Sorting 2.5 million parcels per night at UPS Worldport
- Throughput of 209,000 parcels per hour
- On-the-fly rerouting allows maximum flexibility
- Shortest possible aircraft turnaround times
- Full redundancy and highest system availability
- Accurate sorting and high flexibility
UPS built the world’s largest air hub at Louisville International Airport with a capacity of over 209,000 parcels per hour, enabling UPS to provide a worldwide air parcel service. The Worldport centre receives, sorts and despatches from 1 to 2.6 million parcels a day. Transportation is handled by 80 to 120 flights per day, as well as by road freight.
A key element of the project was the integration of the new sorting phases by Vanderlande Industries. “Our sorting process had to continue without interruption while the new systems were installed – a task that was like performing open-heart surgery while the patient was awake”, comments Jim Zimmer, UPS Project Engineering Manager.
Over a period of four years an impressive system was implemented that included 64 kilometres of conveyors, 76 POSISORTERS, 174 VERTISORTERS and 11,500 drives. Everything was delivered on-schedule and below budget. Out of more than 1,800,000 working hours, the final count shows there was “no lost time due to incidents”.
Incoming parcels are sorted in three stages:
- Preliminary sorting by VERTISORTERS and POSISORTERS
- Primary sorting in one of five matrices by POSISORTERS in the core building
- Final sorting by POSISORTERS in the wings
Parcels are tracked by cameras at every stage of the sorting process. They are also automatically weighed, measured and registered. The cameras read machine-readable labels, with incomplete data images either sent for remote human operators to complete (video coding) or manual parcel processing and relabelling in a dedicated area. Import and export parcels are sorted to a dedicated area for special inspection. All exceptional parcels return to the matrices to be sorted to their final destinations.