Impact of RFID physics on airport baggage handling system: A simulation study

Natarajan, Balaji
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In this thesis, the impact of RFID deployment in an airport baggage handling system is investigated in terms of their effect on effectiveness ratio, average success time, average failure time, average loops per baggage, utilization of the handheld readers, standard deviation of the success time and standard deviation of the failure time. A hypothetical baggage handling system with circulating and straight conveyor is modeled using the Arena TM Simulation package and the experimental results are analyzed via the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using the SAS® statistical analysis software.

Similar to a typical baggage handling system of an airport, the conveyors in the simulated model consist of RFID read logic and the baggage routing logic for each circulating and straight conveyor. Each conveyor in the simulated model consists of routing logic which represents the number of ways in which the baggage can reach the destined gate with an RFID reader placed at each intersection of the conveyor. Factors that determine success in identifying tags, which is known as the read rate problem, is realistically embedded in the simulation model in the form of equations that consists of power levels and tag speeds (conveyor speed). This unique feature of this study allows the model to represent realistic read rates that are less than 100%. This study demonstrates the challenge of implementing RFID technology efficiently while achieving the highest possible read rate. Thus, the proposed approach can be used as a system design tool to determine the number of readers necessary to maximize the system performance in terms of read rate.

A statistical analysis of various decision factors, their main effects and interaction effects are presented. The effect of RFID read rate using RFID physics is investigated by simulating a combination of three levels: RFID reader power (low, medium, high), tag moving speed (low, medium, high) and a number of readers (121, 145, 254) in the airport baggage handling system. The study shows that higher levels of visibility can be obtained by not always increasing the number of readers but finding an effective combination of number of readers, power level, and conveyor speed.

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airport baggage handling system, Arena Simulation, read rate issues, RFID, RFID parameters, RFID reliability
Mechanical Engineering