Automation and Controls – Q&A with Communisis

Conveyor Networks designed and installed a bespoke automation and controls system to transport totes containing bank statements to a Pitney Bowes Vantage Mail sortation device.

The totes are placed manually onto 13 infeed conveyors and a control system looks for a gap on the main conveyor moving the totes forward when required.  The system was handed over in December 2015.

Warehouse Conveyors at Communisis

Steve Grange, HSE Manager at Communisis looks at the operation 15 months after it was handed over.

How reliable has the system been?

Very reliable we haven’t had any issues or breakdowns.  We do all our servicing in-house but to date have just had to do basic maintenance without the need to replace any parts.

Has it improved throughput?

Definitely,  throughput is now 120,000 totes per month (in excess of 25 million envelopes) and the uplift in productivity is 8% against our metric of packs per manned hourThe extra capacity we’ve gained from the automation has allowed us to take on more business, in fact this site has just won a major contract with a new client.

Have there been any other differences to the way you work?

Having an automated system in place has enabled us to improve our Health and Safety record. During the 15 months we’ve had no slips, falls or trips.

We’ve also been able to improve the site layout – the conveyors give us a much more organised design and when we do our daily standards tours it’s much easier to check that everything is in the right place and that the correct standards are being followed.

Warehouse roller conveyor with totes

When do you expect to see a return on the project costs?

We have done already! The project has paid for itself within 12 months and paves the way for future investment.

So would you automate again?

Automating our operation has been so successful for us we plan to upgrade the last area of our operation on this site and are now considering automating our other DCs.

Notes to Editors

About Conveyor Networks

Conveyor Networks, based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, Cheshire was formed in November 2009. The company is run by Managing Director David Carroll, previously Head of UK Sales for international manufacturer Transnorm and Operations Director Geoff Wooding, previously of Lifetime Controls. Conveyor Networks provide fully integrated factory and logistics automation solutions for clients with a view to making them more efficient. Their services include the design and installation of integrated, intelligent automated conveyor systems, provision of spare parts and ongoing service contracts. They are the sole UK distributor agent for Transnorm’s “System range of products.” Clients include WHSmith, HMV and Johnson & Johnson. 

About Communisis

Our purpose is to keep our clients ahead of the communications curve. With our mission being to shape the future of communications.

Our belief is that consumer communication tools and techniques change fast and keeping up with people’s accelerating expectations is therefore a full time job. If you don’t keep up, you’ll quickly get left behind.

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