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Qantas automates self-check-in with SICK technology

Supplier: SICK Sensor Intelligence
04 October, 2012

Fully automated self-check-in stations for baggage with SICK sensors provide Qantas passengers with a better pre-flight experience.


Qantas is the longest-running airline in the English-speaking world and the second longest-running airline worldwide. Its routes link cities in Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and South Africa with Australia. In total, Qantas flies to 140 destinations in 37 different countries. The company transports over 36 million passengers a year and aims to make those passengers as comfortable as possible at every stage of the journey.

The company has been looking for a solution to make baggage check-in quicker and stress-free so that passengers have more time to do their shopping and get to the gate before boarding. The integration partner ICM was commissioned to develop fully automated stations for checking in flight baggage. During its search for a partner to provide a complete sensor system, ICM came to SICK to make use of its many years of expertise in airport automation.


Complete sensor solution enables you to check in your own baggage and saves you fuss at the check-in desk

Shopping instead of stress at the check-in desk - Qantas is offering its passengers this option with its new bag drop system. At the fully automated self-check-in stations for flight baggage, the RFID and barcode scanners, automation light grids and laser measurement sensors from SICK offer a high level of reliability and optimum ease of use. Thanks to the bag drop system, all the Qantas frequent flyer now need is a piece of paper: the boarding stub with the seat number on it when the passenger gets on the plane.

The baggage label that used to be attached before check-in has been replaced by a permanent luggage label, an RFID-Q tag, and the boarding card has been integrated into the frequent flier card. The passenger registers with his/her frequent flier card at the check-in terminal. They then move on to the bag drop station, where the first step is to weigh the baggage. The RFID and barcode scanners then identify the baggage label. The automation light grids records the size of the baggage item. As the baggage is automatically moved away, laser measurement sensors ensure a safe hand-off to the conveyor belt system.

Customer benefits

  • An all-in-one sensor network ensures ideal integration without interface risks
  • Software parameters only have to be set for the first bag drop module and can be copied to all other stations
  • Close cooperation ensures swift implementation

ICM was able to provide all the RFID and barcode scanners, automation light grids and laser measurement sensors in a single package and knew how to optimise the parameter setting without interface risks. This ensured that the sensor technology could be integrated quickly and without disruption into the bag drop stations. Furthermore, the entire sensor and control system only had to be configured and parameterised once, making it much simpler and quicker to start up the other stations.

And what's more, ICM and SICK were able to offer their client, Qantas, a complete high-performance solution in a very short space of time: the first prototype was presented, optimized and tested successfully only three months after the project began. ICM, Qantas and SICK worked closely together to meet the tight deadline for roll-out. Perth Airport started using the first bag drop system in May 2010. It was followed by Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.