FKI Logistex Teams With Delta Air Lines, Transportation Security Administration To Test Enhanced RFID Baggage Tracking Technology | Automation.com

FKI Logistex Teams With Delta Air Lines, Transportation Security Administration To Test Enhanced RFID Baggage Tracking Technology

(Louisville, KY, USA: July 28, 2003) FKI Logistex (LSE: FKI.L), a global leader in providing total baggage handling solutions, today announced that its Baggage Handling Team has been selected by Delta Air Lines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as a key partner for a 30-day test of advanced RFID baggage tracking technology. As part of the test team, FKI Logistex will evaluate RFID tag effectiveness and durability, and the feasibility of RFID-based baggage tracking from departure point through final destination.

Funded primarily by the TSA and Delta Air Lines, and led by renowned technology research and development consortium, Battelle Memorial Institute, other test partners include IATA luggage tag provider, Moore Wallace Publishing, and two RFID manufacturers, SCS Corporation of San Diego, CA, and Baltimore, MD-based Matrics, Inc. During the 30-day trial, more than 40,000 disposable RFID tags will be affixed to outbound passenger bags traveling from Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) through the Delta Air Lines hub at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The test will analyze two different tracking methodologies - printer-level encoding and database association of the RFID tags. Currently in engineering, the test is slated to begin in September 2003 and will apply only to bags departing from JAX that are ticketed through ATL.

FKI Logistex is the leading baggage handling equipment supplier and systems integrator at JAX, site of the world's first permanent UHF RFID baggage handling installation. The ATL test system will use complimentary systems to the installation at JAX. The FKI Logistex baggage handling team will be responsible for installing, integrating, and commissioning a cutting-edge RFID system to include scanning arrays on baggage sortation conveyors, ramp-based belt loaders leading directly to aircraft baggage holds, and Universal Load

Devices (ULD) used to store baggage prior to loading onto aircraft. FKI Logistex is also responsible for integrating wireless LAN communications equipment, sort allocation computers, and sophisticated controls software. Additional system equipment includes 20,000 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) printer-level encodable RFID tags from SCS Corporation; 20,000 UHF database association tags from Matrics Inc.; and RFID-embedded IATA baggage tags from Moore Wallace Publishing.

During the test, outbound passenger bags departing from JAX and ticketed through ATL will receive one of the two types of encoded RFID tags inserted directly into conventional human-readable IATA license plate luggage tags. Newly developed technology allowing conventional IATA printers to write encoded passenger-identifying information will be used to record data to the SCS Corporation RFID tags. The Matrics, Inc. database association tags feature a unique, identifying serial number on each RFID tag, which will be associated with the individual passenger record stored in a secure database at JAX. A combination of RFID and wireless LAN technology will be used to confirm positive identification and reconciliation of all bags throughout the test cycle.

At passenger check-in at JAX, all ATL-bound baggage will be given RFID tags for both the Delta test and for JAX's own state-of-the-art Explosive Detection System (EDS) screening system. After tagging, bags will be conveyed to the secure EDS room for screening, sorted according to the identifying information on the RFID tags, and loaded onto the appropriate aircraft. During each step of the transfer process, bags will be subject to continual scanning by RFID arrays located on scanning conveyors, ramp-based belt loaders, and ULDs to ensure accurate tracking and identification.

Upon arrival at ATL, bags will be unloaded, scanned, and reconciled according to the encoded information written to the RFID tags. An industrial PC then generates a reconciliation report to JAX, confirming positive bag sortation and matching.

All UHF RFID tags included in the trial are compatible with WiFi 802.11b wireless LAN technologies incorporated into the system. The simple antenna tag design allows for fast, accurate selective or multiple reads, with no line-of-sight required. With rewritable and encryptable RFID tags, information can be added securely during the bag's journey, giving baggage handlers and security personnel a clear snapshot of the bag's history, including flight and destination data, and where and when EDS testing occurred.

Traditional baggage handling tracking systems generally achieve positive sortation rates of 85%. FKI Logistex projects to achieve a 99.8% positive sortation rate with the RFID-based sortation and tracking system.

"The testing of this all-RFID system represents the next phase of evolution in intelligent baggage tracking systems," said Dave Martin, president of FKI Logistex North America. "FKI Logistex is proud to have been selected as a partner in this historic endeavor."

For more information, please contact Phil Heacock of FKI Logistex Integration Division by telephone at (502) 244-8811, via e-mail at [email protected]; you may also visit the team's website at www.baggagehandling.com.

About the FKI Logistex Baggage Handling Team

The FKI Logistex Baggage Handling Team is a leading single-source provider of fully integrated baggage handling solutions worldwide. In addition, the team is a recognized technology leader in radio-frequency identification (RFID) and explosion detection system (EDS) integration for small and regional airport systems.

For more information, please visit the Baggage Handling Team website at www.baggagehandling.com.
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