SICK and Vanderlande Industries have recently completed full testing of their jointly developed hybrid identification solution (a combined barcode and RFID technology) for baggage handling systems (BHS). This new solution, displayed at Inter Airport Europe 2009, is fully compatible with the existing Vanderlande Industries-SICK barcode identification solution, a proven concept used in nearly 300 BHS installations throughout the world.

Unique features of this highly-integrated solution are the consistent achievement of read rates of more than 99%, the availability of an upgrade path for existing barcode scanning tunnels to include RFID scanning functionality, the combination of complete barcode scanning and RFID scanning in a compact and optimised footprint, and the fact that no physical modifications are needed to the conveyor system to implement full omni-directional RFID scanning. Specifically, this unique solution minimises overall customer investment by removing the need to install specially-designed conveyor sections in and around the laser/RFID scanning tunnel.

It is believed that the deployment of hybrid scanning systems that include both traditional laser barcode scanning and RFID scanning technologies will be especially valuable in baggage transfer operations, where it is common to see severely damaged barcodes in the baggage flow. While laser-scanning systems have, for years, provided very high read rates, it was clear that a solution was required that could achieve the same levels of performance even on badly damaged or missing codes. The hybrid solution developed by SICK and Vanderlande Industries is a solution for this challenge.

SICK and Vanderlande Industries are looking forward to implementing the solution in an operational baggage handling system in the near future. It is expected that such an installation will be completed and fully tested in the coming months.