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Dynamic sorting management - Skynet

Pop up sorter



FBA is an Italian company, leader in the intralogistics field. In over 20 years it evolved from a small, family run business to a leader in material handling, working mainly with express couriers and manufacturers. The company has now customers in three continents with hundreds of sorting plants installed for couriers. Due to its flexibility towards the clients, FBA is now able to handle a great variety of needs, designing and commissioning lines both for small facilities and big hubs.

Sovex is a UK based company, specialized in roller conveyors and boom conveyors manufacture. The company owes part of its reputation to its excellent customer care and implementation. Sovex offers a 24/7 service that grants troubleshooting on every kind of material handling machinery, no matter the supplier. Not only Sovex takes care of maintenance, it also keeps record of every intervention in the service history, detailing when services and repairs were reported, when a service engineer was on site, the name of the engineer, details about the work and costs involved.

FBA and Sovex have been working together since many years, uniting FBA projecting and manufacturing abilities with the reliability of Sovex assistance. In 2014, Sovex and FBA collaborated to realize a sorting plant for Skynet Heathrow.



Skynet is and international distribution and logistics company. Born in London in 1973, it quickly grew in the rest of Europe and, some years later, its operations were expanded in Latin Arica. Today Skynet is a global network that provides fulfillment and logistic services including, collecting, packing, labeling and processing shipments to residential and commercial customers.


Smistamento ortogonaleTHE CHALLENGE 

For its Heathrow facility Skynet needed a flexible solution, able to sort parcels using different logics. To do that FBA and Sovex realized a parcel sorting line, whose settings can be changed without assistance, basing only on the need of the moment.

This line, is composed of a volumetric scale with an integrated barcode reading device to register data of parcels and of a sorting system. Once scanned by the dim-weigh technology all parcels are moved to the HFS, FBA’s high frequency sorting system, a pop-up solution capable of sorting up to 6.000 parcels per hour.



FBA created a sorting line with 80 exit chutes (small, medium big and oversize) all directed to carrier sacks, but the real challenge was the dynamic management of the extits. To do so, FBA created a software able to choose the best exit for each parcel basing on weight, volume, and destination. When a sack has been filled, the software automatically disables the exit to allow the sack to be replaced by an operator.

As by request of Skynet, the sorting logic can be based on:

  • Destination
  • Shipment unit costs
  • Parcel weight
  • Sack total weight

Smistamento lin are pop upThe system can be accessed through PDA and via WiFi using Andriod devices, this procedure allows to manage all the sortation settings, even during the operations. A SCADA system show all the information about the line, this too can be accessed using pc, tablet and smartphones. For this project Sovex provided mechanical and electrical commissioning. Sovex will also take care of the after sales and of maintenance for Skynet facility.



The success of Skynet project is now paving the way to a promising partnership between two companies dedicated to material handling.



Take a look at the video of the parcel sorting system we built for Skynet.