ARVATO: The High Speed Solution

As well as software products, branded games consoles are amongst the fast-moving lines at the distribution centre of a worldwide logistics operator with headquarters in the Cologne-Bonn area of Germany.

During peak-periods up to 20,000 items are picked for distribution to wholesalers and retailers all over Europe. Until 2007, orders despatched on pre-sorted Euro-pallets, for collection by express couriers, were assembled manually and although the margin of picking error was small, time spent tracking down lost parcels and getting them to their destination soon mounts up.

TRANSNORM were given the task of installing an automatic sorting unit, in a limited space within an existing conveying system. An ideal job for the TRANSNORM SmartSort®, a compact high speed unit which, to the delight of the customer, was fitted easily and inconspicuously into the existing conveyor system.

The Task

 Over single or double shift periods, items have to be transported from storage to picking area and on to the despatch area, ranging from music and software CD’s weighing 150 gram, to cases weighing 35kg.With a system speed of up to 1.7 m/s, up to 3600 packages per hour can be handled. 2000 units must be pre-sorted to target lines before being despatched.

Top priority was given to reliability and low maintenance, particularly during the busy period, from September to December when the plant runs a two shift operation and any maintenance would have to be carried out during the night or at weekends.

The concept of sorting has changed…

Just a few years ago a typical sorting line comprised a number of transfer elements sited along a conveyor track, which could be seen and heard only too easily. Mechanical devices such as pneumatically or electrically driven pushers, and ploughs required a lot more space and extensive safety and security zones.Within the last few years integrated conveyor solutions such as the TRANSNORM SmartSort have won extensive market recognition.

TRANSNORM has pioneered swivel roller technology since the beginning of the 90’s. When a sorting solution was needed for game and CD distributer Arvato, TRANSNORM mechatronics specialists had immediate access to tried and tested modular systems.

Our simple solution, the TRANSNORM SmartSort® distribution conveyor, at first sight – seems unspectacular but has a quiet confidence. In action, the SmartSort has an elegant motion, sorting 2000 boxes of differing sizes per hour, with a continuous speed of 1.7m/s, smoothly distributing them without twisting or guiding with sided guides With a decibel rating of <65dB (A) measured at 1 to 1.5 m away, the SmartSort® has a noise level no higher than normal conversation.

The SmartSort® is a successful combination of performance, visual elegance and low noise operation clearly displaying TRANSNORM’s engineering competence. Our customers know that a combination of engineering excellence and informed application are key factors when making investment decisions that affect the performance of their plant and their employees

Let’s have a look at the details: the modular basis of the Smart-Sort® distribution unit consists of an TRANSNORM roller conveyor driven by a flat belt, fitted with multi-position distributing units mounted on moveable sub frames. Whilst in conventional systems, separate drives are needed for each distribution unit, SmartSort®-technology requires only 2 drives for a 10 metre long track with 5 diverts. To ensure the low noise level, swivel wheel pneumatics are mounted in a sound proof enclosure

Looking at the distribution unit from above clearly shows the modular and systematic design: roller bars are positioned to suit the exact characteristics of each parcel or case. In this example, the roller pitch is based on a parcel length of 250-720 millimetres (picture4). The same clean design solution is used in the 45 degree roller conveyors at each divert point along the main track.

In conclusion, TRANSNORM has created a high quality sorting solution – It’s only down side is that its profile, both visual and audible will make it difficult to spot!

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