In 2010, a bill print and distribution operation for Verizon Telecom was looking for a new conveyor system solution. Advanced Equipment Company, a Hytrol Conveyor Co., Inc. integration partner, was able to provide it.
An Expanding Operation
Based in Durham, North Carolina, CSLT-Billing is a bill print and distribution operation for the southern and western US regions for Verizon Telecom. The organization, according to Danny Brown, billing consultant for CSLT-Billing, puts out around 13 million bills and letters each month.
CSLT-Billing had simple gravity equipment with no programmable logic control (PLC) that was causing problems in their process. Driven by an expanding operation, the company sought a new solution. They needed 13 million bills to move each month between floors, and they needed the lines from 10 machines to merge with no jams or crashes.
“We moved our 10 Pitney Bowes inserters to the first floor,” said Brown. “That meant that 13 million bills had to make it down to the ground floor to the sleeving and sorting area. With 10 machines we need to be able to control the conveyor at the merges to the main line to avoid jams and crashes.
“AEC, along with Hytrol, came in with a solution that has worked very well for us,” said Brown.
AEC did a complete rebuild of the customer’s system, tearing out all existing conveyor and redoing the systems and direction. Ivar Lonon, Systems Engineer and Project Manager with AEC, used his 30 years of material handling experience to quickly determine a solution.
“Their system wasn’t well-suited for the application,” said Lonon, “So AEC put together a drawing with all E24™ zero-pressure accumulation conveyor—accumulating the totes before they got onto the main trunk line, and then using an ARB (activated roller belt) Combining Conveyor.
“The Hytrol E24™ system was the best solution for Verizon because the system is running inside of building where employees are working close by; it is both quieter and safer to work around than other systems,” said Lonon.
Lonon said the Hytrol E24™ zero-accumulation conveyor was ideal for this project because of its extreme flexibility; the Verizon customer was able to place equipment when needed and AEC was able to accommodate new needs and demands as they arose.
The lack of a programmable logic controller (PLC), a digital computer used for automation of typically industrial electromechanical processes, was a pain point for the system that had been in place prior to using Hytrol conveyor.
Brown said, “The equipment that was in place was very simple with no PLC. The spiral was all individual rollers not a belt, and that caused the lighter mail trays to slide down the spiral and fall to the floor. Because we had no PLC control of the conveyor, we had to have more people at the end of the line to get the trays through the sleeving process and out the door.”
The Best Fit
Using the E24™ conveyor and controls, AEC completed the installation in October of 2010 and remodeled it in 2013 after printers were added to the inserters. Brown said the top three benefits realized due to selecting Hytrol included:
- All of the mail makes it from the inserter to the sorting area without human intervention which saves time and money
- With the exception of a few tweaks, the conveyor system has been very reliable
- They have had great support from AEC resolving any challenges.
Brown said the company had received a bid from the manufacturer of the existing equipment. “They came in higher and with fewer options than Hytrol. The Hytrol solution was the best fit for the company because of the equipment that was in place at other locations. In other plants Hytrol was doing more complicated product moving without any problem and we felt that our situation would be relatively simple in comparison.”
Advanced Equipment Company (AEC), in business since 1960, has maintained a solid mission to deliver the best possible service, the best products, and the most innovative, cost-effective material handling system solutions. AEC is a well-respected integration partner with Hytrol, offering local, personal service.
Ivar Lonon is a System Sales & Integration specialist at Advanced Equipment Company. He has over 30 years of experience in the material handling industry. Visit his contact page here.
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