The booming e-commerce market resulted in increasing volumes of parcels in the Swiss Post parcel sorting centres and therefore in the need of an expansion. In order to satisfy these and other new customer requirements, Swiss Post's subsidiary Post CH AG is upgrading and expanding the capacities of its existing parcel sorting systems. The first parcel centre to be redesigned in this way is the one at Härkingen. Without affecting day-to-day operations, a sort of 'open heart surgery' is being performed there to install a new and modern sorting system on top of the existing system.
In order to make sure that the best solution was found, the whole project commenced with a pre-concept phase that involved three system providers. The first step was to map out all the bottlenecks and other issues affecting the current system's performance. With the potential solutions proposed by the three participating companies combined with Swiss Post's own ideas led to the development of a concept that Post CH AG carried out a full simulation on and then laid down in the form of an invitation to tender. As part of the tender development process that followed and subsequent intensive discussions regarding to the technical specifications, Post CH AG and Vanderlande Industries worked closely together to further fine-tune the original concept. This in order to create a fully considered and successfully simulated system concept.
The key feature of the system expansion is Vanderlande Industries' 230-metre long CROSSORTER 1500 cross belt sorter system which the supply system feeds with parcels at nine infeed points. In order to prevent inactivity, these are then pre-sorted via twelve connecting conveyor belts according to their final destination and are finally steered back efficiently into the existing system underneath. The main advantage of the new CROSSORTER 1500 compared to the tipping-tray sorter used by the current system is the size of the loading units. The CROSSORTER 1500 also allows larger parcels to be transported and sorted using just a single loading unit. This, together with the fine-tuned concept creates a smooth parcel flow, eases the burden on the existing system and increases the total capacity to a maximum of 30,000 parcels per hour. As a result the bottlenecks that reduced performance in the current system are being eliminated with the complete system being upgraded to improve reliability and performance.
Ultimately, the very close collaboration between Post CH AG and Vanderlande Industries has meant that all the ideas and synergies provided by both partners could be successfully incorporated into the new system design. The plan is to modify the parcel sorting centre at Frauenfeld in the same way, as it is identical in construction.
The new sorting system at Härkingen is currently being installed and will be up and running by Summer 2014.
Profile of Vanderlande Industries
Vanderlande Industries is a world market leader in baggage systems, and a leading supplier of warehouse automation and sorting systems for postal- and parcel services. The company focuses on the improvement of the business processes of the clients, and their competitive position. The company aspires to a close cooperation with the client, the improvement of their logistical processes and the expansion of their logistical achievements - today, tomorrow and throughout the entire life cycle.
The high tech systems and services are geared to the realisation of fast, reliable and efficient automation solutions for warehouses, postal and parcel services and baggage-handling at airports.
In 2013, turnover increased by 31% to 741 million euros.
Vanderlande Industries, established in 1949, has more than 3,000 employees at diverse locations on every continent. More information about the company, the products and technology and the career opportunities can be found on the website: www.vanderlande.com