28 April 2022

Dorabot Delivers Automated Sorting to DHL eCommerce – Part of the Logistics Company’s $100 Million Digital Intelligence Investment Plan

Sort to Bag at DHL ATL

The e-commerce industry requires a high level of intelligence in their logistics operations. This is largely due to the wide coverage of customers, the diversity of order SKUs, and the need to provide fast delivery.  For the top 3PL (third-party logistics) enterprises, integrating automation and intelligent equipment to improve sorting efficiency is a primary focus.

Global express service provider DHL deployed the first DoraSorter in its Miami service center in June 2020. Since then, the partnership between Dorabot and DHL Express has expanded throughout the United States and into other countries, including Singapore and South Korea. 

Recently, DHL eCommerce announced plans to invest $100 million in a five-year automation and digitization plan. A plan in which Dorabot’s solutions play a significant role. With future deployments in mind, the DoraSorter will continue to help DHL eCommerce fulfill their massive e-commerce parcel sorting needs. 

Project Background

Founded in 1969, DHL is a global leader in express intercontinental transportation and air freight. DHL eCommerce is one of the express service providers under DHL Group, with a focus on the transportation of global e-commerce orders.

Driven in part by the pandemic, the e-commerce express industry has experienced a boom over the past two years, with businesses seeing an unprecedented volume of orders and shipments. Logistics companies have had to meet this growing demand head-on, creating increasingly complex sorting operations. As a result, the limitations of manual and semi-automatic sorting have illuminated the following:

  • Manual sortation produces higher rates of error and cargo damage
  • Throughout the pandemic, employees handling a large number of parcels face increased safety risks
  • Labor costs have risen over the past few years, and that trend is expected to continue
  • There are high costs associated with placing traditional automation equipment, including large site modifications and continuous upkeep
  • Manual sortation struggles to keep up with parcel volume surges during peak season

Our Solution: The DoraSorter Difference

Dorabot helps DHL optimize their parcel sorting process by deploying DoraSorters in multiple DHL eCommerce sorting centers. 

  1. The scanning system reads a barcode to obtain each parcel’s address information
  2. DoraSorter’s industrial robot arm, equipped with a drawer-shaped conveyor belt end effector, receives each parcel at the end of a conveyor belt
  3. The DoraSorter moves each parcel to destination bay determined by the parcel’s address
  4. Each parcel falls into a delivery bag at the end of a chute belonging to the corresponding destination bay

Project Results

  • Increased sorting efficiency is increased – 1000+ pieces/hour per robot cell, an 80% improvement
  • 99.99% sorting accuracy
  • Each robot cell achieves the work of 2-3 people, allowing operators to be deployed elsewhere 
  • The Dorasorter is expandable, covering 80+ discrete destinations
  • By eliminating the need for secondary bagging, sorting center throughput is improved 

Project Highlights

  1. Sorting efficiency increases by 80%, with an accuracy rate of 99.99%
  • DoraSorter autonomously identifies parcel information, sorts parcels to different destination bays, and completes sorting tasks efficiently and accurately
  • The working efficiency of one DoraSorter is equivalent to 2-3 workers, and is immune to certain factors, including climate, availability and endurance.
  1. Secondary bagging time is eliminated, improving the timeliness of the operation
    • The sorting solution uses a special woven bag for the express industry as the end receiver of the DoraSorter. The package enters the express delivery bag via a slide mechanism, eliminating secondary bagging time.
  1. Reduction of complaints filed due to cargo damage
    • The lack of control in manual sorting has been resolved thanks to the precise motion planning algorithm of DoraSorter. Packages are handled with care and precision, reducing the number of complaints caused by damaged packages.
  1. Flexible expansion of sorting destinations
    • A DoraSorter robot cell deployed in a DHL eCommerce site can cover 80 destination flows at the same time. The system can also be expanded according to customer needs and adapted to complex and changing scenarios – without requiring large-scale renovations.
  1. Minimizing the spread of the pandemic
    • The addition of DoraSorter greatly reduces the person-to-person contact of on-site staff and operators, while also decreasing the risk of germ transmission from packages.

With the integration of the DoraSorter, DHL eCommerce has been able to increase the efficiency of their operation. Dorabot is honored and excited to continue to help DHL’s vision of their future become a reality.