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Conveyor and Automation Upgrade for 25% Efficiency Boost in Receiving and Sortation

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Custom Conveyor Sortation System Project in Spartanburg SC


Industry: Home Entertainment DC in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Challenge:  Redesign receiving and sorting system to reduce manual hand scans and improve sortation accuracy.

Solution: Custom-Built Sorting System to improve efficiency by 25%

Equipment: Hytrol E24EZ Conveyor, Modsort Divert and Transfer Conveyor, SICK 6-Axis Barcode Scanner + Sizing Station


Challenge: Speed It Up and Sort It Out

Our home entertainment client, DISH Network in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was looking for an automated solution to optimize their receiving and sorting process.

Originally, they had packages coming in on two gravity conveyors, where they were stopped and scanned by hand before being manually sorted and unboxed.

“Here in receiving it’s a very labor-intense process,” says DISH Network Engineer Jimmy Pollard.

“We needed to be able to take that labor and put it to a more value-added process. So we went out to AEC seeking to improve automation in the receiving department.”

Solution: Scanning the Horizon

To streamline DISH Network’s process into the modern age of receiving and sorting, we teamed with System Plast to design and pair our Hytrol Roller Conveyor with their Modsort Divert and Transfer mods with a SICK 6-Axis Barcode Scanner and Sizing Station.

Streamlined Sort Process

The new system brings in multiple sizes and weights of packages on two separate conveyors, which are then automatically positioned onto a single conveyor using the Modsort modules.

Lined up along a single rail, the packages are then fed into a multi-surface scan tunnel for sizing and barcode scanning.

“What makes this process a more reliable sort is when it goes through the scan tunnel, it doesn’t have to search the entire contents of the width of the conveyor to find the box,” says AEC Material Handling Specialist Brian Hester.

“You’ve sent it to a fixed edge, which makes it a faster, more reliable scan.”

Once the packages have passed through the scan tunnel, non-accepted packages are sent down a side conveyor while accepted packages are once again split up into two conveyors.

From there, they are sent through a proprietary cutting machine, coming out the other end ready to be manually unloaded and sorted.

Saving Valuable Time and Resources

“The only people on the line now are the people putting packages onto the conveyors within the trailers. And then people further down the line are emptying the contents out of the boxes,” says AEC Material Handling Specialist Brian Hester.

“Everything between those two pieces is all automated.”

Hytrol’s E24EZ Low-Voltage Conveyor

Safety was also increased through the use and integration of Hytrol’s E24EZ Conveyor with the Modsort module which runs on 24 volts.

This low-voltage solution allows packages to be moved deliberately and evenly along the conveyor without the risks inherit to a gravity conveyor system, or the need for additional safety applications.

“The existing conveyor was built on a 24-Volt DC platform. So we knew we could utilize the 24 DC architecture of the System Plast Modsort without the additional safety guarding that would normally go around it,” says AEC President Darin Boik.

“Using the E24Z was definitely a time and cost saving benefit for all.” 

Just a 4-Day Install to Live Operation

Over the course of just four days, starting on a Thursday evening, the old system was removed and the new system in place.

On Tuesday morning, the packages were ready to roll.

Result: 25% Boost to Overall Process Efficiency

With the new system from AEC in place, DISH Network was able to increase efficiency as well as safety, while still saving money.

“Now the automated scan system is placed exactly where we used to have people that hand-scanned product.  This change allows us to move people to a more value-added process,” says Pollard.

“Automating this piece saves the company money – and by doing that we save our customers money and time.”

Repeat Business is a Testimony to Success

By integrating these various systems so successfully, AEC was brought on to provide the same custom material handling solution for DISH Network’s facility in El Paso, Texas.

“Because of the lessons we learned, we were able to finish that project in just 3 days with the same installer, so it worked out really well,” says Hester.

From Concept to Completion

As DISH Network’s single point of contact for AEC, Hester was there from “cradle to grave” on the project.

From development and layout to equipment selection and installation, only one project manager handles everything for our client. And the result?

25% Boost in Efficiency and Improved Safety

“With the design and automation supplied by AEC, we found that we improved our overall process by 25% in efficiency,” says DISH Network Engineering Manager, Robert Russel.

“Now that it’s automated, we’ve achieved improved sortation accuracy and minimized touchpoints.”

Safe, quiet, and energy efficient – another successful solution provided by Advanced Equipment Company and System Plast, custom-built to expand upon and improve DISH Network’s distribution capabilities.

Material Handling Specialist, Brian Hester, brings expertise to the table.

13 years electrical engineering experience + 20 years providing automated solutions, Brian likes solving the big challenges.

Give Brian a call at 803-728-6035.


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