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, How Do Mail Sorting Machines Work?

For the better part of history, mail was delivered by hand or in person. Probably the most famous is Pheidippides who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news that the Greeks had defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Today, mail is sorted and processed using high-tech machines, such as the mail sorting machines engineered by NPI. Below, we’ll take a brief look at how mail sorting machines work. Contact us today!

, How Do Mail Sorting Machines Work?

Machines Separate the Mail by Shape and Size

Once mail reaches a central processing station, they are first separated by size and shape. Letters are separated from large envelopes and packages. This is called culling. The machine then orients the letters so they all face the same way with the right side up. The mail sorting machine also scans for postage to know it has been paid for and then applies a cancellation line so the postage cannot be reused.

, How Do Mail Sorting Machines Work?

Machines Scan for Bar or Postal Codes

Each mail sorting machine works a bit differently from others, but, in general, each piece of mail is then marked with a barcode or a postal code after it has been culled. The machines read these codes at high rates of speed and then begin the sorting process.

, How Do Mail Sorting Machines Work?

Machines Separate the Packages and Letters Based on the Barcode

Next, other mail sorter machines separate packages and letters based on the barcodes that have been applied that tell them delivery location. The packages are separated based on delivery, and a delivery barcode is applied.

, How Do Mail Sorting Machines Work?

Mail Ready for Delivery is Then Sent to the Carrier Location

The mail that is now ready for delivery is taken to the carrier location. The carrier then delivers the sorted mail to the appropriate address. The mail is automatically sorted for the carrier by address, which has saved hours on the carrier doing this manually.


While the mail sorting industry is a bit more complicated than the process described above, you get a good idea of how mail sorting machines have introduced automation and efficiencies into the process that has allowed for both the cost of mail to consumers to go down and for delivery times to speed up. To get started, contact our mail sorting company today!