Guided along the right track

Guided along the right track

Simple power distribution along the conveyor lines at DHL Express

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The Fieldpower energy bus system and pre-assembled cables from Weidmüller allow minimum cabling effort during the implementation of a state-of-the-art parcel centre.

Deliveries from all around the world are collected at the parcel centre of DHL Express Switzerland where they are then sorted into collective deliveries for each destination region and transported by lorries to Germany, France and Switzerland. Urgent documents and goods are delivered by a DHL plane from nearby Basel-Mulhouse Airport. The only airport in the world to be operated by two countries, it has a French and a Swiss customs area and is also key for the southwest of Germany.

9,000 parcels per hour

In order to meet the sustained growth in the parcel sector, DHL Express commissioned the implementation of an innovative sorting centre in one of the surrounding halls. The high level of automation at the new system means that parcels are handled quickly and reliably. They are transported along five high-speed infeed conveyors to a cross-belt sorter – which forms the centrepiece of the plant and boasts a peak throughput of 9,000 parcels per hour. Its scalability and the intelligent software ensure that the performance of the facility increases as the volume of parcels grows.

The scope of delivery also includes around 1,200 metres of conveying technology. Three X-ray machines were integrated in the facility for screening parcels as part of security operations at the airport. Spiral chutes, storage chutes and ULD (Unit Load Device) chutes are used to make sure the deliveries are forwarded and transported away with care.

Automation task solved cost-effectively

The new sorting and conveying system at DHL Express needed a clever connection technology
The new sorting and conveying system at DHL Express needed a clever connection technology

The transport conveyors in the sorting system are equipped with a total of 270 drives including 24V motor boxes. In order to minimise the cabling effort, several drives are supplied via one single cable with bifurcations. Fieldpower is used to distribute power along the conveying section.

How it works

“One single cable is required to connect several drives. The uncut cable is partly stripped and the insulated part is inserted in the contact system of the Fieldpower box,” explains Arno Priller, Global Key Account Manager at Weidmüler. “Assignment errors are pretty much eliminated thanks to colour coding.” The individual wires of the power cable are contacted via IDC (Insulation Displacement Connection) technology, a patented cut-and-clamp contact with external spring. The contact element is moved by 90 degrees using a screwdriver. A contact unit with push-in can be used to connect incoming or outgoing cables measuring 0.5 to 10 millimetres.

Above all, the simplicity of the technology is impressive. The branch lines and the functions integrated into the cover, which can be expanded depending on the application, are simple to attach. The uncut cables cannot be inverted and they ensure the constant impedance behaviour that is required in the event of a short circuit for triggering the protective device. Compared with “in and out wiring”, whereby motor control devices are disconnected for measuring the impedance behaviour and must then be reconnected again, the impedance behaviour is simple to verify with Fieldpower thanks to the plug-in feature.

Installation express at DHL Express

In order to speed up implementation of the project at the parcel and logistics service provider even further, pre-assembled sensor-actuator cables with plug-in connectors from Weidmüller were also used. These enable precise controlling of the motor control units and simply need to be plugged in on site. Pre-assembly enables significantly shorter commissioning times and the avoidance of installation errors.

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Harmless from now on

Harmless from now on

Reduced cabling workload with ready-to-connect solutions