|Canvas mail bags.....some dated as far back as 1921!|
|In front of the Ottawa Mail Processing Plant (OMPP)|
|Early morning on the main floor. Any minute the trucks will back up to the|
loading bays and start loading these parcels to take to their destinations
|Bins and bins of parcels as far as the eye can see!|
|The parcels below this sign are coming to our neck of the woods! |
I was actuallly quite overwhelmed by the size of this one floor. It was the size of a football field and there were two more floors to be visited. Basically, the letters leave this floor and go to the third floor of the facility which is the letter sorting floor. The OMPP processes approximately two million pieces of mail every day for Ottawa, Eastern Ontario (up to and including Kingston, Cornwall and Hawkesbury) and the Outaouais; an area of approximately 50,000 sq. km. Amazing!!
So, it turns out that I was way off with my vision of people standing around bins hand sorting the letters. Here is a list of some of the machines you might see while visiting the OMPP:
The EFM (Edger, Facer Machine) was designed by Canada Post’s Engineers. It places S/L envelopes on their edge, then “faces them up” by using cameras to determine the orientation of the letter. The EFM processes 18,000 pieces/hour.
The Multi Line Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) sorts S/L lettermail by taking a digital image of the letter. The OCR software is capable of reading and interpreting several lines of an address and processes 28,000 pieces/hour.
The Video Encoding System (VES) transmits images of letters, which cannot be deciphered by the MLOCR to remote keying stations, where clerks key-in the postal code. - 2,000 pieces/hour.
The Bar Code Sorter (BCS) is used to sort mail to a letter carrier walk or town/village. It sorts the mail by reading the barcode on the front of the envelope that was printed by the MLOCR. - 30,000 pieces/hour.
The Alcatel Flat Sorting Machine (AFSM) sorts oversize letters mechanically. It determines the postal code and prints a barcode on the front of the letter then sorts it directly into containers - 15,000 pieces/hour.
The Cubiscan measures the external dimensions of parcels, weighs and scans the barcode for postage verification. It also scans the parcel as part of the Track and Trace system. This information is cross-referenced against the customer’s Statement of Mailing. Parcels are then hand sorted (I knew there was some hand sorting!!) into cages or loose-loaded onto trucks for dispatch.
All parcels are placed on the Parcel Conveyor System as soon as they enter the plant and are sorted immediately to their destination.
After visiting the first and third floors, we were taken to the second floor which houses five letter carrier depots which make up the Caledon Depot and administrative offices. I was pretty stoked about this floor as one of my friends who is from our hometown works as a Letter Carrier in Ottawa. I was thrilled to see her in action loading up her mail bags for the day. She was shocked to see mom and me in her high security workplace. This is Lisa. Check out her legs :-)
|Lisa...one of Ottawa's 300 Letter Carriers|
After two hours, the tour came to an end. I was completely boggled by the details of mail processing. I suppose I had never given it much thought. If you ever get the chance to visit a mail processing plant, I encourage you to check it out. You may start thinking that stamps are relatively cheap when you see what is involved with mailing one letter. The OMPP opens its doors to the public twice a year. If you are in the Ottawa area, I would highly recommend it.
|Bins of sorted letters getting ready to send out for delivery|
So, this concludes my first field trip. I hope you enjoyed my report. I am going on another field trip this Friday. Stay tuned as field trip #2 includes TLWR's first GIVEAWAY.......................