Packed and sorted

23 October 2023

AN ECOMM retailer has upgraded its packing and sortation system to meet increasing levels of consumer demand.

Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) designed and installed a multi-stage, high-speed crossbelt system which assisted the company in sorting and packing over 180,000 orders a day.  The retailer in the North West of England processes online orders at a rate of 7500 items per hour. 

The project involved handling a very diverse range of products such as cartons, cardboard envelopes, polybags and jiffy bags. All of these items were to be processed by 120 operators on a 24-hour shift basis so all upgrades had to be completed without fault and with minimal downtime.

To meet this challenge CSL worked with its customer to design a sortation system that featured eight product packing lanes, each outfitted with 15 packing benches. Packed products from each of these lanes were then transferred onto the main transit line using multi-speed metering belts and mitre belt merges.

The main transit line weaved its way through the building, taking a 90-degree turn before ascending to a height in excess of 2500mm. This arrangement allowed for operator movement beneath the system, maximising the efficiency of the flow of people and products.

Upon reaching the higher level, each product underwent scanning through a SICK scanner array. The relevant information was relayed to and from a cloud-based server, providing CSL with a precise destination lane for each item.

The packages were subsequently indexed via a multi-stage belt system onto a high-speed vertical cross belt sorter. This sorter housed 44 destination chutes, including a run-out chute for barcode misreads and orders requiring special attention.

Using the sorter’s control system, the customer could assign a specific sort location to a dedicated chute. Each chute was fitted with an indicator beacon, which notified the operator about the chute’s status. If a chute reached 75% or even 100% capacity, the system could automatically redirect packages to a previously selected destination.

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