POSTED: 21st April 2009

When the going gets tough, BCS steps up another notch

A New Zealand company that’s making a worldwide name for itself with technology that ensures your luggage arrives with you at the right destination, clinching deals worth more than $50 million in the past year, has won an installation contract for the new Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Gold Coast International Airport in Australia.

The win for the BCS Group comes hard on the heels of a five year, $50 million contract with Melbourne Airport, a major project for the Brisbane International Airport terminal expansion and a new logistics system for Courier Post in Auckland.

The latest coup coincides with the mid-point of a $2 million research and development project which has received investment of $700,000 from TechNZ, the business investment programme of the Foundation? for Research, Science and Technology. The Virtual Plant project reduces risk by using sophisticated simulation and emulation of automation design before installation. It reduces testing and commission time and significantly reduce costs.

All major airports in Australia and New Zealand have some form of BCS system as an integral part of their operations. BCS equipments is also an integral part of freight and baggage tracking operations in many airports globally including US, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, India, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

While many companies are battening down the hatches as a result of the global financial crisis, BCS is pumping resources into its Centre of Excellence at the company's Albany, Auckland, headquarters, to help create innovative products and also assist in propelling it into new areas of business.

"New ideas are critical to the company's future success and without R&D we cannot develop innovation," says CEO Patrick Teo.

The company has a dedicated team of eight staff working full time on Virtual Plant, the company's biggest R&D project yet. It extends BCS existing expertise gained through development of its Airflow Virtual Airport technology which demonstrates real time baggage or freight loadings ahead of onsite installation, reducing commissioning time by up to 80 per cent.

The Virtual Plant technology is opening up new opportunities for BSC in other industries such as meat and dairy processing, appliance manufacturing, warehousing, materials handling and food and beverage sector.

While the Foundation is contributing financially to the company's latest R&D, Mr Teo says it has also been instrumental in introducing BCS to radio frequency identification (RFID) start-up company Times-7. This relationship has assisted BCS to develop a true turnkey baggage handling solution. BCS has incorporated Times-7's unique and lightweight antenna technology into its automated baggage handling systems. The technology involves novel antennas and RFID readers and labels that deliver greater accuracy in identifying luggage correctly.

"The Foundation has been an incredible support and a wealth of information source for the company," says Mr Teo.

Lost luggage costs the international airline industry around US$3 billion annually, says Times-7 CEO Antony Dixon, whose company has also developed equipment to record finishing times of cyclists in major events such as the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

Foundation Business Manager Tom McLeod says the clever technologies developed by both BCS and Times-7 are an excellent example of what New Zealand companies can achieve by constantly innovating which gives them the confidence to compete against much bigger global players.  

- Article appeared 21st April 2009, Foundation for Research Science & Technology website


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