Luggage Handling in Airports

This article was very interesting for me, to understand how the luggage handling actually works in the airports. It is a main service for us, students in different cities than our own, that we use airplanes many times in the year to go back to our homes.

Every year, more than 20 million passenger bags are mishandled, frustrating both passengers and airlines. In 2015, the airline industry spent over 2.3 billion dollars on mishandled bags alone. Luggage handling is a very complex process, making it important for airlines and airports to continuously work to improve the system. With over two billion bags carried through airports each year, it is vital to focus research to technological advancements to promote a more efficient and reliable process for travellers and airlines.

A lot of examinations made to gain an understanding of the way luggage travels through airports and research technological advancements to help the industry. To reach its final destination, luggage travels through a series of conveyors within an airport. Baggage handling systems read barcode tags, which many times are the source of many mishandling issues, as they fall off or cannot be read by scanners if they are dirty or facing the wrong direction. Many airlines are improving this specific part of the process to improve the overall system.

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The researched technologies are currently being tested and implemented by airports and airlines. Many airlines, can report less mishandled luggage numbers with the implemented technologies, a fact that shows in a way, that we can hope the problem to be basically handled in the future.

 

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Leipzig – the new capital of European logistics

Every time I make orders from Ukraine or Germany, all my parcels pass through DHL Leipzig hub. And the other day I found an article of Russian journalist that made a visit to that hub and was able to see all the process with his own eyes. So I decided to translate it and size it and share with you 🙂

Every night from the hub planes, loaded with envelopes and parcels fly to different ends of the world. Leipzig is the largest in Europe depot of DHL.

I would like to have a look at four steps through which parcels pass inside the hub in order to be delivered at a right location.

Belts and downs of conveyors

It is difficult for a person to not get confused in an aluminium forest of conveyors. That is why everything is controlled by machines; people only correct their mistakes.

Belts and downs of conveyors

Each envelope, package and box has a barcode. It is thanks to it that the parcel does not go to Austria instead of Australia. The sorting line is controlled by a superhuman mind – a computer system with its own DHL software. Overhead, the snake of the sorting line creeps along. Each pallet on it has a unique number; therefore, passing through the first scanner, the parcel receives a temporary but exact address. It is difficult to lose cargo there: the system stores information about where the number was scanned for the last time and in what part of the transport tape the parcel landed. The operator can track the parcel at any time.

 

Sorting conveyor

On the second floor, there are no people: there runs an endless conveyor belt, not continuous, but consisting of separate cells. Each cell has a number that is associated with the parcel number while the parcel is travelling along the tape to the place where it is going to be packed into a large transparent container and loaded onto the aircraft.

Floor on wheels

To work in the hub, you do not need to have the mighty power. Thanks to rollers, mounted on the floor, even women can easily move on the floor heavy containers.

floor on wheels

Attractions for parcels

On these yellow slides, the parcels roll down from the sorting belt into the hands of the conveyor operator, who brings individual parcels to large aviation containers.

attractions

For additional scanning and to the desired exit, the parcels fly down the yellow screw hill, just like in the water park. Below them, they are insured by the operators of the line. In total, a journey from the plane that brings the parcel to Leipzig, prior to its loading on the flight to the destination airport, the parcel gets into the scanning device 4 times – in order not to get lost.

 

Artificial Intelligence Thriving the Supply Chain

At the beginning of class, Jose told us that logistic is often associated with “non-adding-value” activities. I was reflecting in what sense can this be changed, and the answer was quite clear: The magic word “Artificial Intelligence”.

AI bears a huge potential, which we still are not exploiting enough, since AI is in a development stage and the current apllication is quite unspectacular.

However, in the future prospect, AI stands to transform the logistics industry into a proactive, predictive, automated and personalized branch. With the help of AI, the logistics industry will shift its operating model from reactive actions to a proactive and predictive paradigm, which will generate better insights at favourable costs in back office, operational and customer-facing activities.

In my opinion especially the decision-making process during the time a product is shipped will be possible and allow us to add value during this process. The following aims to provide an example on that idea:

AI as Decision Support System
The Supply Chain of Fresh Food

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Let’s assume:

  • We deliver oranges from Valencia to Frankfurt
  • Our truck needs 3 days in order to drive more than 1.600 km
  • We have some quality determinants of our product = The shelf life: Influenced by humidity and temperature
  • SUDDENLY our truck ends up in a traffic jam, the delivery has delay!

→ Net present value (NPV) of cargo decreases

→ Threat to deliver rotten products (we may have more rotten products than agreed on in the contract)

Solution: AI as Decision Support System

  • Use of smart devices in the trucks: Sensors which make use of IoT, they constantly measure the quality determinants and report the state. The IoT is providing us with alternatives.
  • Make an investment decision: Search for closer markets OR renegotiate with  existing customer in Frankfurt and provide them a discount of the cargo.

 

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Innovation in organ transportation, beating “heart in a box”

Since a couple of years I am a kidney patient. At this moment I have one working kidney and due to that my interest for organ transplantation grew. It can happen that in the coming years I have to undergo this technique but I was never aware about any details behind this process. Unfortunately there is still a long waiting list of not healthy people in need for organ transplantation. Finding the right organ and the possibility to get the organ in a safe and healthy way is still a very big issue which impacts the liveability of the patients. Organ transportation is a critical element of this process and a fundament for successful transplantation. But what are the developments in the world of organ transportation?

Since 1954 we already work on transplanting organs. The process hasn’t changed that much since then. fundamentally, organs still travel via coolers. The organ is removed from one human, sluiced with salt, putted in ice and sent to the other location where the other patient is waiting. This process got challenged and is about to change, based on research on the quality of organ transportation a technology innovation arose. To increase the compatibility of the organ towards their new body it needs to stay in functioning state and body temperature, also during transportation.

New devices are able to more accurately determine the health of the organ before it will be transplanted. These devices can real time monitor the health of the organ. They use a innovation called “ex vivo warm perfusion” that creates the circumstances in where an organ can stay longer outside a body. This creates a situation where organs can be delivered to way further destinations.
At this moment, regarding viability, kidneys can stay healthy and ready for transplantation with 36 hours frozen in ice. However hearts and lungs can unfortunately only stay out of the body in ice for 4 to 6 hours. These new ex vivo systems increases the amount of hours significantly.

“Beating heart in a box” proposition

This mentioned ex-vivo system brought us a new product, beating heart in a box. During transportation the box pumps warm, oxygenated and enriched blood through the heart which keeps it in working conditions. It’s a small box from maximum 1 m2 and made on wheels to ease transportation. Equipped with oxygen, blood, Batteries, and monitoring systems (humidity and temperature). Transmedics is one of the main suppliers on this new technology. And invented and produced the “heart in a box” as seen below.

heart in a box

The organ believes that it’s still in the body,” says Dr. Waleed Hassanein, president and CEO of TransMedics, the Andover, Mass.-based medical device company that’s developing the system. “The heart is beating. The lung is breathing. The liver is making bile. The kidneys are making urine.”

Because the organs are functioning during transport, doctors can monitor the organs and in some cases make them healthier, Hassanein adds. Antibiotics can be delivered to an organ to prevent or treat an infection. Clinicians can inflate sections of a donor lung that have collapsed.

So as we can see the technology is there and proven. However it is still an expensive process and obtaining all the medical certificates are the major challenges to bring this product to a majority market. Accessibility of the right organs is a big issues for patients who have to wait for a new organ. However this technology enhances the accessibility and can hopefully save life’s in the future!

 

A Brief History of the Pallet

The history of the pallet is a long and complicated one, and tied largely to the evolution of industrialization in the United States. Pallet-like platforms have been in use for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that pallets as we know them today became a staple for many industries.

It Started With A Skid

Wooden skids were the original pallet predecessor, and were made of stringers fastened to top decks. They first appeared around the same time that low-lift trucks entered the scene in the late 1880s. The lift truck could only raise skids a few inches at most and required manual help. They were clumsy and difficult, as all prototypes are, but they got the job done: they allowed workers to move piles of product too heavy for arm muscles alone.

Stacking would arrive some time later, with the arrival of bottom decks after the 1910s. By 1926, newly minted forklift trucks were able to raise pallet loads on top of one another to create space-efficient stacks. Over the next two decades, pallets were slowly refined and enhanced to resemble what we recognize today: spacers were used to ease fork placement, and bottom decks were added for stability.

The Influence of World War II

Pallet development went into overdrive in the early 1940s once wartime production and shipment intensified. Pallet manufacturers realized two things: first, that to adjust shipment standards for each naval installation wasted resources; and second, that pallets were shipping not just to other American factories, but overseas as well.

That led to an effort to standardize sizes and improve capacity. Namely, square pallets measuring 48×48” that could accommodate loads up to 15,000lb. This was a step up from the 2,000lb loads that were more common earlier. This wide scale pallet mobilization also inspired the introduction of four-way pallets and more cost-effective options intended for single-use shipments.

In an effort to regulate the global shipment of millions of pallets, the wartime era was, arguably, the strongest instance of pallet standardization the world had ever seen.

Evolution Into Modernity

Pallets played a significant role in the early 1960s labor movement, when manual laborers began to worry about the future security of their jobs. Union disputes were common, as palletizers became a crucial concern for union workers who worried about having their jobs replaced by machines. For a number of years, the future of pallet handling was thrown into question: to what extent should they be handled manually versus automatically? History, of course, found room for both.

Meanwhile, in Europe, 1961 was a landmark year. It marked the creation of the European PalletAssociation and its mission to standardize pallet use across the continent. The EPA introduced the Euro pallet as a simple four-way entry pallet that could accommodate any forklift or elevating trolley and could be used in any country by any user. The Euro pallet, impressively, is still in use today.

Pallets Today

The pallet industry, like any other, has grown larger and more complex with time: more synthetic materials, different sizes, weights, and strengths have all affected the way we view the industry and use the pallets themselves. And while the field is more scattered and industry options more varied than ever before, the past shows us that all pallet innovation has grown out of necessity. It’s not hard to imagine that the future of pallets, whatever it is, will be born out of that very same need.

HOW MY USUAL DAY GOES

Want to share with you guys my usual day routine and how we can associated with what we had had learn in class. My day might be not that interesting but keep reading if you want to find out 🙂

I usually wake up at 7:00am because I go to the gym from 8:30 to 9:30 (try to :P) and my everyday breakfast is banana oatmeal. I have a reorder point method with my oatmeal because is something I consume every day, when the oatmeal reaches this point(picture) I usually go to mercadona to buy more. Why I use this method? The holding cost of having many boxes of oatmeal would be high for me because I don’t have the available space in my food cabine for a periodic review method and Mercadona is very close to my house, so my transportation cost is low.

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In a very busy day I can say that my distribution network is a milk run strategy with a direct shipping, Before going out of the house I will consolidate all the things I need for the day including food, sportswear, school supplies, every day needed things, etc. picking is directly from the reserve areas (my room, kitchen) and then to the consolidating area (my bed) I pack everything with a full truck load(my backpack) and leve.

My First stop is the gym, the transportation cost is going to be low because of my distribution network, but it would be difficult to control all the products I need for the day, I have to get Valenbici because I have a milk run strategy with a full truck load, and Valenbici is my best option to arrive quickly to my first destination.

Later after the gym, I get a shower and go to the library, here we usually get a study room and I notice that every book has their own identification, not necessary from GS1, but having identified each book can improve their inventory controls.

A 2:00 we take a break of studying and go for lunch, sometimes I’m in the mood for a salad in school, the queue sometimes are very long, but they grow due to variability and not disappear due to utilization.

After lunch, I usually go back to my warehouse to reload the truck, this time I only need less than a truck load because I have left only one more delivery of the day.

Later, I go to El Saler and pick up a girl I’m babysitting, here the picking process of the kids is like Amazon’s warehouse, the kids pick you. There are so many kids that their parents usually stay in their meeting point and the kids finds them, this way is more easies, like Amazon drone Warehouse (otherwise it would be impossible to find my kid XD)

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Finally, I get back home around 21:00, usually have to get Valenbici, but it’s impossible to find a parking space at that hour, Even though the information flow of Valenbici is quite good, because technologies like their app, are able to communicate the final consumer their availability or parking in real time.

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My route layout

 

That’s my usual Monday to Thursday day routine, thinking about it, we can find logistics in everything, it’s very interesting, didn’t notice it before..hope you guys enjoy it 🙂  

Martian logistics, because colonizing new planets is not all fun and games

Today while eating the merienda (remember guys, eating five times a day is important for a healthy life) I saw a chapter of Big Band Theory about Sheldon Cooper applying to a Mars colonization project. It made me think about how the Mars colonization would be. Humankind has dreamt on colonizing mars since decades ago, but it always seemed imposible til now, when we start to consider it not only as a possibility, but as a must… So, how would it be?

First of all, why should we go to Mars? A colony without a purpose would be senseless. Obviously an initial investment that will be basically without financial return would be needed, but this dependency on subventions cannot last forever; “donors” (states, entrepreneurs, philanthropic funds) would agree to bear the project only if it should lead to an entrepreneurial venture capable of ensuring its functioning independently.

MarsColonyStruct
This is how would look the habitations and greenhouses zones of the colony

An economic analysis of a colony, in order to be set within a framework as realistic as possible, had to be developed upon a scenario addressing, by priority, the following selection criteria:

  • Supplying products or services which would be specifically Martian, so as to mitigate competition from other locations (including terrestrial ones).
  • Discarding exports involving interplanetary transport of bulky masses (metals, semi-finished products), unless their value justifies the cost of travel (paying passengers, possibly some rare metals).

But this would only be the beginning of the problem. How would the habitants live?Which initial investment would be needed? How could we achieve a profitable operation over the long run? Which would be the cost of transfer of passengers to Mars? Could the colony comercialize Mars tourism?

All this questions, and far more, are answered in this interesting article, where a very detailed model of how the economy and the supply logistics of a martian proto-colony would operate is shown. The article is really worth the read, not only to the scienfiction nerds like me, but to everyone interested in logistics.

We know how logistics work on Earth, but, what about Mars?