How Airlines Get Your Stuff To You (Control Touch Systems Inc.)

When you travel, your bags go with you — and airlines have to get it there. This, and the rapid growth of companies like Amazon and Zappos, has caused an upsurge in the demand for distribution centers that use material handling systems that receive and move purchased products from the factory to individual consumers.  

The presenters will discuss the design and implementation of the distributed control systems that are used to manage large, conveyor-based, material handling systems. An example of the requirements definition and design of a typical conveyor-based Baggage Handling System (BHS) will be presented. Design tradeoffs, the development of industrial control panels, and the software and components that are used to control the BHS will be described.  

There is a shortage of engineers with appropriate design and integration experience in the material handling industry. The presenters will also discuss the Speed School co-op program as one approach augment the undergraduate engineering curriculum that can mitigate this problem.


Dr. Andy Dozier has worked in electronic system development and project management for over 30 years.  After receiving his PhD from Vanderbilt University in 1974, he started as a materials and process engineer at the TRW Electronics and Defense Systems Group in Redondo Beach, California.  In 1998, he embarked on a different career path teaching networking and communications, project management, and capstone design courses in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Vanderbilt.  Dr. Dozier joined the faculty of the ECE department of the Speed School in 2009 as a term professor.  In 2013, he was hired by Louisville-based Control Touch Systems Inc. as a senior project manager.  He is currently one of the project managers on a BHS controls project for the Las Vegas Airport.

Mr. Todd Schum is the head of the Design Engineering Group at Control Touch Systems.  Todd graduated from the Speed School in the early 1990s after pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering.  He has been with Control Touch for the past 12 years.  Todd manages the design of the control systems for all of Control Touch’s projects.  He has also supervised a number of Speed School co-ops over the past 10 years.