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  • When someone sends a letter,

  • it enters a system already at work

  • that most people never get to see.

  • The United States Postal Service processes

  • hundreds of millions of mail pieces every day.

  • The Postal Service delivers almost half the world's mail

  • to over a hundred and fifty million addresses,

  • through a network of thousnads of post offices.

  • These offices are supplied by a network of hundreds of

  • Processing and Distribution Centers around the nation.

  • The Postal Service separates mail into three categories:

  • letters, flats, and packages.

  • Small pieces of mail like letters, bills, and post cards

  • are all processed by the same set of machines.

  • Processing letters begins with culling,

  • or filtering out mail that cannot be handled by

  • machines down the line due to size, shape or weight.

  • Letters then enter the Advanced Facer-Canceller System.

  • This machine uses specialized cameras

  • to take pictures of envelopes as they speed by.

  • These pictures are used by the computer

  • to find the stamp,

  • locate the address,

  • read the handwriting,

  • and compare the address

  • against a database of known addresses.

  • It faces the letter in the right direction,

  • sprays it with a unique ID tag

  • and cancels the stamp with a postmark.

  • The letters are then transferred

  • to the Delivery Barcode Sorter.

  • Postal workers feed the letters

  • into this machine by hand.

  • This machine sorts letters into "delivery point sequence,"

  • or the order that postal carriers

  • will deliver them along their routes.

  • After letters are sorted,

  • they are moved to the loading dock.

  • Customers often bring large bundles of

  • magazines to distribution centers for processing.

  • The Postal Service refers to magazines,

  • catalogs, and similar items as "flats."

  • Large bundles of flats must be weighed and verified

  • before they are processed.

  • They are them taken to a preparation area.

  • There, they are separated and readied for processing.

  • After they are prepared,

  • bins of flats go into the Flats Sequencing System,

  • a machine the length of a football field.

  • The flats travel along a conveyor system to a feeder,

  • where they are removed from the bins

  • and sent one by one to the scanning system.

  • A high-speed camera captures image of flats

  • to identify their delivery addresses.

  • A computer interprets the scanned addresses

  • and sends sequencing information

  • to the machine's robotics system.

  • The flats are then sorted

  • into delivery order for postal carriers.

  • Sorted flats are then transferred to trays

  • and automatically loaded onto carts.

  • They are then moved to the loading dock.

  • Packages can be particularly difficult

  • to process be machine

  • because they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

  • The Automated Package Processing System

  • is uniquely equipped to deal with this kind of mail.

  • Packages are spread out

  • as they moce along a series of belts and rollers.

  • As the packages enter the scanning and imaging tunnel,

  • the machine reads their addresses.

  • It determines the package dimensions...

  • and weight.

  • Checks for proper postage

  • and scans the barcode,

  • updating the package's tracking information.

  • The packages then travel along a conveyor,

  • before being kicked off into bins by destination.

  • Packages are then moved to the loading dock,

  • where they are loaded on to trucks

  • along with letters and flats going to the same post offices.

  • As morning approaches,

  • drivers deliver the sorted mail

  • to the appropriate post offices.

  • After the mail arrives,

  • postal workers separate it for pickup.

  • Carriers gather the sorted letters, flats, and packages

  • to take out on their routes.

  • Mail delivery connects people and businesses

  • all across the country.

  • Everyday technology keeps mail flowing

  • through this constantly moving network.

  • All systems...

  • at work.

When someone sends a letter,

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B1 US postal mail postal service sorted machine delivery

Systems at Work

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    Loïc posted on 2016/01/19
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