Santa’s reliable helper

E-commerce makes shopping for gifts very easy. And this year experts predict that people will be ordering more holiday items online than ever before. That equals a lot of bulk deliveries of items to sorting centers. With Siemens Visicon, these parcels get on their way quickly.

 

Ever peered into a package delivery truck and wondered what was in all those parcels – especially around the holidays? Statistics show that fashion articles top off the list. The likelihood is high that that rectangular box contains a new pair of sneakers, and in that bag is someone’s brand new t-shirt. Next on the list of most commonly ordered items are tech products, which could be anything from a computer to smart speakers to wireless earpods. Second-hand items come third.

No doubt about it, e-commerce is booming. Market and consumer data specialist Statista reports that online purchases account for just over 14 percent of all global retail sales. By 2023, that figure is expected to reach 22 percent. The numbers may be rising steadily, but the parcel business is still subject to bouts of peak activity. Traditionally, that has been the time preceding the year-end holidays.

This year, however, online retailers are doing brisk business during pandemic restrictions and lockdowns. In Australia, parcels volumes doubled in the first four weeks of the crisis. Until life goes back to normal, around a third of consumers say they will be avoiding brick-and-mortar stores. No matter whether a parcel contains holiday gifts or essentials like over-the-counter medicines – all consignments have to be processed as quickly as possible. With today’s volumes, there is no time for parcel operators to take a breather. Because more parcels are certain to be on the way tomorrow.

 

One after the other and neatly aligned

E-commerce parcels start their journey in a sorting center usually as part of a bulk. After unloading and delayering, the bulk streams have to be singulated, that is, arranged in an orderly row, one after the other, before the parcels can be scanned, weighed and sorted. Singulation is a complex process step, requiring high accuracy. With the rising volumes, the task is becoming increasingly challenging. Visicon from Siemens gets the job done fully automatically.

Visicon creates a continuous flow of singulated parcels, using the smallest footprint. Parcels in any packaging – whether boxes, bags or envelopes – are identified by an AI-based vision system, aligned and spaced. What’s more, Visicon can easily handle a wide range of weights, from a 100-gram chocolate Santa to a mysterious 50-kilogram item.

Fast delivery for happy customers

Thanks to Visicon, parcels are quickly prepared for individual processing or sorting. Considering the already high and growing volumes worldwide, reliable automatic singulation becomes crucial in the sorting process. Because when parcels are properly singulated, the subsequent steps in the process chain can be carried out efficiently.

The holidays are getting closer. And whether you’ve ordered a box of books or the newest must-have toy, you and all online customers want the same thing – to get purchases sooner rather than later. With Visicon and its reliable singulation of bulk streams, presents are off to a good start to fulfill those holiday wishes. You’re all set, Santa – now it’s up to you!

 

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