The Coolest Baggage Merge Ever

Many people may not know this, but I’m some kind of airport baggage conveyor system controls expert. The coolest stuff I’ve done has been with the merges in these systems. Today, after weeks of work and several iterations and ideas, me and the other guys I’ve been working with finally came up with a working solution that combines nearly every merge feature I’ve ever seen in one single place. Here is a video of one of our test runs today:


The incoming mainline has 5 tubs on it, they are upside down. The merge on the left has 8 tubs, and the two on the right have 2 tubs each. The control system attempts to balance the load, so the merge with 8 bags is given more urgency than the merges with only 2 bags. This merge uses non-fixed spacing, to adapt to whatever bags are traveling in from the mainline upstream, so the spacing never looks perfect. It also will use actual merge bag spacing, but right now we have this one set to use preset large values.

Merge on the fly (doesn’t stop merge bag unless required)
Merge reservations (guarantees a merge space)
Merge reservation seeker (speeds up reservation process by searching for space on moving belt)
Real-time non-fixed window size (adapts to bag spacing of incoming bags, without requiring queue spaces or stopping of incoming bags)
Actual merge bag length windows (only uses space required to merge bag)
Adapts to upstream volume (measures incoming volume and adjusts for it)
Adapts to downstream volume (will restrict volume based on downstream system)
Regulates merge volume
Balances load between volume (will empty out based on urgency)
Not dependent on geometry, photo sensor placement, or spacing between merges.
Maximum Performance (under non-volume regulated conditions) – fills every available space, and only uses space needed
Integrates with system-wide volume control/load balancing system

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11 Responses to The Coolest Baggage Merge Ever

  1. David C says:

    WOW! I can’t contain my excitement!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Nancy S. says:

    Well, it didn’t impress the Lego engineers here at our house. I am sure it is some good work though. :)

  3. BigKen says:

    Now, can you design a system such as this, and apply it to the Interstate and state highway systems of America?

  4. Matt says:

    Do you and your coworkers walk across the tarmac on your way to work with slicked back hair, wearing flight suits and give each other high fives in Top Gun style while saying: “I feel the urge. The urge to merge!!”? You should get that on video as well.

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    you are now one with the conveyor. you feel the force :):)

  6. Jonathan says:

    Thanks to your video, I just realized something.

    All this time, I have blamed the airlines for my luggage ending up on the wrong flight. But the airlines don’t design and build their baggage systems, do they Brian? No, it’s a geeky engineer who grows vegetables in his backyard.

    Now I know who to file a claim with.

  7. Brian says:

    Wow, thanks for all the comments! :)

  8. Phil G says:

    Pretty cool. I guess you have to be a gEEk in order to appreciate this.

  9. Jeff Hebert says:

    yep that would be brian!!! now we know who to blame for lost luggage and damage ones…hehehe

  10. Steve says:

    That is slick! Congrats!

  11. David C says:

    regarding matt’s comment,

    I think its more like this: They get towed across the tarmac on their little cart with their hair looking like waldo. Brown haggar slacks, cream colored dress shirt, a tie, thick black framed glasses, and dont forget the pocket protector full of pencils, pens, and tweaker screwdrivers. Oh yeah, and a slide rule in a leather belt holster.

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