UPS finishes automating the Louisville Centennial Ground Hub

Fully automated UPS ground hub can process 85,000 packages an hour

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The UPS Centennial Ground Hub got a $316 million makeover.

The building is now nearly a mile long. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The building is now nearly a mile long. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

The hub off the Outer Loop has tripled in size and new technology helps to get packages delivered a little faster.

It’s now one of the 10 largest automated sorting facilities in the country, with over a million square feet. The building is almost a mile long now.

“People are sitting on the couch buying more and more and more, and all that volume’s got to go somewhere,” UPS spokeswoman Michelle Polk said. “The sky is the limit for what UPS can do for customers like that.”

People know what automation at WorldPort does for air shipping. UPS decided their ground facilities could use the same boost.

“The original facility was approximately a 38-40,000 piece per hour facility, this facility now has the ability to cover 85,000 pieces per hour,” UPS District Plant Engineering Manager Angie Alexander said.

It all starts with the control room, the brains of the operation.

“You’re watching your volume flow and it’s real time,” Polk explained. “You know what you’ve got coming in, you know what you’ve got going out, you can make adjustments depending on what the package flow is for that day or that week.”

The control room is the brain of the operation. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The control room is the brain of the operation. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Thousands of packages are swept along conveyor belts and pushed into a single file line through a new system.

“As the package enters through the camera tunnel, it’ll read the label and tell the next system, ‘I’ve got this parcel, it’s this many inches long, send out this number of shoes so you could send it on this particular chute,’” Alexander explained.

Shifted, sorted, and packed away, the packages are ready to hit the road, right to the customer’s doorstep with the ease and efficiency of automation.

“It just means more reliability of you getting your parcels on time,” Alexander said.

With the expansion came 300 more jobs. It’s also part of a new initiative across the country. UPS will open 18 new or expanded facilities nationwide in 2019.

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