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Sortation Systems

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Sortation systems are used to separate a single stream of goods with mixed destinations into multiple streams, each of which has a common destination within a material handling system.  The sortation system usually consists of sortation software, a metering and sorter unit and conveyors to feed product to and take product away from the sorter unit.

Sortation systems are most commonly used in distribution facilities to separate picked product by order, customer or shipping destination.  Simple, low speed sortation may also be used in manufacturing and assembly systems to segregate product into homogeneous groups or direct items to the appropriate assembly, packaging, storage or shipping operation.

The type of sortation equipment required depends on item shape, size, weight, the volume to be sorted and the sortation rate.  Larger products and lower volumes can often be sorted by very common conveyor components such as pop-up transfers while small products and high volumes require purpose-built sortation units.  Integrated Systems Design can help you select the best solution for your operation.

Some of the more common types of sorter units that Integrated Systems Design provides are as follows:

Sliding Shoe Sorters

Shoe Sorters (also called slat sorters) are gentle on products and provide a positive divert at rates from 75 to more than 300 items per minute.  Shoe sorters can handle a wide variety of product sizes, shapes and weights because the products are carried along the unit on a slat-type metal belt.  They're an excellent choice when the product being sorted is fragile or easily damaged.  Shoe sorters can be configured with diverts on one or both sides of the sorter unit.

ISD Sliding Shoe Sorter

Sliding Shoe Sorters

Narrow Belt Sorters

The Narrow Belt Sorter has multiple parallel, narrow belts that transport the product.  Wheels or rollers pop-up between the belts to accurately divert product down the appropriate divert lane or chute.  Diverts can be positioned at a right angle to the sorter unit or at a 30° angle depending on the sorter model.  Depending on product size, narrow belt sorters can sort items up to a rate of 200 per minute and are much quieter and more efficient than most other sorter units.  This type of sorter is primarily used to sort small to medium-size items such as Audio CDs, DVDs, boxes, cartons, totes, etc.  Because of its design, narrow belt sorters can also be used to sort unusual items such as small tires.  Divert lanes can be positioned on both sides of a narrow belt sorter and can be placed as close together as 18" for small products.

ISD Narrow Belt Sorter

Narrow Belt Sorters

Pop-up Wheel Sorters

This type of sorter uses a series of angled divert wheels, installed in a live roller conveyor, that pop-up to divert products off the sorter at a 30 degree angle.  Items can be sorted at rates up to 60 per minute.  These sorters are typically designed to divert products off only one side of the unit, but custom configurations are available.

ISD Pop-up Wheel Sorter

Pop-up Wheel Sorters

Right Angle Pop-up Belt or Chain Sorters

This right angle sorter uses a series of pop-up round-belt or chain transfers positioned in a live roller conveyor to divert items at a right angle off either side of the sorter.  Its simple design makes this a low cost solution that can sort items up to 5,000 lbs or more with rates up to 40 items per minute depending on product size.

ISD Right Angle Pop-up Belt Chain Sorter

Right Angle Pop-up Belt or Chain Sorters

Pivoting Arm Sorters

These sorters use arms that pivot across a conveyor to divert product off the sorter at a 30, 45 or 90 degree angle.  Pivoting arm sorters can be mounted to either side of a belt or a live roller conveyor and can handle products weighing up to 60 lbs.  Because they can be mounted on a belt conveyor, they can divert products that are difficult to convey such as bagged products.  Depending on product size, rates of up to 90 items per minute can be achieved with these sorters.

ISD Pivoting Arm Sorter

Pivoting Arm Sorters

Right Angle Pusher Sorters

Pusher sorters can be mounted on either side of a conveyor and are used to sort items difficult to convey such as bagged products.  Pushers can divert items at a right angle off the sortation unit, at up to 60 items per minute, onto another conveyor or into a chute.

ISD Right Angle Pusher Sorter

Right Angle Pusher Sorters

Transfer Car Sorters

This type of sortation utilizes a conveyor mounted on a shuttling, rail-mounted car to move large, heavy loads from one or more input location to one or more output lanes.  The loads are usually transferred onto and off of the transfer car by adjacent conveyors.  Heavy loads of 5,000+ lbs and large physical size can be handled by these types of sorters.  Sortation rates are usually low due to the distance between conveyors and the slower conveyor speed used.

Tilt Tray Sorters

Tilt tray sorters use tilt-able trays attached to a continuous chain system that travels in a loop.  The trays can be tilted to either side of the sorter and require that the goods to be sorted will slide off the tray into a chute when the tray tilts.  High sortation rates for item weights up to 165 lbs. are possible for a wide variety of goods such as magazines, bagged clothing, frozen foods, cartons, etc.  Long items that span two trays can be easily accommodated on this type of sorter.

Cross Belt and Quad Belt Sorters

Cross belt and quad belt sorters are similar to tilt tray sorters except, instead of trays, they carry the items on short belt conveyors oriented perpendicular to the sorter's direction of travel.  Because they use belt conveyors to divert the items off the sorter, they can easily and precisely deposit the items on take-away conveyors as well as in chutes.  Like tilt tray sorters, they can handle a very broad range of packaging, weights and shapes - including some items that won't slide off a tilt tray sorter.  Quad belt sorters look like two cross belt sorters running side by side.  They operate essentially the same as a cross belt sorter but have the highest sortation rate available today.  No matter what your sortation requirements are, Integrated Systems Design has the equipment and software to get the job done.

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