B1 Intermediate US 10253 Folder Collection
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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.
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Systems at Work

10253 Folder Collection
Loïc published on January 20, 2016
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