Airport Logistics

Queue Conveyor Design from a Gearmotor Perspective

Rintaro Takasu, Application Engineer

The events of 9/11 and other terrorist threats have caused governing bodies around the world to heighten air-travel related security. In the United States, every piece of baggage that is checked-in at an airport is required by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act to be inspected for prohibited and hazardous materials by an Explosive Detection System (EDS) machine or by an alternative method. EDS machines utilize X-ray technology to inspect and detect explosive materials in baggage. In many airports, the baggage is checked-in at the airline’s ticketing and check-in counter, and then travels through a conveyor system through the baggage hall for inspection and delivery to the appropriate aircraft.

Depending on the configuration of the airport’s checked baggage inspection system, the EDS can be of the inline type, where the EDS machine is integrated into the conveyor system; or the EDS machine can be of the standalone type, where the EDS machine is separate from the conveyor system. Typically in larger airports,which require higher baggage throughput, inline EDS machines are used.

The Queue Conveyor is a relatively short conveyor that transfers the baggage that travels from the check-in counter via the conveyor system to the EDS machine. Because baggage is introduced to the handling process once a bag is checked-in by the passenger at the airline check-in counter, the spacing of the bags is typically non-uniform.  However, an EDS machine requires the bags to be fed uniformly and at a designated rate. Therefore, the primary function of the Queue Conveyor is to control the baggage flow into the EDS machine.  In order to do so, the Queue Conveyor is required to start and stop with high frequency.

As EDS machine manufacturers develop faster and more accurate products, the primary driver of the Queue Conveyor must be able to operate under the increasingly demanding operating conditions of frequent starting and stopping.  The selection of the primary driver of the Queue Conveyor is dependent on multiple criteria, including dimensional requirements and durability characteristics.

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