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|Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH)|
|Owner||UPS (United Parcel Service)|
The Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH) is a package sorting facility for United Parcel Service, located in the village of Hodgkins, Illinois. One CTA bus route 169, four Pace bus routes, 390, 392, 395 and 890, serves this facility for weekday UPS shifts.
This facility serves as a sorting facility for packages travelling in the United States and the world. Construction of the CACH facility began in October 1991 at the site previously occupied by the GM Truck and Bus manufacturing plant, with the CACH facility opening on March 31, 1995. The facility has an area of 48.9 acres (198,000 m2), and has a perimeter of 3.1 miles (5.0 km). It employs over 9,000 people available to work one of the four shifts. Packages are only handled during loading and unloading, all sorting takes place through a system of conveyor belts and push paddles, utilizing high-speed cameras to read the destination from a smart label to sort a package to its trailer.
While CACH does not service package cars, the facility sorts approximately 1.6 million packages per day. During the months of November and December, volume can exceed 3 million packages per day. UPS's web tracking system used to list the CACH as "CACH, IL." Since there is no city named CACH, this confused customers. As a response, the company now lists the facility as "HODGKINS, IL" or "Hodgkins, IL."
UPS also has a location called "Hodgkins, IN" that is sometimes confused with CACH. It is a place where trailers switch in between singles, doubles, and triples, because the Illinois location doesn't allow some or all trailers and the Indiana location does. The facility is located in Hammond, Indiana at I-90 (Indiana Toll Road) & Calumet Ave (U.S. Route 41) off of the eastbound freeway entrance ramp . It is informally called West Point by UPS. There's another UPS truck parking lot south of the nearby Public Storage.
Incoming trailers dock at the primary section of CACH, located in the center of the facility. There are 174 trailers in this section, separated into sections of three, called p-modules. Here, packages and bags of small packages are taken out of trailers and put on movable conveyor belts. Individual small packages are put in boxes and sent to the small sort section of the building. The packages are then read in a tunnel by 16 scanners and a camera, which signals a series of paddles to divert the packages onto other conveyor belts. When a box is scanned, the box is diverted to the small sort on the mezzanine, or second level of the building. Items that are not diverted go onto conveyor belts or the DA (Data Acquisition), which relabels packages. Open packages are unloaded from the primary section and put on one of two conveyor belts to be sorted.
Small package sort
The small package sort is located at CACH, and operates by unloading incoming packages and distributing them into other bags. Small packages are bagged at the east/west boundary and a series of conveyor belts, called bullfrogs on the mezzanine. All small packages are sent to a series of sorting machines. The small package sort contains 14 sorting machines, including primary and secondary levels of sorting machines. Small packages are organized and sent to inductors to place small packages on a conveyor of machines. The small packages are read in a tunnel and diverted into their appropriate bags. Once bags are filled, they are placed on a conveyor belt to be sent to the outbound area to be loaded and the full bag is replaced by an empty bag.
After sorting is complete, packages proceed to the loading trailers, which are located in the outbound area. There are 10 outbound areas at CACH, located on opposite ends of the facility. Each outbound area contains four docks with 21 bays each (except for outbounds 1 and 2, which contain six docks each), for a total of 1,058 loading bays. Outbounds 2 and 9 are used for extra packages. Packages coming out of the facility are sorted into secondaries, which divide packages to be sent to the front or back of the outbounds and then to the two docks on either side. From there, packages are read, scanned, and diverted down into trailers to be sent out. Some trailers sent out are then sent to the BNSF rail yard to be loaded onto a train.
- David Medberry, actual tracked packages on 2012-02-24.