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Post NL upgrades post sorting machines with advanced OCR

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Dutch postal company, Post NL, has upgraded its automatic sorting machines for letters and flats with Prime Vision's external decision system (EDS).

At high speed, the EDS software aggregates the image supplied by the camera and information from diverse sensors on the sorting machine for stamp, meter mark and barcode detection, dimension measurement, and weighing. EDS then uses all this data to make a decision on facing, printing/cancelling and sorting the mail piece.

'The coding rules applied to EDS are flexible and scriptable, so adding extra coding capability is pretty easy,' explained Prime Vision's Pim Struik, head of software engineering. 'As a result, Post NL also asked us to develop a set of external intelligent devices, the main one being the facing and franking device (FFD) that will allow un-franked and under-franked mail to be detected so costs can be recovered. The system is also based on open interfaces so it is primed for expansion.'

EDS also allows business reply sorting, storage and retrieval of images and 2D barcode detection. A single EDS unit has the capacity to control up to four sorting machines and ultimately it will be linked into the video coding pool network at Post NL.

EDS was tested in Rotterdam with a production volume of 50,000 items. Struik said: 'Our LabelTool allowed us to review, at speed, images of all the mail pieces manually selected for re-run and compare the human and EDS decisions. And I’m delighted to report EDS made no mistakes. This gives an early indication that the new system will deliver important productivity gains for Post NL.'

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