Multisort500: the Leonardo e-commerce sorting solution

12 October 2020


The field of logistics has always been developing fairly rapidly, but the rate of acceleration has never been as dizzying as in the past few years. The factor that has radically changed the needs of the trade is the rise of e-commerce.

Consumer behaviour has seen some drastic transformations in recent years: people’s readiness to buy online has grown from all points of view, with volumes that bear no resemblance to those of the past. This new retail channel has grown in all geographical areas, the goods on sale cover nearly every product category, and the customer base has expanded and diversified to reach all social categories and to embrace almost every economic, cultural and generational cluster.

The social isolation caused by lockdown in the coronavirus crisis has meant that online is the only possible purchasing option for certain goods. The changes taking place have resulted in the need to define new infrastructures, technologies and means of interaction between the different elements in order to meet the new requirements, with a notable impact on the supply chains of all logistics operators. The challenge is to ensure the successful handling of steadily increasing volumes, with ever-greater precision, within shrinking timeframes and at lower cost.

This situation has huge implications for the entire logistical supply chain: with hundreds of thousands of products needing to be moved and despatched every day fulfilment centres need to be equipped with reliable and high-performance automation systems - particularly at the sorting stage.

There are many types of sorting machines for postal items, but in recent times those using cross-belt technology are becoming one of the most widely adopted choices. This is because they guarantee the best possible handling of a wide variety of items, even highly fragile ones.

Leonardo’s response to this challenge is Multisort500, a cross-belt sorting machine designed specifically for e-commerce and able to handle a wide variety of small and medium-sized postal items (packs and parcels), including those of minimal thickness.

The machine is based on well-proven technology, but also includes an array of innovations and improvements that position the product as one of the most advanced and high-performance solutions in its category. The transport system comprises trains of carts fitted with multiple units - called cells - that are made up of conveyor belts moving in a perpendicular direction to that of the trolleys themselves. The machines are driven by LAMS motors (Linear Asynchronous Motors) that involve no physical contact between the mechanical parts, thus minimising wear-and-tear, maintenance, vibrations and mechanical stress.

The machine control system can identify the position and operational status of each sorting unit at any moment, sending precise instructions to each of them at every stage of the process. This means exact loading trajectories whatever the volume, dimensions or shape of the packs, precise and controlled transport, and excellent package handling also at the unloading stage.

The innovative design and mechanical conception of the Multisort500, plus the possibility to control its speed according to the volumes being handled, translates into significant energy savings;
the modular architecture of the systems enables the machine to be configured flexibly to take account of logistical flows within the sorting hub and the space available for its installation.
This means solutions that can be easily adapted to the specific operational and business needs of the customer.

This new Leonardo solution confirms the company’s in-depth knowledge of logistical processes, supplying high-technology systems and solutions that meet the ever-increasing demands of the market.

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