Siemens Mobility Division has won an order from Itella, the Finnish Mail and Logistics Service, to equip its mail centers in Helsinki, Kuopio, Oulu and Tampere with new sorting technology. The center in each of these towns is to be equipped with a parcel and bundle sorter system (PBSS), and a tray handling system (THS) for letters and flats. It is the first time in this sector that these technologies for handling and sorting different types of mail are being combined. Siemens will be handling this order together with Interroll Automation (PBSS) and Cimcorp (THS). The total value of the order is about 50 million euros. The systems are scheduled to come into operation between the middle of 2009 and the beginning of 2011.
Tried and tested crossbelt sorter technology is being used not only to sort bundles of newspapers, magazines and letters, but also maxi letters and parcels in the parcel and bundle sorter system (PBSS). Conveyor belts are being used throughout to ensure that this very wide range of mail items is transported smoothly. The total length of the sorter systems is around 2,400 meters. To handle the higher throughputs demanded in Helsinki and Tampere, two identical sorter circuits are being built one above the other. Each sorter circuit is designed for a maximum throughput of 10,000 items per hour. Maxiletters and bundles of newspapers weighing up to 15kg are sorted through chutes directly into roll containers for the next stage of their journey. Spiral chutes are used to sort larger parcels up to one meter in length and weighing up to 35kg. The parcels are then loaded manually into Itella's special roll containers with the support of Siemens IT. A total of 676 automatic chutes, 183 manual chutes and some three kilometers of sorting and conveyor equipment are being installed. Siemens will also be supplying the address recognition equipment with manual and video coding, and OCR technology. Siemens is handling the overall order with Interroll Automation Deutschland. Interroll will supply the mechanical components for the sorters and conveyor belts, while Siemens will build the steel structure, supplying the IT and controls for the sorting and conveying systems, and handling the entire installation.
The sorting of letters and flats is also being modernized in these mail centers at the same time. Four automated tray handling systems (THS) are being installed in each mail center to handle the entire letter flow. Each of these systems is designed for a maximum throughput of 5,000 letter trays per hour. These plastic trays are then stacked on pallets, and loaded onto trucks for distribution to mail delivery offices located throughout the country. In the Kuopio and Oulu mail centers, the PBSS is being used to transport trays over sections of the routes from goods-inwards to the sorting area and back into the warehouse, where the trays are loaded onto pallets. In these sections, the PBSS is integrated into the THS as a tray sorter. On the other hand, in Helsinki and Tampere, the tray handling systems are being designed as stand-alone constructions. In these systems, so-called pop-up sorting equipment with a total length of some 6.5 kilometers is being used to sort the trays. Within the framework of the THS project, Cimcorp Oy, the Finnish partner, is responsible for handling the storage and loading of pallets, which will be realized using Cimcorp's large-area gantry robots.
A combination of technologies for sorting different types of mail items has never before been implemented in the postal sector. The close intermeshing of the technology and timing of these two logistics projects together with stage by stage installation while operations are running are presenting tough challenges. Both projects are part of Itella's major investment of 160 million euros in mail sorting facilities. Itella is investing in automation technology to increase the efficiency of its mail sorting and improve its ergonomics and quality.
Itella produces solutions for managing information and material flows. The company is active in the fields of postal communication, information logistics and logistics. The Itella Group has business activities in ten North European countries, and achieved sales of 1.688 billion euros in 2007 with circa 25,000 employees. Services are offered to corporate customers under the trade name Itella and to private customers under the name Posti.
The Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) of Siemens AG is the worldwide leading supplier of production, transportation and building technologies. With integrated hardware and software technologies as well as comprehensive Industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity and efficiency of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. The Sector consists of six divisions: Building Technologies, Industry Automation, Industry Solutions, Mobility, Drive Technologies and Osram.
With around 209,000 employees worldwide Siemens Industry achieved in fiscal 2007 total sales of approximately EUR40 billion (pro forma, unconsolidated). http://www.siemens.com/industry
The Mobility Division (Erlangen, Germany) is the internationally leading provider of transportation and logistics solutions. With its "Complete Mobility" approach, the Division is focused on networking the various modes of transportation in order to ensure the efficient transport of people and goods. Complete Mobility combines the company's competence in operations control systems for railways and traffic control systems for roadways together with solutions for airport logistics, postal automation, traction power supplies and rolling stock for mass transit, regional and mainline services, as well as forward-looking service concepts. http://www.siemens.com/mobility
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