First US tote-based baggage handling system goes live

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San Francisco Airport becomes the first in the USA to utilize a tote-based independent carrier system, with the installation of the CrisBag ICS in the airport’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1.

Beumer Group said its baggage handling system is designed for shared airline use while also enabling 100% track and trace, as each bag remains in the same tote throughout the baggage handling and integrated security screening process. Additionally, the integration of an explosives detection system (EDS) makes this the first system to be certified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for in-tote baggage security screening.

The new system was installed and tested while the existing Terminal 1 remained in operation, supported by an interim baggage system also installed by Beumer. According to the company, the consolidation to a shared-use baggage system allows redundant routes to balance the load between the computer tomography x-ray (CTX) facilities. As a result, it says only seven screening machines are now needed for baggage screening within the terminal. Prior to the redevelopment of Terminal 1, there were 15 CTX machines serving several independent airline-operated and owned baggage systems.

The explosives detection system was tested by the TSA to evaluate the tracking, throughput, imaging, false-alarm rates and sorting capabilities, as well as to test the system’s ability to detect missing, unknown and oversized bags.

The layout of the ICS also enables the airport to significantly reduce tug traffic. Inbound, transfer and outbound processes are handled by the system, with these processes located in the baggage operational areas which are distributed throughout the terminal boarding area adjacent to the aircraft gates.

Arrival baggage is taken via tugs from a flight and delivered to the inbound system infeed and the tug returns with the outbound baggage for a different flight. The totes from the make-up area are returned to the main terminal building carrying the arrival bags. This optimizes system operation and increases capacity by avoiding circulating empty totes.

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