Market leading express delivery company, TNT Express, provide nationwide on-demand collection and time-sensitive delivery services throughout the UK mainland and Northern Ireland. The process is primarily overnight: parcels are collected on day one, sorted at a central Parcel Distribution Centre (PDC) that night and are tendered for delivery the next working day.
The PDC is therefore an essential part of TNT’s operation. The End of Sort (EOS) is a critical key performance indicator and is defined as the time when the last parcels for next day delivery have been loaded onto outgoing trailers, which in turn ensures that the network’s primary key performance indicator, the Delivered on Time success rate, is maintained.
At the existing PDC at Atherstone, UK, parcels were previously manually encoded by keying a two digit delivery depot code. This was time consuming and open to user error. Recent enhancements allowed limited tests of automated encoding systems utilising hand-held scanners to read the appropriate bar code labels. These tests yielded such positive results that TNT decided to take the opportunity to introduce the latest automated encoding systems to their second national sortation facility at Kingsbury, developed to accommodate demand and now the largest TNT hub in Europe.
After a long series of competitive tests, which included a head-to-head trial installation, Datalogic was selected as the preferred supplier for the automatic reading stations at the TNT Kingsbury Parcel Distribution Centre.
THE DATALOGIC SOLUTION
The choice of the right bar code readers is fundamental for the complete success of automated sorting systems, because the entire sorting process is based on the performance of the bar code readers. The read rate must be extremely high, because all non-identified parcels must be read manually, therefore increasing running costs and slowing the system down.
Datalogic’s solution was the installation of 8 reading stations in the Kingsbury Hub, each made up of 6 DS8100 scanners in cross positioning for omni-directional reading combined with an SC8000 system controller.
Due to the modular design of the stations, utilising individual scanning heads – which was seen as a major benefit by TNT Express – the scanners are able to read the codes presented in any orientation, on three faces of the parcel. This design not only facilitates future possible station upgrades but also offers ease of maintenance.
Commented David Baines, Project Manager, Network Development for TNT, “The trial installations proved that TNT would receive a high read rate performance from the Datalogic solution. Furthermore, it became clear that we would gain added benefits from having more flexibility in the actual positioning of the individual DS8100s.”
“The success of the installation at the Kingsbury Hub was largely due to the close working partnership between Datalogic and TNT,” said John Cowper, Datalogic’s Account Manager in charge of the TNT project. He continued, “We were able to offer full pre- and post-sales support throughout the project and will continue to work with TNT on further enhancements and upgrades, both at Kingsbury Hub and other TNT sites”. Through Datalogic’s automatic identification solution, TNT can offer its customers a service of the highest level of quality and reliability.
DATALOGIC’S DS8100 HIGH PERFORMANCE LASER SCANNER
Datalogic patented technologies, innovations and top performance are the main features of the DS8100, the most powerful bar code reader on the market. Using the knowledge and experience gained from thousands of installations, Datalogic has developed a fully integrated and compact solution featuring ACRâ„¢ 2nd generation bar code image reconstruction, ASTRAâ„¢ (Automatically SwiTched Reading Area) allowing the largest depth of field on the market with no mechanical autofocus and PackTrackâ„¢ reducing up to only 50mm the minimum required parcel gap in omni-directional reading applications.
DATALOGIC’S SC8000 SYSTEM CONTROLLER
The SC8000 system controller satisfies all the needs of applications in the logistics field: the collection of a large amount of data in a very short time, the elaboration of this information in real time, the transmission of the data through very high speed channels and the provision of a user friendly interface. The SC8000 is fitted with specialised hardware and software to collect data from Datalogic bar code readers at 1.25 Mb/second. The standard hardware and software program executes specialised programs for real time elaboration or any kind of DOS compatible software programs.Each reading station is made up of 6 DS8100 scanners in cross positioning for omni-directional reading.