U.S.P.S. Installs State-of-the-Art Mail Sorting System in Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center

Falls Church, Virginia, UNITED STATES

BALTIMORE, Sept. 27, 1999 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) has installed a first-of-its-kind sorting system in its Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center.

The Automated Flats Sorting Machine (AFSM-100) is designed and built by the team of Rapistan Systems, a division of Mannesmann Dematic Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector. The new machines will sort magazines, catalogs, circulars, some newspapers and oversized envelopes (flats) at twice the speed and cost less to operate than existing U.S.P.S. flat sorters.

"The new AFSM-100 from Rapistan Systems and Northrop Grumman is an opportunity to improve service and lower distribution costs for flat mail," said Bill Dowling, U.S.P.S. vice president for engineering.

The system has automatic feeders that provide for throughput in excess of 17,000 pieces per hour and is equipped with an optical character recognition/bar code reader (OCR/BCR) and an online video coding system capable of reading written addresses and bar codes. Additionally, the system enables unreadable mail to be keyed with the correct delivery information.

Rapistan Systems, along with its postal automation group, is the prime contractor and will manage the program, provide design solutions for the machine, manufacture the transportation carousel and provide advanced technical support for the team.

As the principal subcontractor to Rapistan Systems, Northrop Grumman is responsible for manufacturing the system's automated infeed modules, systems integration, shipping, installation and logistical support, including training and documentation.

Siemens ElectroCom of Arlington, Tex., is the Northrop Grumman subcontractor responsible for providing the OCR/BCR and online video coding for mail not read by the OCR/BCR.

The initial contract is for 175 systems to be installed at U.S. Postal Service facilities nationwide.

Rapistan Systems, a division of Mannesmann Dematic, is a world leader in integrated material handling systems, providing solutions from concept through implementation in distribution, manufacturing, parcel, postal, air cargo and baggage handling applications.

Northrop Grumman's Automation & Information Systems, a business unit of the company's Baltimore, Md.-based Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, provides advanced integrated systems solutions for package and parcel sorting and delivery and material handling applications to U.S. governmental and industrial customers.

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