Sorting equipment is used to separate dissimilar items into predetermined groupings as part of an automated process. There are many different types of sorting machines. Kick sorters move parts, items, or cartons from one side of conveyor to another. Paddle sorters and pop-up sorters also move items, but are bidirectional. Paddle sorters use a system of overhead paddles while pop-up sorters use powered rollers that are rise and fall between parallel belts. Cross belt sorters can handle a wide variety of products, regardless of size, weight and surface characteristics. When integrated with other equipment, cross belt sorters cancan also perform dispensing, identification, and labeling operations. Large, complex sorting equipment can also be incorporated into order fulfillment systems for items such as books, compact discs (CDs), and shrink-wrapped software.
Robotic Sorting and Feeding
Selecting Sorting Equipment
Selecting sorting equipment requires an analysis of product specifications, features, and applications. Size and speed are especially important considerations. Most automated sorters list the rate in pieces per minute (ppm). Automated machines may include an integral feeder and computer interface that connects the sorter to a control network. Typically, sorting machines made of stainless steel or other durable, corrosion-resistant materials. Aseptic or sanitary sorters are easy to clean and designed to inhibit the growth or presence of pathogenic microrganisms. Portable sorters are lightweight and include wheels or caster for ease of movement. In terms of applications, sorters are used widely in the cosmetic, medical, pharmaceutical and consumer product applications. Sorting equipment is also food, beverages, electronics, semiconductors, stationary, tobacco, and mail.
Mail Sorting Equipment
Mail sorting equipment is used by the United States Postal Service (USPS), mail consolidators, and businesses that send and receive large volumes of mail. Typically, barcodes and optical character recognition (OCR) technology are used in high-speed equipment, some of which can reach speeds of nearly 40,000 pieces per hour (pph). With some sorting systems, integral software allows mail room managers to set parameters so that mail can be sorted by street address, post office box number, department, or company name. Mail sorting equipment with local video encoding (LVE) can be used to process to non-OCR readable mail, such as handwritten envelopes.