Royal Mail rolls out new fully automated parcel sorting machine in Chester


A new fully automated parcel sorting machine which can process 195,000 parcels per day has been installed by Royal Mail in Chester.

The parcel sorting machine is an intelligent system of conveyor belts and scanning technology that automatically sorts parcels for despatch within Royal Mail’s network.

Based in Royal Mail’s Chester Mail Centre, the parcel sorting machine uses its 267 sorting trays and 86 outlets on a continuous carousel to process up to 10,000 parcels per hour for deliveries across Chester and the rest of the UK.

Built by automated technology company Bowe Group, the parcel sorting machine - which is about the same length as six double-decker buses – can handle a variety of parcel shapes and sizes weighing up to 31kg. 

The installation is part of Royal Mail’s multi-million pound investment programme to replace significant manual sorting processes that can be both time consuming and physically demanding and help the Company meet the surge in demand for parcels and online shopping. Using parcel automation can mean that parcels are sorted up to four times more quickly than manually sorting them.

Sarah Coulson, Parcels Automation Programme Director, Royal Mail, said: “We are transforming the way Royal Mail processes parcels given the rapid growth in online shopping in recent years. Our investment in state-of the-art parcel sorting machines will help us better meet the growing demands of our customers in Chester and the rest of the UK and is a vital part of the ongoing reinvention of Royal Mail.”

Paul Ward, Managing Director, Bowe UK & Ireland, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with Royal Mail on this journey towards fully automating their sorting centres with our very latest technology. We believe our parcel sorting solution and services will enable Royal Mail to effectively meet the demands of their customers now and in the future.” 

A total of 39 Royal Mail parcel sorting machines are set to be in operation by October 2022 – nearly a 100% increase in a year. This includes installations at new hubs being built in Warrington and Daventry, which when operational, will be able to process more than 1.5million parcels per day.

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