5D with time of flight technology (photonic mixer device) combines the following advantages: long range, reliable background suppression, visible laser light and high excess gain. In ...
  • Precise object detection under extreme conditions
    August 2017, ifm Electronic RSA, Sensors & Transducers
    Ultrasonic sensors transmit and receive sound waves in the ultrasonic range. The object to be detected reflects the sound waves and the distance information is determined via time of flight measurement. ...
  • Ultrasonic sensor with analog and switching output
    August 2017, RET Automation Controls, Sensors & Transducers
    Besides the ‘high-end’ line, Turck’s ‘standard’ line of RU ultrasonic sensors is now also available with an analog output. In addition, the new sensor also offers a special switching output with a switching ...
  • Sensor and RFID Tag in one
    August 2017, RET Automation Controls, Sensors & Transducers
    Turck’s HF-RFID/sensor tag records and stores measured values such as temperature and pressure and can be read without contact controls. The sensor tags record and store process values such as temperature ...
  • Colour mark sensor with RGB technology
    July 2017, RET Automation Controls, Sensors & Transducers
    Registration marks identify packaging material and are used for position control and to coordinate the separation and cutting of webs of packaging material. The webs are processed at high speeds and product ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.