Airport / 27 March 2013

Technology isn’t the only solution

Technology isn’t the only solution

The pressure to increase efficiency in baggage handling is immense, but simply throwing technology at the process is not the solution. Of course, things like RFID, automatic loading and automatic bag drop are all important elements which make up a modern, efficient baggage handling system, but we need to start looking at processes and not just technology. I believe the future of baggage handling is the Bag Factory, an initiative that drives up efficiency by simplifying processes from the moment passengers drop off their luggage. It’s no longer enough to focus on the last piece of equipment – like a factory, we need to look end-to-end.

Take the warehousing industry; most baggage handling systems suppliers work in this area as well as airports and the similarities between the two industries are clear. Broadly speaking, check-in at an airport is like goods-in at a warehouse; bag storage compares to the storage area in a warehouse and bag loading has many characteristics of the commissioning area where goods are picked.

So how does the Bag Factory work? Well, it’s all about using one tray end-to-end. Right at check-in, luggage is loaded into a tote and stays in the tote until it reaches the loading area, even throughout the screening process. This is a much cleaner vision than using a combination of conventional belts, tilt-trays and totes.

Tracking too is easier as all bags are in RFID-tagged totes. This means routing, diverging and merging are simplified and airports achieve higher handling flexibility and safer handling, not to mention fewer jams.

And the Bag Factory idea doesn’t stop there. It allows you to get rid of trucks and dollies that transport luggage around the airport and to introduce ‘batch building’ of bags for loading onto aircraft. These are all processes which help save space and increase efficiencies. More about these in my next blogs.

Christoph Oftring

About the Author

Christoph Oftring
Christoph Oftring

For two decades, Christoph Oftring has been responsible for sales, design and project management of baggage handling system installations in a number of major international airports around the world. In this blog, Oftring looks ahead and discusses future baggage handling concepts and technologies for existing and green field airports.


Never heard of a bag factory before, but it sounds quite interesting. Especially when it comes to saving space.

Richard Taylor on
09 April 2013 at

Yes, the Bag Factory concept is a great idea. It refers to having a designated (small) area which 'manufactures' the bags to be loaded into the aircraft. The amount of space saved is significant, as modern loading device can replace 8 to 10 conventional devices. If you'd like to know more please send me your contact details and I will be delighted to talk to you in greater detail.

Christoph Oftring on
22 April 2013 at

Anyway, my point is - traveling in North America, not a user freidnly experience in general. In Europe - not too bad. I agree with this, as long as "traveling" is limited to the airports and planes... if you broaden the definition a bit, then I think North America is more user freidnly because the hotels tend to offer MUCH more for only a fraction of the cost.Internet connection, hot breakfast, refrigerator, microwave oven, cable TV in a big screen, parking place, exercise room, free local phone calls, etc., are all quite common in USA even in affordable hotels... try to get the same in Europe! (or at least in Western Europe)

Shahaporan on
28 August 2013 at

So here's the big question: What is your faviruote Eurpoean airport? And the world?I'm nowhere near as much of a traveller as you, but I'd have to say that my votes would be Schipol (Amsterdam) and Changi (Singapore).In the US the question is really what airport do you *hate*. Apart from tiny airstrips (like Muskegon Michigan) which double as airports, most US airports pretty much stink.Though, I have to say that perhaps Star Alliance doesn't treat you as well as other programs? No food, but (last year anyhow) Northwest lounges had free drinks including beer...

Haruna on
29 August 2013 at

I like the Copenhagen airport, Vienna was very nice - there are a coplue of nice ones.Airports I'm not fond of...Washington Dulles - my home airport, hate it. Slow baggage, C and D terminal food/shopping is horrible (B terminal, not bad - but I never fly out of that). The people movers - man, that is bad.And don't even ask me about the G terminal. Biggest mistake they've made there...

Jose on
29 August 2013 at

'no' and shrugged her sdlouhers. Went over to the other booth - 'No' again, carried on with her paperwork. Apparently you can't change Lithuanian money into Estonian money at the main airport in the country, a bit like not being able to change CN$ into US$ at JFK. I think Vilnius Airport must be the only institution left in Lithuania still run by the Russian Military...

Sandra on
29 August 2013 at

Bag factory ,it's a good idea. It's a concept and its aim to make factory without storage.

Eric on
23 April 2013 at

I get those in most European hotels - and that funny pants press (which rellay works nicely) too boot.Most/many hotels I stay at charge me for internet regardless (that is why I travel with my verizon aircard and skip their network).Hot breakfast is very common (although give me a "nordic" style breakfast of cheeses and fishes and cold meats any day)..refrigerator - most of them have the mini-bar :) But I don't tend to use the fridge's regardless.TV - whats that...Parking place, it is all about taxi's....Phones - I've not used a hotel phone for years, all about the mobile...I find the rooms are perhaps smaller, but big enough in Europe, the one thing that most US hotels have that they do not however is the drip coffee pot in the room! That I rellay do miss as I tend to get up, make the pot of coffee work for an hour or two and then go where I was supposed to be.

Stephany on
28 August 2013 at

I'd agree with Connor. I've flown round the world a few times and Changi airport is denlfateiy the best.The worst by far is the LA cattle pen where they hold you for four hours while your plane gets refueled when flying between UK and NZ. Thats after you've cleared customs, been shouted at, been fingerprinted, been shouted at again and then herded around by armed guards - and this is for a transiting flight!

Leo on
29 August 2013 at

>> Italy - forbidden to smoke in any open-to-public bnildiug ...I remember when Al Italia's flights went non-smoking only, back in '96 or '97. I was regularly flying from Heathrow to Rome and thought, "No point in asking for a smoking seat, then". Foolish me -- smoking continued unabated for many months afterwards, and you just had to ask for a seat in the back five (or six?) rows to get in the appropriate section.

Farhan on
29 August 2013 at

Totaly agree...a lot of the airports over there are new or reomdeled so that helps with "nice". Service-wise I guess it has nothing to do with it. Ever been to the new airport in Madrid though? Very nice, but it took us 40 minutes of walking to get from one gate to another. But the stores there are really nice. It's like being in the mall here.

Alika on
29 August 2013 at

There are so many elements involved in creating a good passenger experience and at Crisplant we believe baggage handling is a key element. That is why we work with airports to improve the way in which baggage is handled and our industry has made great advances in this area.

BEUMER Group on
30 August 2013 at

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