Sporty sorting systems

Decathlon is a brand of the French Oxylane Group, a network of sports apparel, products, brands and retail, and one of Equinox´s repeat customers. Over the years, several sorter installations have been installed in Belgium, France, and Hungary. Bussy-Saint-Georges is the home of the latest Equinox sorter installation.

The main reason for Decathlon to change the sorting process in their warehouses a few years ago was their wish to obtain a higher efficiency and accuracy by optimising the logistic workflow through automation.

Several sorters

The decision for automating the process ultimately led to the request for the installation of a test sorter in Willebroek (Belgium). The main contractor for this installation was Equinox’s partner Transitic, a French system integrator. Equinox was responsible for the delivery of the complete sorter installation including software and controls and peripheral systems. Decathlon tested the sorter extensively and decided to select Equinox as the supplier for several split tray sorters with a wide oval layout.

RFID readers

Decathlon products are, e.g., sports clothing and shoes and sports accessories such as equestrian gear, fishing equipment, balls, weights, socks. Products are batch picked and arrive at the sorters in large magnums. To get the magnums to the induction positions, e.g., in Bussy-Saint-Georges, two magnum lifts are used per platform. This way operators receive a steady flow of products. This is one of our proven ways to increase operator efficiency and induction capacity. The products are manually inducted into trays after the product ID is read by RFID readers or barcode scanners located at the induction points. Decathlon was one of the first companies to employ these RFID readers. The sorters are all fitted with split trays to drop the products via a tilting plate directly into a standard plastic tote on the left or right side of the sorter. Besides, products can also be dropped into a magnum via an "add-on chute".

Bussy Wide Oval Sorter

The Bussy Wide Oval Sorter is provided with two induction platforms with three induction positions each and there are 560 destinations in total. Once the totes are full, an operator pushes them onto a takeaway conveyor belt underneath the installation and they emerge at the end of the sorter for the next step in Decathlon’s logistics process. Operators link empty totes, with a unique ID, to sorter destinations by means of a handheld scanner to track tote content. Apart from software tracking the content, Equinox also supplied software for e.g., auditing the tote content. The Bussy sorter can also be used for processing e-commerce orders.

Sorting fashion

Split tray sorters are very suitable for sorting fashion items. They combine a large number of destinations with a compact layout. Not surprisingly, several other French fashion retail companies also use sorter installations provided by Equinox and Transitic.

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