Efficiency and capacity: supporting social distancing in baggage reclaim areas

An interview with Klaus Schaefer, Managing Director, BEUMER Group. By Ross Falconer

A future-proofed baggage handling system should deliver the optimum efficiency and maximum capacity to meet and support an airport’s masterplan. The right system will give the airport fast and easy management of baggage flow and balance loads between redundant routes.

“Using the available Explosive Detection System (EDS) resources, the system should keep the number of screening machines to a minimum,” explains Klaus Schaefer, Managing Director, BEUMER Group. “The potential to reduce the CAPEX for security screening is often overlooked. A system which uses advanced technology should give the airport the opportunity to reduce OPEX by optimising maintenance for the baggage handling system. If the airport chooses a tote-based, Independent Carrier System (ICS) for baggage handling, efficiency and capacity will be added by avoiding the tracking failures and jams which cause delays.”

Self-service is a significant trend in the passenger service strategy of airports of all sizes. BEUMER Group’s CrisBag system allows passengers to place their bags directly into totes upon arrival at the terminal. “Higher efficiency at check-in will enable airports to improve the number of passengers processed at each bag drop and reduce the operating cost,” says Schaefer. “The CrisBag self bag drop enables check-in staff to transition from providing a routine check-in service to focusing on supporting individual passengers and managing the interaction.”

Klaus Schaefer, Managing Director, BEUMER Group: “BEUMER will soon announce a new and extensive CrisBag installation in another part of the world where there is increased interest in ICS-based baggage handling technology. BEUMER has also started work for the Hamad International Airport Expansion Project to supply and install the baggage handling system for the Remote Transfer Baggage Facility Building.”

Each bag is placed in a tote by the passenger at check-in, so the system has 100% accurate track-and-trace at every stage of the baggage handling process. “This eliminates the need to have a conventional belt conveyor and avoids the potential bag jams,” Schaefer comments. “Immediate scanning inside the bag drop provides automatic verification of the bag tag, dimensions and weight before the bag is sent through the baggage handling system.”

The CrisBag system is performing with high efficiency at San Francisco Airport (SFO), where it recently went live. The system was designed to combine safety with a reduction in energy usage, precise baggage tracking, and to minimise the total cost of ownership. “SFO chose BEUMER’s CrisBag system to support the move to using a single baggage handling system and to improve the efficiency of operations throughout Terminal 1,” says Schaefer. “Installing a single baggage handling system provides greater flexibility for the airlines and the airport services.”

Meanwhile, as part of the Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 baggage handling system upgrade, the mechanical design and control software of the existing tilt-tray sorters will be modernised along with an extension of the entire baggage handling system. “The upgrading project will also include a new CrisStore baggage storage to further modernise the system and the baggage handling,” Schaefer adds.

The baggage handling system integrator should always look to integrate as many optimisation points as possible. BEUMER Group takes this concept further by integrating and optimising the complete end-to-end process.

“The ability to use data analytics is top of the list of operational benefits,” Schaefer explains. “By supporting a data-driven approach to baggage handling, data analytics has huge potential to reduce OPEX by delivering greater operational visibility.”

An increasing number of airports are changing from a conventional lane- or conveyor-based Early Baggage Store (EBS) to a rack-based store. “The airport can use the CrisStore to store early bags and to build batches of bags for speed-loading to make-up,” says Schaefer. “The aim is to significantly increase the efficient use of manpower and to optimise the design and use of the make-up area. Another critical factor is that kind of storage supports rationalisation of the baggage reclaim process.”

Reclaim on Demand is another point of optimisation being considered. This eliminates the need for passengers to wait beside a carousel for hold baggage to arrive. “Instead, passengers will be able to wait in the arrival hall and keep a distance until an in-app message on their mobile phone confirms that the bag is ready for collection,” Schaefer explains. “A QR code sent to the passenger’s mobile phone will verify their identity and open the Reclaim on Demand kiosk so that the bag can be collected. Passengers will be able to leave baggage at the airport until it is convenient to collect the bag and Reclaim on Demand will support social distancing in the baggage reclaim areas.”

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