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Technology in Use by the US Postal Service

The primary job of the United States Postal Service is to ensure that mail gets delivered. Its dedicated postal workers—from its city and rural carriers to its mail handlers and sorters to its drivers and tractor-trailer operators—ensure that this mandate is met. From its early days as the Pony Express, the USPS has evolved. Now, to be able to distribute the growing bulk of mail more efficiently, the USPS has now made use of technological innovations.

For instance, did you know that the USPS has the largest gantryrobotic fleet in the world? Sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, right? But this fleet uses 174 robotics systems to move 314,000 mail trays each day. In addition to this, the Postal Service uses more than 8,500 pieces of automated processing equipment to sort nearly half of the world’s mail. To move mail, they have more than 200 miles of conveyors used within the postal processing facilities.

To read 93 percent of all hand-addressed letters, the USPS also makes use of optical character recognition technology. In addition, the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) system identifies each individual mail, tray, sack, and container and even tracks them through the processing system. The Delivery Barcode Sorter (DBCS) is then responsible for reading the barcodes on the letters and sorting them at the rate of 36,000 pieces of mail per hour. For flat mail, the Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSM) sorts them at 17,000 pieces per hour. Meanwhile, the Automated Package Processing System (APPS), processes packages and bundles of mail at the rate of more than 9,500 pieces per hour. For packages and bundles of mail, it is the Automated Parcel and Bundle Sorter (APBS) that sorts it at 6,000 pieces per hour.

And how do postal employees see to it that mail gets delivered even when an addressee has changed residences? They do that through a technology introduced in 2011. The Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) sees to it that mail gets automatically intercepted and forwarded to the more than 2 billion pieces of mail for the nearly 40 million address changes submitted to the USPS.

The innovative technologies now in use by the United States Postal Service (USPS) means that anyone who wishes to become a postal worker must be comfortable with handling this type of equipment to successfully perform their duties. From computers to other mail sorting and handling technologies, you must be willing to learn how to operate them if you want to become a part of the most efficient mail organization in the world—the United States Postal Service.