As the load increases and the cost of an error increases, it becomes necessary to automate sorting operations. The conveyor approach involves the design and installation of conveyors that sort the flow of goods into categories. Sorting conveyors are quite diverse, from the simplest to highly automated. At the same time, for tasks that do not require frequent changes, pipeline sorting can be an economically optimal solution.
Modern warehouse complexes allow you to automate most sorting processes and solve a large amount of sorting tasks.
A modern sorting system cannot work without high performance software. Sorting often requires the transfer and processing of a huge amount of information about the cargo being handled. This information is either transmitted through communication channels or removed from the cargo label. Such tasks require advanced software and integration of serious scanner equipment for cargo identification.
The simplest and least expensive low speed sorters often work in conjunction with conventional roller or belt conveyors, and their sorting speed is typically below 30 pcs/min. In one of the embodiments of such equipment, a stationary or movable lever-deflector or a plate is placed across the conveyor, at the pick-up point. A box moving along a conveyor bumps into a lever and collides from the conveyor to the side onto another conveyor or into a chute.
There must be a large distance between the boxes on the conveyor so that each next box in front of the deflector does not collide with the previous one and does not prevent it from moving off the conveyor. Usually the deflector does not touch the belt or conveyor rollers. Such equipment sorts goods weighing up to 70 kg and can be used for sorting by
The movement of cargo in the conveyor line can be carried out not only by creating an extensive network of transportation routes, but also by using additional equipment for the redistribution of cargo flows.
The pneumatic pusher is installed on the frame above the transport route of the roller conveyor parallel to its longitudinal axis. The device has a pushing bar and a mechanism for plane-parallel movement of the pushing bar in the horizontal plane connected to the drive. Also, the device has a pneumatic stopper, which is able to suspend the transported cargo, which, when used in conjunction with a barcode scanner, allows you to automate the process of sorting and distributing goods along the conveyor line of the warehouse or production.
It can be used to sort fragile products. Most often, lifting wheel sorters are used in combination with two wide belt conveyors: the first ends at the pick-up point, and the second starts immediately after the pick-up point. In the gap between the conveyors there are rollers, the width of which is equal to the width of the conveyor. Between the rollers there are wheels having a drive and turned across the direction of movement of the conveyor or at an angle to it; the wheels are located below the surface of the conveyor belt. When the box reaches the gap between the conveyor belts, one of two things happens: the transverse wheels remain stationary, and the box continues to move forward – along the rollers to the next belt conveyor or the transverse wheels first rise, dragging the box along with them, and then, rotating, remove it from conveyor.
Roller sorters operate in a similar way, with a sorting speed of up to 150 units/min, and are capable of handling loads up to 225 kg.
Another type of sorting machine with rising working bodies consists of a belt conveyor, in which
instead of one wide one, there are several narrow tapes. At the point of removal, in the gap between the narrow conveyor belts, there are rows of transverse wheels. Until it is necessary to remove the load from the conveyor, the wheels are located below the surface of the conveyor belts. When the crate reaches the pickup point, the cross wheels lift the crate and remove it from the conveyor.
High speed tilting tray conveyors
High-speed sorters, capable of operating at approximately 150 to 400 units/min, require specialized equipment rather than conventional conveyors. Products can be fed into them manually or automatically by means of a feeding conveyor.
At the heart of each design is a closed guide along which the transporting elements move.
In a tilting tray sorting machine, each transport element carries a wooden or plastic tray onto which the incoming cargo is deposited. Trays with loads move along a closed path until the load reaches the appropriate pick-up point. The tray then tilts and the load slides off, usually onto a chute or side conveyor. In such trays, you can place goods and packages of various types and shapes. The empty tray returns to its previous straight position and is ready to receive the next load. The sorting speed of such equipment is up to 365 units/min. The angles of inclination of the system elements can be changed, for example, to increase the inclination of the chute in order to increase the speed of removing goods.
High speed sliding tray conveyors
In a sorting machine with sliding trays, each transport element carries a flat tray divided into two equal parts. When the load reaches the pick-off point, both halves of the tray open and the load falls into a chute or container located under the sorter. Such conveyors are usually cheaper than machines with inclining trays and transverse belt conveyors, however, their productivity is the smallest of the three mentioned. In addition, machines with tilting trays and cross conveyors are able to distribute long items, for example, they can put one long item on two trays or cross conveyors, while machines with sliding trays can only carry small loads. But the big advantage of the latter is that they can be located in a narrow room, since the containers for the distributed items are located under the sorting machine.
High speed cross belt conveyors
The sorting machine with a transverse stripping belt conveyor works on the same principle, but instead of a tray, each transport element carries a section of a belt conveyor 0.6 … 0.9 m long, which is driven by a small electric motor and is located at an angle of 90º to the main conveyor belt. When the load reaches the take-off point where the take-off conveyor is located, the electric motor drives it and the load moves from the main conveyor to the chute or to the side discharge conveyor. In this case, a very high sorting speed is achieved – over 670 units / min. It is possible to equip a plurality of cargo pick-up points, organize work along a closed route or sequentially. While the most expensive type of high-speed sorter, cross-belt sorters are more reliable and accurate than others because they are driven by electric motors rather than gravity. Thanks to this design, they work faster, and the removal points can be located closer to each other. The tilt tray sorter requires more clearance between pickup points than a cross conveyor sorter, but it has fewer moving parts and is therefore cheaper and easier to maintain.