First tote-based baggage handling system goes live in the US with CrisBag at San Francisco Airport

The BEUMER in-tote screening system is the first of its type to be installed inside a US airport. (BEUMER)

The BEUMER Group has announced that it has installed the first tote-based Independent Carrier System (ICS) to go live in a US airport.

The CrisBag ICS is inside the recently opened Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at San Francisco Airport (SFO) and is designed for shared airline use. The manufacturer said the ICS enables 100% track and trace as each bag remains in the same tote throughout the baggage handling and integrated security screening process. The integration of an explosives detection system (EDS) makes CrisBag the first system to be certified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for in-tote baggage security screening.

The airport engaged with BEUMER when the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Project was at the architectural programming phase to enable all the stakeholders to design an optimum baggage system coordinated with the building.

The CrisBag equipment was installed and tested while the existing Terminal 1 remained in operation, supported by an interim baggage system installed by BEUMER. The consolidation to a shared use baggage system using CrisBag allows redundant routes to balance the load between the computer tomography x-ray (CTX). This has reduced the number to only seven security screening machines which are needed for baggage screening within the terminal. Prior to the redevelopment of Terminal 1, there were 15 CTX machines serving several independently airline operated and owned baggage systems.

The EDS 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. BEUMER said that with 100% track and trace there is no loss of baggage tracking and the CrisBag system reduces manual handling at the TSA’s checked baggage reconciliation area (CBRA) inspection stations. Final permission for the system to go live was given by the TSA when the integrated site acceptance test (ISAT) was received earlier this year.

The manufacturer said the layout of the CrisBag ICS has also enabled the airport to significantly reduce tug traffic. The inbound, transfer and outbound processes are handled in the CrisBag system and 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 optimises system operation and increases capacity by avoiding circulating empty totes. The reduction in tug traffic benefits the airport and can reduce emissions.

The SFO T1 redevelopment programme is scheduled for completion in 2023. BEUMER has also been awarded a contract for a new baggage handling system in Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport that will mirror that in Terminal 1.