Sortation Conveyors serve a number of unique functions. Not only do they provide transport and routing for a variety of parcel types, like conventional conveyor systems, they also provide a highly efficient and accurate way of sorting and consolidating parcels to help expedite order fulfillment, order processing, packaging, storing, palletizing, and shipping.
Capable of carrying parcels in various shapes and sizes from fully loaded pallets to sheets of paper, sortation conveyors offer a throughput capacity of up to 20,000 parcels per hour. This makes them a key component of any automated distribution center, fulfillment center, or warehouse automation operation.
A number of sub systems contribute to the formation of a sortation conveyor system. They include:
- The induction system, which controls item spacing, identification, and tracking.
- System Merges, both manual or automated types.
- The sortation conveyor itself, be it a looped or linear sorter.
- Chutes, conveyors, or drops used as sortation diverts.
Sortation conveyors subsystems are fully intgrated in one cohesive system and are operated and direct by machine controllers and a sophisticated warehouse control system.
Sortation Conveyor Categories and Types:
Sortation conveyors fall into two basic categories: Linear sorters and looped sorters.
Loop sortation conveyors sort in loops and can be configured with small radius curves to accommodate facility limitations and maximize use of space. Looped sortation conveyors are typically consist of a series of linked cells on a track. Inventory items are inducted onto sortation conveyor cells either automatically or manually at any point along the conveyor system. Items can be identified by either by associating it with a particular induction station, as is the case in many distribution systems, or by scanning it as it is carried on the conveyor. When the cell and associated inventory item arrives at the proper divert location, the divert trigger is actuated, guiding the item to the intended divert. Loop sortation conveyors include:
Linear sortation conveyors sort in a straight line. These sortation conveyors induct inventory items at the start of the conveyor and move them along a straight path, diverting them to either or both sides of the conveyor as needed. Linear sortation conveyors can be belt or chain driven. The diverting mechanisms for sortation conveyors can be mounted to the sortation conveyor or integrated into it. Types of linear sortation conveyors include:
Sortation Conveyor Configuration / Integration Considerations
Invata built warehouse automation systems use sortation conveyor technologies for reliable, high-speed item sortation. Conveyor systems are mainly chosen and configured based on a client’s throughput requirements and the requirements of the parcels themselves. But a rage of other considerations enter into the equation as well, including space limitations, facility configuration, durability, adaptability, operating costs, maintenance requirements, financial justification and expected ROI.
When it comes to choosing a sortation conveyor, accuracy, availability, longevity, and 24/7/365 support are of critical importance. Just as important, is the warehouse execution software consisting of warehouse management system and warehouse control system software that enables the sortation conveyor to be integrated a into a warehouse automation system.
Invata’s FastTrak® warehouse execution software plays a crucial role in achieving optimal performance for all types of sortation conveyors.
A key feature of Invata’s high-rate sortation conveyor systems is the FastTrak visualization software we use. Acting as a centralized monitoring system, this software enables device level monitoring of an entire sortation conveyor system, including the induction, merge, sorting, and takeaway subsystems. In doing so, it empowers essential oversight to system performance, diagnostics, and hardware status.
Invata offers a complete line of high capacity sortation conveyors designed to tackle the varying demands of today’s warehouse automation systems. As experts in the deployment of all types of sortation systems, we incorporate purpose built software and conveyor control systems that optimize distribution and fulfillment operations.
To learn more about what an Invata sortation conveyor can do for your operation, contact us, and we’ll be happy to share more about our rich history of employing sorter conveyors to magnify operational productivity.