Royal Mail installs automated sorter at Southampton depot

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Royal Mail has installed a fully automated parcel sorting machine in its Southampton Mail Centre in the UK.

Built by automated technology company Solystic, the parcel sorting machine has been designed to handle a variety of parcel shapes and sizes weighing up to 20kg. The machine is an intelligent system of conveyor belts and scanning technology that can automatically process 157,000 parcels per day for dispatch within Royal Mail’s network. This works out to a rate of 7,500 parcels per hour to local delivery offices across the south of the UK and the rest of the country.

The installation is part of Royal Mail’s multi-million-pound investment program to replace physically demanding manual sorting processes with automation and meet the surge in demand for parcels and online shopping. A total of 39 Royal Mail parcel sorting machines are set to be in operation by October 2022. This includes installations at new UK hubs being built in Warrington and Daventry, which are expected to be able to process more than 1.5 million parcels per day.

By March 2022, Royal Mail had automated 50% of its parcel processes – up from 33% last year. The company is aiming to reach its overall target of 90% parcel automation by 2023-24. According to Royal Mail, using parcel automation can mean that parcels are sorted up to four times more quickly than manually sorting them.

Sarah Coulson, parcels automation program director at Royal Mail, said, “We are transforming the way Royal Mail processes parcels given the rapid growth in online shopping in recent years. Our investment in state-of-the-art parcel sorting machines will help us better meet the growing demands of our customers in Southampton and the rest of the UK and is a vital part of the ongoing reinvention of Royal Mail.”

Paul Holmes, MP for Eastleigh, said, “I was delighted to visit Southampton Mail Centre and see the new state-of-the-art parcel sorting machine, which can handle 157,000 parcels per day. This is welcome investment by Royal Mail, and one that will serve many of my constituents and businesses who rely on efficient and worry-free parcel handling as part of their daily lives.”

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