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McCarran International Airport Brings Gen2 RFID Technology to New Terminal

Friday, August 10, 2012

June 27 marked the grand opening of the new international section of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. Terminal 3 features Gen2 radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as part of its baggage tracking system and is the largest Gen2 installation to date in North America. In 2004 the decision to implement this type of tracking system made McCarran one of the first airports to use RFID technology airport-wide. An RFID chip is incorporated into each bag tag produced for all of the airlines and it emits a unique signature which sensors detect to locate the tagged object. Standard bar code reading bag tags can be misread forcing bags to be hand-sorted and increase the chance of problems. However, RFID tags are 99% accurate which allows airports to easily organize baggage loading, locate misplaced baggage and check the status of certain baggage. All in all this technology helps improve customer satisfaction and safety and reduces cost related to misplaced baggage.

Design and installation of the new baggage handling system for Terminal 3 began in 2008. Vanderlande Industries was awarded this $92 million baggage handling system which includes 30,000 feet of conveyor, more than 10,000 feet of catwalk, 73 high speed diverters, 32 carousels, 20 Vertisorters, and 55 Over Belt RFID readers. The initial deployment has 16 in-line screening machines with installed availability for up to 20 machines. For in the inbound control system, Vanderlande used its own baggage handling software, VIBES. The VIBES control software suite is compliant with the latest TSA regulations and handles all processes from routing, tracking and tracing to gathering and visualizing process information. For the outbound control system Vanderlande worked in conjunction with Alliant Technologies.

Ian Horrigan, Project Manager at Vanderlande Industries, explains, “the project presented many challenges due to its large scale and wide spread use of 2nd generation RFID technology. The system itself was vigorously tested for many months, processing over 500,000 test bags to ensure a smooth transition to live operations on June 27th as scheduled.”

The domestic section of Terminal 3 opened on July 31 with the entire project to wrap up by the middle of August.

Vanderlande Industries serves the airport baggage handling market as well as materials handling for the distribution, parcel and post markets. Baggage handling systems include self check-in, high-speed transportation, integrated hold baggage screening, baggage carousels and more. Vanderlande Industries is the 5th largest material handling supplier in the world.

Vanderlande Industries Inc

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