FEIG Electronics introduces solution for airport baggage handling
FEIG Electronics, a leading global supplier of radio frequency identification (RFID) readers and antennas with fifty years of experience, today announced its ECCO+ RFID/Barcode Scannerfrom its PANMOBIL mobile product line approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for airport baggage tracking.
According to the SITA Baggage Report 2017, for every 1,000 passengers, exactly 5.73 pieces of baggage were lost. This corresponded to 26 million pieces of baggage being reported missing in airports throughout the world. Ninety-five percent of this baggage was located within 48 hours and returned to its owners with a delay, 5% were regarded as having been completely lost. The affected airlines were required to spend $2.1 billion US dollars to reunite passengers with their lost baggage or to pay compensation for baggage that could no longer be found.
Effective June 1st 2018, the new IATA-Resolution 753 encourages airlines to track the baggage at four major baggage stations to enable baggage errors to be detected early. The four tracking stations of the individual baggage items include: at check-in, when being loaded into the aircraft at the departure airport, when being fed into the baggage-transfer traffic, and when being unloaded from the aircraft at the end destination.
“The ECCO+ is a fundamentaltechnology for airlines to meet the ITTA Resolution 753 because it’s a hybrid barcode/RFID mobile device that enables transition from barcode to RFID without requiring expensive infrastructure updates and major process and IT changes,” said Andreas Binder, Sales Manager of Panmobil products at FEIG ELECTRONIC. The ECCO+ solution has already been deployed by one of the biggest airlines in the United States and is currently deployed in 58 countries for the past two years in compliance with the globally approved International Air Transport Association (IATA) Resolution 753 to improve baggage tracking.”
The RFID technology (Radio Frequency Identification) is a fundamentally important piece of technology for implementing the IATA Resolution 753 because it offers significant advantages compared to barcodes. RFID technology can identify and assign the transponders integrated into the baggage tags from large distances. RFID also offers added benefits in terms of speed, accuracy, and memory sizes. In addition, information can be added to the RFID tag at different stations; with only barcode technology the entire baggage tag would have to be replaced and reissued to modify its data content. If a passenger misses their connecting flight, the airline can see in real-time exactly where that specific piece of baggage is located, send the updated data to the tag and redirect it using RFID technology.
The ECCO+ hybrid barcode/RFID scanner is the fastest and most cost-effective way to progress from barcodes to RFID. The investment in this hybrid solution only requires a fraction of the costs that would otherwise be involved in the transition. For instance, existing hardware can continue to be used and the switch-over can take place without any further additional system or software-related expenditure. Initially, the luggage tags will continue to be printed using the printers already in place. The luggage tag is held under the ECCO+ barcode/RFID scanner located next to the printer, which reads the barcode as it’s dispensed from the printer andencodes the same information in the RFID transponder in accordance with the IATA process.
In addition to the 1D laser scanner and the RFID UHF writing/reading unit, the ECCO+ device is also available with a 1D/2D imager or HF RFID module. Two high capacity batteries ensure long operation without the need for intermediate charging. Communication can be through Bluetooth®,WiFi 802.11b/g or USB. Four clearly structured, freely programmable buttons and exchangeable front cover for individual labeling make it unique and self-explanatory.
Advantages of the solution at a glance:
- The mobile device is installed at the check-in counter to read the barcode and encode that data RFID. No adaptations to the existing infrastructure are required!
- Airline’s existing equipment will continue to be used completely.
- The solution is mobile and is available where and when it is needed.
- The barcode processing system can continue to be used unchanged.
- The information contained on the baggage tags is read-out and saved on the RFID transponder in the same banderol.
- The coexistence of barcodes and RFID allows the most modern technology to be used for baggage handling and for check-in.
- Parallel use of barcodes and RFID technology makes it possible to use for all commonly-used luggage tags.
FEIG’s portfolio of RFID UHF writing/reading devices is particularly suitable for tracking during loading and transport. They achieve a reading range of up to 52 feet (16 meters) and so make it possible to set-up an entrance and exit gate using several UHF antennas in order to be able to identify a larger number of tagged baggage pieces at the same time.