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Sortation Conveyor

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A sorting conveyor is used to assemble material with a similar characteristic by correctly identifying the similar merchandise and transporting it to the same location. There are many different types of sorting conveyors in use, and are distinguished by the method used to divert items into accumulation lanes and the resulting sortation capacity. The most popular sortation conveyors are listed below:

Deflectors are stationary or moveable arms which deflect product flow across a belt or roller conveyor to the desired location. A deflector is necessarily in position before the item to be sorted reaches the discharge point. Stationary arms remain in a fixed position and represent a barrier to items coming in contact with them. With the stationary arm deflector, all items are deflected in the same direction. Movable arm or pivoted paddle deflectors are impacted by the item to be sorted in the same manner as the stationary arm deflector. However, the element of motion has been added. With the movable arm deflector, items are selectively diverted. Pivoted deflectors may be equipped with a belt conveyor flush with the surface of the deflector to speed or control the divert. Deflectors can support between 1200 to 2000 cartons per hour for loads up to 75 pounds.

Push Diverters are similar to deflectors in that they do not contact the conveying surface, but sweep across to push the product off the opposite side. Push diverters are mounted beside (air or electric powered) or above the conveying surface (paddle pushers) and are able to move items faster and with greater control than a deflector. Overhead push diverters are capable of moving products to either side of the conveying surface, whereas side-mounted diverters move conveyed items in one direction only; to the side opposite that on which they are mounted. Push diverters have a capacity of 3600 cases per hour for loads up to 100 pounds.

Rake Pullers are best applied when the items to be sorted are heavy and durable. Rake puller tines fit into slots between powered or non-powered roller conveyors. Upon command, a positioning stop device and the tines pop up from beneath the roller conveyor surface to stop the carton. The tines pull the carton across the conveyor, and then drop below the roller surface for a noninterference return to the starting position. During the return stroke, the next carton can be moving into position.

Moving Slat Conveyors are differentiated from other sorting conveyors by the fact that the divert takes place in-line along the roller conveyor. A fork in the conveying path re-directs selected items into their appropriate sorting locations.

Pop-Up Skewed Wheels are capable of sorting flat-bottomed items. The skewed wheel device pops up between the rollers of a powered roller conveyor or between belt conveyor segments and directs sorted items onto a powered take-away lane. Rates of between 5,000 and 6,000 cases per hour can be achieved.

Tilting Slat Conveyors are configured so that the product occupies a set number of slats required to contain it’s length. The sort is executed by tilting the occupied slats. Hence, tilting slat sorters are best applied when a wide variety of product lengths will be handled. The tilting slat is capable of tilting in either direction. Slats may be arranged in continuous over-and-under configuration.

Tilt Tray Sorters are used for separating smaller goods during transport. Continuous chains of tilting trays are used to sort a wide variety of lightweight merchandise on a tilt tray sorter. The trays may be fed manually, or by one of the many types of induction devices available. Tilt tray systems can sort to either side of the sorter. Tilt tray sorters do not discriminate for the shape of the product being sorted. Bags, boxes, envelopes, documents, software, etc. can all be accommodated. The tilt tray sorter is not appropriate for long items. Rates of 10,000 to 15,000 items per hour can be achieved.

Cross Belt Sorters are so-named because each item rests on a carrier equipped with a separate powered section of belt conveyor which operates orthogonal to the direction of material transport. Hence, the sorting capacity is enhanced and the width of the accumulating chutes can be reduced.

Bombardier Sorters are so-named because items are dropped down through swinging doors much like bombs are dropped from the belly of an airplane.
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