APWU: Pilot test to begin on new DBCS the “ALPS” in two installations

…….. update on the Advanced Letter Processing System (ALPS). There are now two vendors Solystic and Siemens. These vendors have developed machines to be installed in Richmond, VA and Oklahoma City, OK.  The Solystic prototype is currently being installed in Richmond, VA and tentatively scheduled to be running in November, 2017. The Siemens prototype is scheduled to be running in Oklahoma City, OK tentatively in December 2017. It is anticipated that the pilot program would only run until January 2018, with an alleged possible extension. During this pilot period the machines will be manned by the suppliers (vendors).  There is currently no plan for any future pilot sites.  We were also told that that the APWU will be invited to a site visit at each installation once these machines are up and running.  

A diagram of the Siemens machine is pictured below:


This machine consists of one (1) DBCS machine, an auto-feed /auto-induction module, a tray management system and a mobile staging farm. The machine is totally automated and requires staffing of ½ person. This machines can allegedly sort 5 delivery zones simultaneously. Pass 1 and Pass 2 are completely automated.  

The diagram for the Solystic machine is forth coming. The machine consists of two (2) DBCS machines and the staging area is in the center between the two (2) machines. This machine has the same capabilities as the other porotype described above.  The machine is totally automated and requires staffing of ½ person. This machine also allegedly sorts 5 delivery zones simultaneously. Pass 1 and Pass 2 are completely automated.  


APWU was first notified of the ALPS machine at a Mech and Tech meeting – March, 2016. Any questions or concerns please contact APWU Clerk Division.

Lynn Pallas-Barber
Assistant Clerk Craft Director
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

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46 thoughts on “APWU: Pilot test to begin on new DBCS the “ALPS” in two installations

  1. NASA astronaut to Russian Cosmonaut. See this pen? It cost 10 million dollar to invent, develop & fabricate. It writes in zero gravity, at any angle or atmospheric pressure.
    The Russian Cosmonaut reached in his pocket. We use pensil.
    First rule in engineering.
    Keep it simple, STUPID!
    Former custodial & delivery staff that made it to Washington in USPS’s incestful management structure (let’s keep it all in the family) can only repeat what they heard in playing the “yes man”. Cut labor.
    True improvement will never happen in the USPS.
    An efficient post office would shut down UPS & FedEx. USPS has a Congress given unfair competitive advantage. Tax free & unchained of regulations such as asbestos rules.
    Just ride the public coattails & get your pension 2 months before you due.

  2. There is a serious disconnect at USPS.
    Cutting edge A.I. robotics exists. Yes, a “lights out” plant can exist. AKA- Tesla Giga Battery plant or Amazon’s distribution centers.
    USPS is hardly either private company.
    This organization operates hundreds of facilities with asbestos. Massive mold contamination. Is currently under OSHA mandated higher than standard employee electrical standards (EWP). provides employees contaminated drinking water.
    Basically operates many of it’s 32,000 under 3rd world conditions.
    USPS technology is a carrier’s stool, sorting table & LLV with 500,000 mile & hundreds of frame hairline cracks. They can buy all the A.I. robotic vacuum cleaners they want. All the “hands-free” sorters Siemens can sell them.
    In the end, the mail has to be delivered. There are no magic drones, robots or A.I. that’s going to let USPS get out of paying 80% of it’s income as labor costs.
    What would anyone expect from a federal agency with approximate 1,000,000 employees run by janitors & delivery drivers?

  3. Wow!!!
    When these machines hit critical mass, there will be a second round of plant closings.

    This may be the death knell for the APWU and NAPS.

  4. No need to worry.Most zones use minimum 175 bins for first pass, some 200 plus. I work at nashville PDC and have ran all the different runs we have. There are no runs where you could even put two of them on this machine.seems like more wasted money.like to see the robot cull curled mail and flip over the catalogs.

  5. I started in 1988. We started at 6 am, cased everything, were done by 2:30 or 3..OT was very rare. Now we start at 8 am, work till 6:30 or later, bring back sometimes a foot of dps missorts. My last day 10-27. !!!!!!!!!

  6. TO IMAGINE NATION……no some guy who just walks around look to see what can be cut next…I feel he is there to close down the plant..


      • Your cushy EAS job will get cut also…when the plants close, the district offices will be toast also.

        If you don’t touch the mail, then you’re useless overhead, Captain.

    • The union can’t do a damn thing about this. As in the economy overall, automation cannot be stopped. How many jobs in manufacturing and mining have been lost to automation over the last 20 or so years? It’s not going to stop, regardless of what Trump or Bernie say. Self-driving trucks will put about 3.5 million truckers out of work. Retail jobs will soon largely be history. Even the professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, bankers, engineers will be affected, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. I’m glad I’m an old fart on my way out. I’d advise anyone who can retire to get out now, and hope that Trump and the Republican scum in Congress can’t trash our pensions and other benefits. Of course that means getting the Democrats back in control, but even then it’s not a sure thing.

  8. Isn’t the DBCS already using 1 clerk? Very rarely you see 2 clerks on a machine. They should be looking for way to reduce staffing on management. We have so many supervisors and 204B’s standing and staring that it feels like a prison yard.

  9. To Tom, by any chance is an Yvonne G. your new plant manager in Richmond? She is out of our P&DC on a “detail.” Of anyone that can destroy a plant, she’s your girl.

  10. As an MPE I like how people put it maintenance. You know no idea how many screw ups we fix because operators don’t know what they are doing.

  11. The bozos in mgmt. obviously didn’t learn anything from the FSS fiasco. More billions wasted by mgmt. with no accountability. Typical.

    But when your friend, relative, etc. is part of the contract, hard to pass up the kickbacks.

    Which is how postal contracts work. How about that even admitted by mgmt. annual $300 million lost to corrupt contracts ? Anyone working on correcting that ?

    Didn’t think so. Meanwhile, they blame those who actually do the work of moving and delivering the mail for all the financial woes.

  12. They keep coming up with ways to reduce employees but I have yet to see one less Supv which costs over $100k a year. Save some money, reduce Mgnt and the job will get done quicker, cheaper and more efficiently.

  13. Whatever seems to work and make or save money for USPS. I don’t believe, though, that there are half people that are available for USPS to task for this project.

  14. 20 years of Automation, it’s really a joke because parts in the machines do not last long and it’s designed by Human and flaws of design are of Human. Machines will always have problems. Cost of parts are expensive well. Rejected letters goes to Manual. I have witnessed increase of Manual jobs due to machine problems that cannot be resolved.

  15. The ALPS machine, they must have been high to design this letter version of the FSS.
    Letter mail down,flat mail down WTF, whens the new APBS coming 5 years after Amazon takes over.

    • To yearight
      Enough of the fortune telling….(fill in blank) years until (fill in blank) happens. I’ve been hearing fortune telling my entire career and more often than not, it is not accurate…just rumor and conjecture.

      • Where will they send Richmond’s mail? Maryland? Raleigh or Greensboro? Richmond has sucked up Norfolk and Charlottesville, and there was likely some rejoicing among Richmond employees. So are they now to get a taste of their own medicine? Check out what happened in Jersey after the anthrax attacks – Kilmer and Red Bank were riding high, but look what happened. They’re mainly gone but Trenton is still there. Karma works in mysterious ways sometimes.

  16. Don’t worry Ricky and the boys in maintenance will screw things up .why are they testing machine in Richmond? Because they are going to closed the plant ,and if machine can’t do job it will have no effect in the area..NEW PLANT MANAGER who is close to retirement, is here to shut plant down….

  17. Letter-sized volume continues to delcline. USPS investing in self-feeding DBCS/DPS’s,is about as sensible,as Apple or in this case Siemens (a German business-machine corporation);considering buying teletype machines or electric-typewriters,that are robotically operated.

  18. That is a good joke! Any machine that does not require a human attendant exists only in your imagination.

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