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Types of Sortation Conveyors and How To Choose the Right One

Types of Sortation Conveyors and How To Choose the Right One

November 15, 2021

Sortation is a key function required in many warehouses and facilities, especially as production becomes more large-scale. Prior to the introduction of automated mechanisms into conveyor lines, sortation occurred manually and was an incredibly labour-intensive process. Workers had to quickly pick out items and distribute them into different conveyor lines. Nowadays, conveyor accessories and software are used to conduct sortation on an automated basis, guaranteeing precision and the speeding up of overall processes.

There are many different kinds of sorters that can be added to your conveyor systems.

Here are some of the most popular sortation systems:


  • Sliding Shoe Sorter:

    This sorter is best suited for high-speed sorting. It is constructed with aluminum slats and uses sliding shoes to divert products. Even though it is rated for high speeds, its gentle sortation makes it perfect for handling smaller and more fragile products.
  • Narrow Belt Sorter:

    As its name implies, this sorter consists of multiple narrow belts that are separated by pop-up rollers. It diverts products at 30 and 90-degree angles, allowing for more control over product movement. Because of its compact construction, it is best suited for facilities with limited floor space.
  • Pusher Sorter:

    This sorter has close divert centers and uses a pushing arm to divert products onto another conveying line that is typically placed perpendicularly to the main conveying line. Like the narrow belt sorter, it is also viable for facilities with limited floor space.
  • Sweep Sorter:

    The sweep sorter functions similarly to the pusher sorter but uses bi-directional paddles instead. Because of its sweeping mechanism, it is better suited for handling standard poly bags and other small packages.
  • Belted Pivot Wheel Sorter:

    The sorter uses two sets of pivoting wheels to divert products. It can have single or dual-sided diverts, making for highly efficient and productive processes. It is best suited for sorting medium-sized packages and can be arranged to have close divert centres.
  • Cross-belt Sorter:

    A cross-belt sorter consists of a chain of carts mounted on the main track, also known as a carrier. These carts are actually small bi-directional conveyor belts. The sorter can be laid out in a straight line or made to loop, processing a high number of sortation operations per minute and providing a high density of divert locations.
  • Tilt Tray Sorter:

    Like a cross-belt sorter, tilt tray sorters consisting of individual parts to facilitate high density and high-speed sortation. This type of sorter is lined with trays, each one carrying a product. The tray can then be tilted to dispense the product into a chute.

When selecting the right sortation conveyor for your facility, you will need to bear in mind a number of different considerations. As you can tell from the list above, each conveyor is designed for different scenarios. Here are the considerations to keep in mind when choosing a sortation conveyor: type of product to be handled (including specifications for weight, packaging type, and size), speed required, and floor space.

For all your conveyor needs, you can rely on the experts at Norpak Handling to provide you with the best conveyor equipment and systems solutions. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

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