Sensors & Transducers


Baggage position control and measurement using a 3D sensor

March 2021 Sensors & Transducers

With its autover Independent Carrier System, the Beumer Group offers solutions for baggage handling challenges. On a passive rail system, intelligent transport vehicles called autoca carriers, which are driven by contactless power transmission, transport items of checked baggage safely to their correct destinations. The system is already in use at major airport hubs such as Dubai, Moscow, Nice, Gdansk and Montreal.

“With a throughput of up to 900 items of baggage per hour per transfer point, our system achieves a high handling speed,” says Beumer software engineer Michael Baumeister.

“Hundreds of autoca carriers can travel simultaneously at speeds of up to 10 metres per second along the rollercoaster-like rail system with its tight curves, steep inclines and declines of up to 18°, and long straights. Each carrier collects a single item of baggage, providing 100% tracking and traceability during transport.”

The second important factor besides reliable tracking is the correct positioning of baggage items. From check-in, items are carried by conveyor belt to the Beumer autover system. Before being picked up by a carrier, each piece of baggage is detected and measured by an O3D camera from ifm electronic positioned above the conveyor belt. The camera operates on the time-of-flight principle. While laser scanners use only one pixel for the measurement, the camera has 23 000 pixels arranged in a matrix; in this way, it can detect objects and scenes in three dimensions at a glance.

Optical detection improves performance

“We use the camera to check compliance with the permitted outer dimensions, that is, length, width and height of the baggage items,” says Baumeister. “We do this because we can reach physical limits when transporting baggage due to the very high transport speeds, for example in bends. This is why it is important for us to determine the baggage position, e.g. whether a suitcase is in an upright position before it enters our transport system. The ifm camera allows us to do this very reliably before loading.”

With the O3D camera from ifm, Beumer Group is able to ensure the correct placement of baggage items at a critical interface: the baggage transfer from the in-feeding conveyor belt to the independent carriers. The system can then fully harness its high degree of efficiency to the benefit of the airport operator, the airlines, and the passengers.


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