LAC Conveyors and Automation working closely with long-standing partner Interroll have installed a full turnkey cross belt sorter system at a UK sorting facility of a leading courier provider, Skynet Worldwide Express. The vertical cross belt sorter can achieve sorting rates of 4,000 parcels per hour.
Established in 1972, Skynet Worldwide Express has grown to become the globe’s largest independently owned express courier network with over 1000 locations in 209 countries and territories. The company, which delivers everything from postcards to grand pianos, has its UK headquarters at Hounslow, adjacent to London’s Heathrow Airport. However, with a strong focus on providing the right solution through personal service, flexibility and attention to detail, the team at Hounslow found that its parcel capacity was under pressure.
The warehouse facility was originally built for storage only, but Skynet decided to install a new sorter system to keep up with increased customer demand. Here, the company turned to LAC Conveyors & Automation, an industry-leading manufacturer of conveyor and automation systems, which in turn called upon the services and solutions of Interroll.
Primarily, the sorter was installed to deal with outbound parcels for customers in Europe and Asia, and therefore the accuracy of the sort was the key differentiator. Effective space utilization was another demand set out by Skynet.
Saving space with modular cross belt sorter design
LAC reviewed three sorter types and recommended the proven capabilities of the Interroll vertical crossbelt sorter, the main feature of which is its distinctive space-saving design thanks to a compact modular approach. “For example, a width of just 1.7m is sufficient to install a vertical sorter with 400 x 400mm crossbelt carriers. This configuration can also save valuable space if full containers are transported into the sorter, which is a unique offer in the marketplace” says Steve Nuttall, Sales Manager at LAC Conveyors.
4,000 parcels per hour thanks to the cross belt sorter
Due to the limited amount of space available in the new section of the warehouse, the system had to be condensed as much as possible, but still, achieve the 4,000 parcels per hour requirement. As a result, the sorter’s chutes have all been configured to discharge on one side only as this offers the optimum space utilization. Before the sorter, a belt conveyor with index marks has been installed by LAC to ensure initial parcel gapping. Parcels are then scanned with the weight and volume of each item being collected.
Ian Gray, Sales Applications Manager, Interroll Ltd. said “The Interroll team kept LAC and Skynet informed and involved at all stages of the enquiry, offering and explaining different options to ensure the right solution was provided.
“Installed in November 2018 in time for the peak Christmas season, the new sorter has ultimately increased throughput capacity with room for future business growth.”
Lee Smith, London Operations Manager, Skynet added “Interroll and LAC have supplied a first-rate system and installation for us.
“The sorter, associated conveyors and scanning equipment have helped improve our workflow immensely and the ease at which the LAC team coordinated the installation ensured this project was delivered on time”.
The Interroll Group is the leading global provider of material handling solutions. The company was founded in 1959 and has been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange since 1997. Interroll provides system integrators and OEMs with a wide range of platform-based products and services in these categories: Rollers (conveyor rollers), Drives (motors and drives for conveyor systems), Conveyors & Sorters as well as Pallet & Carton Flow (flow storage systems).
Interroll solutions are in operation in express and postal services, e-commerce, airports, the food and beverage industry, fashion, and automotive sectors, and many other manufacturing industries. Among the company’s end users are leading brands such as Amazon, Bosch, Coca-Cola, DHL, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, Walmart and Zalando. Headquartered in Switzerland, Interroll has a global network of 32 companies with a turnover of around CHF 450.7 million and 2,100 employees (2017).
About Skynet Worldwide Express
SkyNet has become the world’s largest independently owned courier company by successfully finding bespoke solutions for hard to service destinations. It has secured the international shipping business of 3 of the top 5 UK e-retailers.
Our bespoke courier shipping solutions backed up by our smart tech are ideal for e-commerce retailers who have a desire to achieve cross border growth and require a flexible, creative, quality-driven provider.
Who we are: Founded in 1992, LAC Conveyors & Automation are a leading UK supplier who’ve been successfully supplying conveyor systems, belt conveyors, roller conveyors, automation, and robotic solutions to the UK’s blue-chip industry. Located in Bulwell, Nottingham, LAC are known for their outstanding customer service, continual support, flexibility, and bespoke service. With a full in-house service team, and an engineering team who’ve worked together over 20 years, LAC covers all aspects of control system design, build and associated software, and ongoing support.
What we do: LAC has a wealth of experience supplying conveyor systems and robotic solutions to a range of industries including automotive, aerospace, food and beverage, heavy engineering, and logistics. LAC design, assemble, incorporate testing, and deliver with training and after-sales support for a smooth handover. With an in-house mechanical design team, project managers, and engineers, all the builds are undertaken on the five-unit 60,000 sq. ft premises.