The investment in automated sortation is a key piece of the $300 million DHL eCommerce Solutions is spending to expand and improve its U.S. operations — and the additions go beyond Dorabot’s systems.
Ashbaugh said in addition to two loop sorters already in place in its network today, two more will be installed next year in Cincinnati and Chicago that sort 40,000 to 50,000 pieces per hour. The DHL division is also adding more line sorters, which are smaller than loop sorters and process around 14,000 pieces an hour, to its network.
“They really are the workhorses of the network, and so we’ve expanded that program dramatically,” Ashbaugh said. “The machines we’re buying now are roughly twice as fast as the old generation legacy systems.”
Industrial robot orders hit a record high in 2021 as a wide range of industries raced to address demand while grappling with labor challenges. Robotics and automation are in use today by 28% of respondents to the 2022 MHI Annual Industry Report’s survey, but the adoption rate is expected to grow to 79% in the next five years.