Vitronic has supplied five VIPAC D2 volume-measuring units to Interlink Express. Used in the company’s Smethwick distribution centre, they allow operators to optimise valuable transport space in vehicles. This means Interlink Express can plan delivery routes efficiently, keeping costs and CO² emissions to a minimum.
Interlink Express is one of the UK’s leading parcel carriers. It offers a range of domestic and international services, and primarily serves the SME sector. Interlink Express has over 140 depots in the UK and a £15m super hub in Smethwick that processes 27,000 parcels per hour and operates a fleet of over 1,200 vehicles. It is a sister company of DPD.
At Interlink Express’ 28-acre Smethwick site, operators unload parcels using telescopic boom conveyors. Items flow to one of five sorters, which divert them down specific destination chutes ready for delivery in the morning.
A VIPAC D2 system operates above each of Interlink Express Smethwick’s five sorters, which run at 2.2 metres per second. Every unit has two sensor heads, which emit fan shaped laser beams. Parcels travelling underneath reflect these beams back to the sensors.
VIPAC D2 measures the time it takes the lasers to return to the sensors and the beam displacement to build three-dimensional images of parcels travelling through the system. It uses these images to determine a parcel’s height, width and length, before calculating its volume and the smallest enclosing box. The acquired data enables Interlink Express to optimise transit space in vehicles.
Mark Wilkes, Director of Technical Services at Interlink Express, is delighted; "VIPAC D2 measures the volume of cuboid and non cuboid objects. This is essential because we deliver a wide range of goods. The system is fast, accurate and reliable. It cuts manual handling requirements and helps our hub perform efficiently. This means we can maintain the speedy delivery and first class customer service for which Interlink Express is renowned."
The Sandwell trading standards office has certified each VIPAC D2 unit at Smethwick to provide accurate volume data. This means that if Interlink Express chooses, it can invoice people and verify customer-provided package information automatically, which has the potential for huge cost savings.
Mark continued; "From the beginning, Vitronic was friendly and professional. Its UK Sales Manager Malcolm Smith took the time to listen to us and understand our requirements, before quickly coming up with a suitable solution. The installation was swift, seamless and carried out with due care to other contractors."
VIPAC D2 recognises flaws such as dents and holes, and packages that deviate from predetermined criteria. This allows users to divert defect parcels off the line automatically and send for recovery if applicable. Companies can feed volume data into statistical databases to streamline internal goods flow and monitor logistics processes. VIPAC D2 can operate as a standalone system or alongside VIPAC, Vitronic’s automated parcel recognition system.