– When I started during the summer of 1996, I was given a totally blank computer without any software. The times were different.
Det Nordjyske Mediehus (DNMH) needed an automated sorting solution to effectively handle the increasing number of packages they sort and distribute.
— We used to sort and scan every single package, Christian Hørbye Fabricius, Head of Logistics at DNMH, says. — The task was performed under great time pressure, as the amount of packages could vary greatly from day to day. We were in dire need of an effective solution to keep up with the demand.
12,526,692 units in one month
DNMH, in Aalborg, Denmark, is the largest privately owned media house in North Jutland and one of Denmark’s oldest – it dates back to1767.As part of the business, the distribution department delivers letters, magazines, newspapers and a large amount of packages to around 353.000 households, holiday homes and businesses in their coverage area.
The distribution operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Only last month, they delivered 12.526.692 units to mailboxes in North Jutland.
Module based sorting solution
To ensure they have the capacity to handle increasing distribution, DNMH chose the new module based sorting solution from HS News Systems.
This solution can effortlessly handle up to 6000 units per hour, depending on the size and shape of the packages.
Although the solution offers many advantages, the modularity and limitless scaling possibilities was the deciding factor for DNMH.
— We wanted to future-proof our ability to quickly sort and distribute the increasing number of packages, but we also saw several work
environment benefits. Handling and sorting packages manually could be stressful for some of our employees. We wanted a system that would improve the working environment for them, Christian says.
Recommended by a long-standing partner
DNMH were recommended to HS by one of their long-standing partners, who are a supplier of production equipment.
They are satisfied that they have a sorting solution equipped for future challenges.
— The collaboration between DNMH and HS News Systems has been extremely professional and productive. Our inputs and wishes for the system that we continuously brought have been heard and quickly implemented. The collaboration has resulted in us today having a really good and complete sorting solution, which we are very happy about, Christian finishes.
Our new HS News Systems Headquarters building is soon ready for us to take over.
At the start of 2021 HS News selected the location where they could build their new Headquarters, specifically designed for them. It is in a brand new industrial area of Kongsberg. There are not many buildings there yet, but they are coming.
– Because this is a new area and we are one of the first to build here, there were a lot of permits that need to be filled out and approved by the municipality. During the summer we got all the premissions we needed and could start building, says Martine Hognestad Managing Director of HS News Systems.
The official take over date is in week 7, but when HS News will actually move in is unsure.
– Our current lease ends in March, so we have plenty of time to move in to our new place.
– There are many people working simultaneously to ensure that we finish in time and we have a weekly meeting with Hallgruppen to monitor progress. It has been a fun and exciting process so far, but the largest job for us is yet to come. That is to clean up and move out of the old building and in to the new one. We can’t wait! says Martine excitedly.
Finn Hogstad has the most experience of any employee of HS-News Systems. – When I started in the summer of 1996, I was given a totally blank computer without any software. The times were different back then, says Hogstad.
– I started my career as an apprentice mechanic at, what was then called, Kongsberg weapon factory. It was known locally simply as «The factory» by the people of Kongsberg.
– I went on to become an Industrial Mechanic at Vestfossen Mek and later I ended up in Media Craft AS. Some of us went on to start the company which is today HS News Systems.
During the almost 26 years that Finn has been employed by HS News Systems, there has been rapid technological developments.
– Of course it’s fun to have been part of the whole journey of the company. In the beginning, we drew the packaging machines in 2D. It was a terrible job, which was both difficult and time consuming.
– Transforming a two dimension drawing into a three dimension drawing is not always easy and straight forward.
– Today we fortunately have far better tools and software compared to what we had back in the day. What took us half a year to develop, now only takes a couple of months. In that regard the turnaround time has decreased significantly, Hogstad explains.
Ever changing markets
Finn believes the future is bright for HS News Systems. With new and fast developing consumer behavior, new opportunities and markets are opening up for HS News Systems.
– The pandemic has really accelerated e-commerce and new trading patterns are emerging. In response we have recently delivered two brand new pilot plants in Denmark for package sorting.
–The past two years have really shown us the importance of being in tune with these new and ever changing markets. We thrive to be a part of these changes, Finn explains.
– Our new headquarters is built specifically for our needs and workflow. This enables us to deliver even better products and systems for our customers.
It has been an exciting journey. I can´t wait for the continuation!Finn Hogstad,Mechanical Engineer
After several years in the same location HS News is now ready for a new start!
The department in Kongsberg has rented a facility for several years and HS News has been on the lookout for a new space, but the right fit has never come up. Until now. When the properties at Basserudåsen came out for sale it was the perfect opportunity for HS News to take the step and invest in a new facility.
At the end of 2021 the new establishment will be ready for HS News to start moving in.
– We have designed a building and warehouse that will fit us perfectly. It is a bit smaller than the unit we have now, which has a big storage space that we do not need. The new facility will have offices for all our employees and a conference room for meetings, Martine Wagener, Managing Director, explains.
– This will be a fresh start for us and we are very excited to take ownership over this project and make this our own, Martine says excitedly.
HS News Systems is exploring new technology in order to offer more comprehensive solutions for warehousing, automation and intralogistics.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our solutions and to offer our customers updated technology”, Martine Y. Hognestad, Managing Director at HS News Systems, says.
Development and integration of robot technology
In order to fully realise the benefits and maximise the potential of robot technology, HS News Systems are investing in in-house robotic equipment. This enables them to provide fast experimentation, research and development of new solutions, along with increased quality control testing.
Read more about HS News Systems history.
The robot technicians at HS News Systems possess the latest technical knowledge on how to best integrate robot technology into new and existing solutions.
Automation Technician Henrik Hansen at HS News Systems is Head of robotic solutions and integration. He has been working with PLC programming and development at HS News Systems for seven years.
Exciting potential and possibilities
“The small collaborative robot (cobot) from Universal Robots has very good developer tools, and we look forward to apply them to test different tasks. We are also exploring opportunities with robot vision utilising a 3D camera. The potential and possibilities are very exciting to us”, Henrik says.
See the cobot in action bellow.
Developing increased Robot intelligence is a continuing project within HS News Systems. A main goal is to develop Robot technology sufficiently, so the robots can teach themselves to perform tasks successfully based on a simple task description.
“It is of strategic importance that we should develop new solutions for our existing customers. It is also important in our aim of reaching new markets”, Martine says.
In 1995 the experienced engineers Rune Sletterød and Jon Hognestad started up HS News Systems. Their vision was to create smart solutions that could streamline distribution of print media.
HS News Systems was the first company to offer this kind of automatic solutions for distribution of magazines and other print media. Their products HS Returns, HS Packing and HS StockRoom revolutionised the market.
Went all in… and succeeded!
“Back in 1995 we saw a need for automation in the magazine industry. The industry was known for large volumes, which meant that automatic systems for packing could give significant cost savings. Jon Hognestad, Director and Owner of HS News Systems”, explains.
Hognestad and Sletterød own HS News Systems fifty-fifty, and are joint directors of respective hardware and software departments. Both are software and control engineers and have experience from the Kongsberg industry.
Their broad experience in this industry was perhaps their greatest advantage in the process of starting up HS News Systems. Their philosophy all the way has been to use that experience, along with the use of off-the-shelf products and local suppliers.
“I also believe one of the main reasons for our success has been the strategy of employing people with an understanding of the latest technologies”, explains Rune.
Discovering the need for improvement in the magazine industry, they went all in and succeeded. Today HS News Systems has customers all over the world, and products well fit for use in any industry.
Dependent on brave customers
In the very first year there were three people employed in HS News Systems. The three of them started the hard work on the road to success, and developed products and solutions which were tested in Jon’s garage.
“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of travelling to get our products known, to convince our customers of the positive effects and to implement our solutions”, Rune recalls.
“Quite soon we got an agreement with our first customer, the Finnish distributor of print media. They are the only distributor of magazines in Finland and distributes print media to amongst 8000 stores all over the country”, Jon explains.
“The contract we got in Finland at an early stage became decisive. That agreement, in addition to the need we discovered in the market, made us believe even more in our solutions. We were at that time dependent on brave customers, who dared to implement new solutions”, Rune recalls.
Distribution of beer and medicines
The adventure started with packing and distribution, but soon evolved into handling of returned product. Today it has grown into even more complex solutions and functions. Web shops and wholesalers distributing small packages could all benefit from use of HS News Systems solutions. The company has always taken pride in developing solutions that fit the precise needs of the customer.
“For us it is all about helping the customers to get more structure and a rational operation. Close customer relations are therefore important when we implement and develop solutions”, says Rune.
“It is exciting to see our systems being used for distribution of products other than was originally intended. Our solutions are today used for distribution of beer and medicines, amongst others”, Jon states with a grin.
Meeting the needs of future customers
In September 2015 Jon’s daughter, Martine Y. Hognestad, started her career in HS News Systems as a trainee. She quickly realized that her father’s company was an exciting place to work. Since June 2018 she has been Managing Director at HS News Systems.
“Growing up I never planned to follow in my father’s footsteps, but coincidences made it this way. Today I see HS News Systems as an exciting place to work, with skilful and fantastic colleagues”, Martine summarises.
Both Martine, Jon and Rune are looking forward to the making of new solutions which meet the requirements of both new and existing customers. One of the company’s biggest advantages is the small, flexible and quick organisation, ideally suited for the development of customized solutions.
“We are now using robots and visual solutions based on cameras and artificial vision. It’s exciting to make new functions and continuously improve our solutions through new technology, based on needs in the market and new technology”, Jon explains.