UPS has ordered eight sorting machines from German engineering giant Siemens as it expands its European hub at Cologne/Bonn Airport. Siemens said the order of eight Variosort EXB 120 cross-belt sorters would help with UPS’ ambitions to take the facility’s sorting capacity from 110,000 parcels per hour up to 190,000 parcels per hour.

The Cologne facility, which already makes use of Siemens technology, is currently undergoing a $200m expansion plan that is expected to be completed in 2013.

Siemens said installation of its new sorting systems would be achieved without disrupting ongoing operations.

The Cologne facility was opened in 1986 and its last major extension was in 2006, with Siemens also providing extra parcel processing systems. The site currently has six sorting systems with 3.5 kilometers of processing belts, which is set to expand to 7.5km with the new Siemens additions.

A second expansion phase is set to see the conveyor system covering a distance of around 40km, Siemens said.

UPS has 2,300 employees at its Cologne hub, with 200 more jobs set to be created with the expansion. The facility is one of the company’s major international hubs, along with sites in Louisville (USA), Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong.

Some 37 flights arrive at the hub each night to link up international overnight deliveries from all over the world.

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