The Connected DC

New Angles to Optimize DC Operations

Publication
February, 2020

As a direct result of Honeywell’s acquisition of Transnorm, our customers have gained access to a variety of best-in-class, high-performance automated conveyor and sortation components that smoothly and deftly maneuver items around curves, through direction changes, and up and down differing elevations within facilities. Transnorm’s belt and roller modules are used to handle totes, cartons, bags and parcels in distribution centers (DCs) and courier/express/parcel (CEP) sortation facilities, as well as baggage in airports worldwide.

The addition of its product lines for high-speed, singulated loads in applications ranging from 2,000 to 50,000 parcels per hour greatly enhances Honeywell Intelligrated’s current offerings to these key markets — particularly those in omnichannel and e-commerce retail. Indeed, Transnorm’s modules have been installed in greenfield construction projects for Amazon, FedEx and UPS, as those operations have expanded their geographic presence within the U.S. They’re also frequently utilized in brownfield modernization projects to automate existing facilities, such as those owned and operated by Home Depot and Family Dollar.

Transnorm’s global footprint spans three continents, with production facilities in Arlington, Texas; Harsum, Germany; and Bangkok, Thailand. For more than 50 years, the brand has been providing curve belts, angled conveyor merge junctions, powered and gravity spiral chutes, sorting modules and other technologies. U.S. airports have relied on Transnorm’s solutions since the 1970s; distribution, fulfillment and parcel facilities have been integrating these solutions since the 1980s.

With more than 40,000 installations in the U.S., Transnorm’s modules utilize low-friction drives that are extremely quiet, highly energy-efficient, and require 75 percent less maintenance annually than competitive, chain-driven components. Owners of these systems can expect at least a 30 percent reduction in their overall total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to competitive technologies.

Because every installation is unique, Transnorm’s engineering and design teams customize each product to meet the individual needs of the application. Each design leverages standard, patented elements unique to the brand. The Transnorm team works with every customer to define their requirements — including belt length, width and curve diameter, junction angle and other specifications — and complete project drawings within 48 hours. James McKenna, general manager for Transnorm America, reported that the majority of projects are typically completed in four weeks, from initial order to shipment.

“As it turns out, there are no straight lines in facilities or in conveyor installations,” he noted. “That’s why each of our products are custom designed for each application. But because of our robust design and engineering department, and the ability to modify our standard product offerings to accommodate these differences, we can provide these extremely rapid turnaround times for all our customers, including those in the U.S.”

Transnorm's Solutions Portfolio

Transnorm’s belt and roller conveyor and sortation modules are energy-efficient, scalable, quiet and delivered in four weeks. Key solutions in the U.S. portfolio include:

  • Curve conveying — TS 1500 Powered Belt Curve for flat, incline, decline and spiral stack configurations; capable of moving 40-pound loads at speeds up to 600 feet per minute
  • Gravity conveying — Safeglide® Spiral Chute uses gravity to move boxes and bags over its low-friction, tapered fiberglass surface; the Channel Spiral Chute also uses gravity to move totes and mail trays
  • Continuous vertical conveying — The powered Spiral Tower can be used as either an incline or a decline, moving loads up or down at speeds up to 200 feet per minute
  • Merges and diverts — The TS4200 full-belt merge or divert comes in 30- and 45-degree angles at speeds up to 600 feet per minute; redundant surface strip belt conveyors equal that performance at 20- and 30-degree angles 
  • Timing conveyors — TS4100 Q-Conveyors separate and queue up unique cartons and parcels, creating even gapping
  • Multi-line merging — TS4100 Mega Merge modules feature bilateral belts and deflectors for high-speed, contactless line merges
  • Vertical merges — The VertiSwitch® merges or diverts loads up or down in a compact footprint
  • Multi-directional sorting — TS4800 Mod Sort conveys, merges, queues and diverts different loads with 90 degrees of total articulation for dual left-right sort points
  • Line splitting — TSM SmartSort™ Line Splitter diverts loads at high speeds to multiple outfeed junctions
  • Vehicle loading/unloading — SOVEX telescopic conveyors extend and retract from inside a trailer to facilitate hand-stacked loading or unloading at the dock

Transnorm Benefits at a Glance

  • Lowest noise levels, thanks to low-friction drives that generate high speeds (up to 600 feet per minute) at conversation levels of 68 decibels
  • High energy savings from low-friction designs and modules; power requirements are 50 percent less than comparable chain-driven units
  • Minimal preventive maintenance costs, thanks to 75 percent less frequent service requirements with no parts removed to complete
  • 30 percent lower TCO
  • Reduced installation costs with pre-assembled components

New Solutions Debut in the U.S.

Two new portfolio solutions have recently debuted within the U.S. market: Transnorm Sorting Modules (TSM) and Telescopic Conveyors.

Created expressly to reduce the installation time associated with conveyor and sorter projects, the TSM solution is targeted to CEP facilities seeking to better handle rising parcel throughput volumes, increasing demands for next-day delivery, and exponential e-commerce growth.

As a plug-and-play portfolio of modular, easy-to-install and scalable automation components, the core of a TSM installation is the SmartSort Line Splitter. Reliable and robust, it quickly and accurately diverts even the smallest polybags or cardboard boxes to angled junctions branching off the main conveyor. These multiple outfeed junctions then connect to chutes, gravity runoffs or telescopic boom conveyors for trailer loading.

Because the TSM system is compact and adaptable, it can be deployed in facilities that lack the floor space for a sorter installation at a lower cost, while still delivering high throughput volumes, fast switching times, and significantly reduced distances separating each parcel.

Also new to the U.S. market, Transnorm’s SOVEX Telescopic Conveyor line supports personnel as they load or unload trailers of loosely stacked boxes, parcels, totes and cartons. Located at the inbound and outbound dock doors, these boom conveyors extend in length telescopically, reaching into the trailer to minimize the number of steps an associate must make during loading or unloading.

The unit’s conveyor belts run in two directions, allowing receipt of loads from the vehicle or for sending items into the trailer; the associate only has to pick up or place the load. These telescopic conveyors can be integrated as a fixed, traversing or completely mobile unit, depending on the size of the facility and the volume of inbound and outbound trailer loading.

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