New Hermes hub in Ohrdruf can sort 5500 large parcels per hour

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When scientists measure the response time between the appearance of an image and the time when a person starts to talk, it generally takes approx. 600 milliseconds. In other words, the time needed between thought and speech is around two thirds of a second.

This is precisely the length of time it takes for the new transhipment centre (hub) manufactured by the logistics company Hermes in Ohrdruf to sort a parcel. This is equivalent to 5500 parcels  (one large parcel  every 2/3 of a second) per hour.

With the hub in Ohrdruf Hermes is expanding its existing logistics network to include a sixth transhipment centre. The other centres are in Altenkunstadt, Friedewald, Haldensleben, Hckelhoven and Langenhagen.

Ohrdruf is right in the middle of Germany, making it an almost ideal location from a logistics perspective. Moreover, its proximity to the central Friedewald hub offers a further important advantage as regards location.

Hermes invested 14 million Euros in the new hub, which was integrated into the existing Hermes Fulfilment GmbH logistics centre. In Ohrdruf, both the Hermes parent company, Otto, and other clients tranship bulky items such as furniture and carpets.

The logistics centre and the hub combined comprise a total area of 238,000 m" and for the hub alone this area has 300 locations for swap bodies  and 73 doors for loading and unloading.

Inside, the ultra-modern material handling and sorting technology of Vanderlande Industries guarantees that parcels are sorted perfectly. With the current concept, two shoe sorters operated in a recirculation system reliably process the 5,500 large parcels per hour at a speed of 2.2 m/s.

A pallet conveyor system was also installed for marshalling - shipments of goods at the relevant loading positions.

The entire sorting facility is a circulation system in which two POSISORTERS are connected in series, and it is installed on a platform with adjustable height levels.

A merge conveyor on which the large parcels  unloaded from pallets are merged is located between the two POSISORTERS. A further merge conveyor is installed in the return flow on the opposite side. It is used to merge eight incoming goods lines coming from the doors. Depending on the length of the parcel, adequate space is reserved for the consignment on the take-away conveyor.

The POSISORTER distributes the cartons with the aid of the divert shoes which can glide to the right and left over the sorter. At the discharge points, switch points are activated and a group of sorting shoes push the products smoothly to the relevant exit.

There is a total of 70 outputs, 52 of which consist of a straight roller and a connected telescopic conveyor which can be used to load the truck or swap body directly. 

On the opposite side there are two groups, each consisting of nine spiral chutes. The products routed to this point are loaded into roll cages or onto pallets and then brought to despatch.

Calibrated volume measurement of all shipments facilitates a determination of the transport capacity and environmentally friendly utilisation of the Hermes fleet.

The Hermes Logistics Group in Germany officially launched the hub on 28 October 2011 in the presence of high-ranking guests from the world of politics and science. After a construction period of only six months, the new centre was successfully commissioned in September 2011.

In a possible expansion of the system, the two POSISORTERS can be separated so that each will have its own circulation system. This would mean that the incoming goods lines and the pallet unloading stations would be fitted with  vertical conveyors in order to decide which of the two circulation systems the particular parcel  should be brought to. With this variant, it would be possible to realise an output of 8,400 parcels  per hour. This is equivalent to a time of around 0.43 seconds per parcel.

Even the scientists mentioned at the beginning are left speechless at this unbelievably short time.


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