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Innovative technologies —

Systems at work


The service provided daily by the Postal Service depends on an astonishing network of people and technology that collect, transport, process and deliver the nation’s mail. 

  • The Postal Service is the world leader in optical character recognition technology with machines reading nearly 98 percent of all hand-addressed letter mail and 99.5 percent of machine-printed mail.
  • The Postal Service uses more than 8,500 pieces of automated processing equipment to sort more than half the world’s mail.
  • The Postal Service has one of the largest material-handling systems in the world for moving mail. There are more than 200 miles of conveyors within postal processing facilities.
  • Tray sorting machines sort more than 18 million trays per day through the conveyor systems.
  • The Postal Service has the largest gantry robotic fleet in the world using 174 robotics systems to move 314,000 mail trays per day.
  • The Flats Sequencing System (FSS) sorts “flat mail” (large envelopes, magazines, etc.) in carrier walk sequence up to 12,000 pieces per hour.
  • The Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS) positions letter mail and cancels stamps at 36,000 pieces per hour.
  • The Delivery Barcode Sorter (DBCS) reads the barcode on letters and sorts them at 36,000 pieces per hour.
  • The Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSM) sorts flat mail at 17,000 pieces per hour.
  • The Automated Package Processing System (APPS) sorts packages and bundles of mail at 9,500 pieces per hour
  • The Automated Parcel and Bundle Sorter (APBS) sorts packages and bundles of mail at 6,000 pieces per hour.
  • The Mail Transport Equipment Ordering (MTEOR) system was introduced in 2012. MTEOR standardizes the ordering process for mail transport equipment (MTE), allowing mailers to order MTE online and improve equipment management efficiency.
  • Most packages with tracking barcodes are scanned throughout the postal system. In the past year, the APBSs have been upgraded with improved camera technology and increased barcode read rates.
  • The Mobile Point of Sale – or mPOS – system consists of an iPod, a portable receipt printer and a postal printer, and is being used at more than 3,000 retail sites.
  • The new Mobile Delivery Devices – or MDDs – are providing real-time scanning for daily delivery operations. Implementation was completed in 2015 and there are more than 263,000 MDDs in use nationwide.

For more information about the Postal Service’s impressive operations, check out the “Systems at Work” video at postalmuseum.si.edu/systemsatwork/exhibit.html.

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