Best-in-Class Sortation Logic & Diagnostics Support: 6 Popular Mechanical Parcel Sortation Solutions

Selecting the right sortation system can be challenging considering the number of options on the market. It can get even more confusing if you’re working on a project of this sort for the first time.

Understanding the basics of what a system can and cannot accomplish is just the beginning. Users should also identify what type of sortation logic and sortation diagnostic support they will need to support a parcel sortation system’s effectiveness and longevity. Following is a brief overview of six popular parcel sortation systems:

  1. Shoe Sorter Conveyor Systems
    The versatility of shoe sorters makes it a popular option for many businesses. They are useful when there are a large variety of product sizes to deal with as well as fragile items. Single and dual diverts ensure the gentle transition of items from one place to another.
  2. Paddle Divert Sorter Conveyor Systems
    As the name implies, paddles are used to move larger parcels from one place to another. These sorters generally move items from one conveyor system to another. Due to the force of the paddles, these sorters should not be used to sort fragile or easily damaged items.
  3. Tilt Tray Sorter Conveyor Systems
    Tilt Tray sorters, which are highly effective and efficient, especially for small spaces, can work in a continuous loop or a straight line. They can be manually loaded or automated with the capability of moving up to 50 thousand items per hour. Items are scanned upon entry and the system uses this information to release them to the proper destination.
  4. Activated Roller Belt™ (ARB) Sorter Conveyor Systems
    Patented by Intralox®, ARB sorters have the unique ability to move and sort packages without railings. Using spheres or rollers, the technology reduces labor and maintenance costs related to product jams. Additionally, repairs can be made by section due to its modular design.
  5. Crossbelt Sorter Conveyor Systems
    Crossbelt sorters are very similar to tilt-tray sorters; however, they use mini conveyor belts to transfer packages by pushing them to the next sorting channel. They have extremely high sorting rates and are especially good for eCommerce, although they are not known for handling fragile items well.
  6. Narrow Belt Sorter Conveyor Systems
    While these systems have limited capabilities, there are extremely efficient and cost-effective when used with the right products. The narrow belts work to transport smaller cartons and can bypass the need for manual labor by sorting cartons directly into shipping containers.

Sortation Logic Supports Efficient Operations

Before deciding on a particular sorting system, it’s important to understand how sortation works and what can be done to address business needs. Sensors are the foundation of sortation logic strategies, as they provide system integrators and end-users the opportunity to maximize day-to-day operations, including:

  • Identify the physical location of incoming parcels.
  • Measure the length of the parcel and the distance between parcels.
  • Track the location of that parcel in logic throughout the duration of the sorter.
  • Confirm the physical parcel aligns with its logical location with update sensors.

Beyond these basics, sensors also utilize scanned barcodes to identify where the parcel needs to be routed for anywhere from two to hundreds of destinations with the average falling between four and fifty destinations. So, when a parcel approaches its intended destination, it will activate a mechanical actuator to divert the parcel off the sorter.

Sortation logic destinations may be one of any number of combinations all supported by Kasa Parcel Automation technology, including a small chute into a large bag, into a bin, onto another conveyor leading elsewhere within the facility, or down a chute leading into the back of a truck-trailer or van for transport outside of the facility, to name a few.

Sortation Diagnostics Address Machine Performance Challenges

In addition to sortation logic, there is the consideration of which diagnostic solutions can or should be incorporated into sorter conveyor systems. Working with the right company and selecting the right diagnostics tools not only increases operational efficiency, but can also increase the longevity of machines and prevent small repairs from turning into major repairs.

Considerations for diagnostics available thru sortation controls include:

  • Parcel Info: The basic information required to enable effective diagnostics including barcode, intended destination, actual destination, current location, last update sensor confirmation, parcel length, gaps since prior parcel, and gaps until next parcel.
  • Divert Diagnostics: This data confirms that parcels successfully divert by monitoring the actuation of the divert mechanism and, if desired, a secondary detection of the parcel at the diverted destination. Data sets can include destination description, destination available/enabled/full/jammed, divert faulted/inhibited, divert location, monitoring divert for actuating when commanded, monitoring divert for being stuck in an actuated position, statistics on parcel quantities, and most recent statistics on failed divert attempts.
  • Pin detection: Specific to shoe sorters, locations throughout the system monitor every product’s pin and stop the sorter if a single broken pin is identified.
  • Machine Configuration Parameters: These parameters make certain that machines are working within capacity levels ensuring optimal performance. They include largest allowable parcel, smallest allowable parcel, smallest allowable gap between parcels, sorter speed, quantity of diverts, configuration of diverts, metrics to monitor for a successful divert, metrics for identifying a faulted divert mechanism (multiple failed divert attempts, etc.), divert locations, and parcel update sensor locations.
  • Tracking Diagnostics: Monitor if parcels are being seen at updated sensors when they are expected to be and provide metrics on quantities of parcels arriving early, late, or not at all.

With so much to think about, it’s no wonder that so many businesses turn to Kasa Controls & Automation to support their sortation systems with Kasa’s sortation logic and sortation diagnostics technology.

Kasa Controls & Automation is known for collaborating closely with customers to design and implement the best system for a facility’s unique specifications.

Supported sortation systems armed with the technology of today are the future for distribution centers, and the experts at Kasa Controls & Automation have the expertise and experience to assist customers with creating and supporting a revolutionary sortation system that increases profitability while meeting business needs.