27 June 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, marked the grand opening of the new international section of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. Terminal 3 features Gen2 radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as part of its baggage tracking system and is the largest Gen2 installation to date in North America.

In 2004, the decision to implement this type of tracking system made McCarran one of the first airports to use RFID technology airport-wide. An RFID chip is incorporated into each bag tag produced for all of the airlines and it emits a unique signature that sensors detect to locate the tagged object. Standard barcode tags may be misread forcing bags to be hand-sorted and increases the chance of problems.

However, RFID tags can achieve read rates in excess of 99%, which allows airports to easily organise baggage loading, locate misplaced baggage and check the status of certain baggage. All in all this technology helps improve customer satisfaction, safety and reduces costs related to misplaced baggage.

Design and installation of the new baggage handling system for Terminal 3 began in 2008. Vanderlande Industries was awarded this $92 million baggage handling system, which includes approximately 30,000ft of conveyor, more than 10,000ft of catwalk, 73 high-speed diverters, 32 carousels, 20 Vertisorters and 55 over-belt RFID readers.

The initial deployment has 16 in-line screening machines with installed availability for up to 20 machines. Vanderlande worked in conjunction with Alliant Technologies to design and develop the controls for the baggage handling system.

Ian Horrigan, project manager at Vanderlande Industries, explains, "The project presented many challenges due to its large-scale and wide-spread use of 2nd generation RFID technology. The system itself was vigorously tested for many months, processing over 500,000 test bags to ensure a smooth transition to live operations on 27 June as scheduled."

After the successful opening of the international section, the domestic portion of Terminal 3 opened on July 31, with the entire project to wrap up by the middle of August.

Vanderlande Industries serves the airport baggage handling market as well as materials handling for the distribution, parcel and post markets. Baggage handling systems include self check-in, high-speed transportation, integrated hold baggage screening, baggage carousels and more. Vanderlande Industries is the fifth largest material handling supplier in the world.