MultiPick has a long and successful record of automated buffer storage and order picking in the food & beverage and tire industries. With the first MultiPick system for mail sorting now installed, MultiPick’s efficiency benefits are now also being enjoyed in the postal sector.
As the growth in digital media continues to put pressure on postal services to provide fast and reliable deliveries at a competitive cost, Cimcorp believes that MultiPick will become a key tool to help mail companies to meet this objective.
Efficient buffer storage
MultiPick operates as a buffer storage area between mail acceptance and the sorting machines, as well as between the sorting machines and dispatch. Using an overhead gantry, MultiPick robots operate over large floor areas or mezzanines, handling mail in trays which are stacked directly on the floor. Normally, trays arriving from the mail acceptance area are taken directly to the sorting areas. If, however, incoming mail is not immediately required by the sorting machines or the manual sorting areas, the trays are transferred to the MultiPick buffer storage area. As soon as trays are needed, the sorting areas ‘pull’ them from the buffer store on demand.
MultiPick robots sort the trays into stacks according to characteristics such as type (sorted or unsorted), class (first or second) and destination (sorting centers or zip code). Trays return to the MultiPick area after the first sorting stage (outward sorting, to other sorting centers) and the second sorting stage (inward sorting, for the local area).
The MultiPick system can handle trays arriving in any order, arranging them in stacks according to dispatch sequence. The destination-specific stacks are ready to be loaded into transport units. When a vehicle load of mail is ready for dispatch, a MultiPick robot transfers the trays to roll containers or dollies, which are wheeled to a marshaling area or directly into the delivery vehicle.
Cimcorp’s MultiPick solution secures a number of key benefits:
• Increased sorting capacity
MultiPick can sequence trays into larger batches for the sorting machines, allowing them to run for longer periods with the same set-up. This enhances the availability of the sorting machines, increasing overall sorting capacity.
• Improved system throughput
By supplying larger batches of mail to the sorting areas, combined with intelligent production planning by the customer, MultiPick can receive back larger batches for storage. This improves the handling capacity of the robots, which is especially beneficial in the time-critical final sweeping of first class mail.
• Enhanced handling of peaks
MultiPick works flexibly to meet demand. The robots store unsequenced stacks of trays until they are needed, relieving pressure on the conveyor system. Once peaks have been cleared, MultiPick can return to sequencing trays, ready for further processing.
• Better use of space
The MultiPick solution allows storage and sequencing operations to take place in the same area, with storage of trays in stacks ensuring optimum space utilization. Floor-based storage allows easy cleaning and maintenance when required, as well as manual access to all trays in the event of malfunction.
• Fast vehicle loading
Sorting and sequencing of stacks in the MultiPick area means that mail required for dispatch can be retrieved from storage and loaded into delivery vehicles rapidly, enabling postal operators to meet their tight loading windows.