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3 Advanced Features of the ZiPline Shoe Sorter

Andy Eckerle | 02 April 2019

Over the years, we’ve installed, serviced, and repaired a variety of shoe sorters. We’ve heard client’s complaints and seen the problems with the different designs available. When we decided to build our own, we knew it needed to avoid common issues and outperform the competition. From day one, the main design criteria for our ZiPline shoe sorter was high uptime with industry-leading crash avoidance. That’s why we developed the best slat, shoe, and end offload in the industry. Let's break these advanced features down.

Advanced Slat Design


The slats create the surface of the conveyor, and ours have many features to look at. The most important is the UHMW surface material. Its low-friction properties reduce drag as boxes, totes, and shoes slide across. This also helps reduce maintenance issues with the shoe switch and chain for the slats.

In addition to the low friction, the UHMW makes it easy to clean. We aren’t talking about cleaning dust, as that would be an impossible task in most warehouses. Our easy clean surface best demonstrates its advantages if you convey liquids that can become sticky. Sticky slats are the enemy of a sliding shoe or box. With just a cloth and simple cleaning solutions, you can remove the offending substance with ease. Additionally, the surface is made with a slight bevel, encouraging liquids to flow off before drying.

If that isn’t enough, we made the slat so easy to remove that it takes minimal tools and only a few minutes. Underneath, the slats ride on urethane-coated ball bearings. This provides a low rolling resistance, resulting in noticeably quieter operation than other shoe sorters as well as reduced energy consumption.

Innovative No-Pinch Shoe


The ZiPline shoe sorter’s no-pinch profile shoe might look cool, but there’s more to the design than aesthetics. Our shoe style is the direct result of our goal to improve product handling and avoid system crashes.  It is so important to us that we designed and patented a “gentle touch” divert system for positive and gentle sortation. The shoe has a specialized rubber bumper that is firm enough to positively engage and push the product to the proper divert while also having just enough flexibility to bend and get out of the way if there is a jam and the product has no place to go.

This leads to the next aspect of the no-pinch profile shoe design. The rest of the shoe is low profile with a central bulge to help push the jammed tote or box up over it. This allows the shoe to continue on its rout without damaging the product or pulling slats out.

Improved End Offload


There is one last feature that helps the ZiPline shoe sorter reduce crashes and downtime compared to others on the market. In our decades of experience, we have often seen issues at the end of the shoe sorter where the product transfers between the slat surface and returns to the conveyor to be resorted or sent to a first aid line. That transfer between the shoe sorter back to conveyor is often a place where jams can occur. The product will slip down between the two surfaces and get stuck, making the slats crash and leading to major downtime.

The ZiPline shoe sorter has an industry-first spring-loaded discharge mechanism to prevent this issue. The roller surface is pushed towards the slat surface, minimizing the gap. In the rare event a product would catch between the two surfaces, the mechanism is pushed back – engaging a safety stop that brings the whole shoe sorter to a safe stop. This eliminates the possibility of the shoe sorter entering downtime due to a crash.

These innovative features of the ZiPline shoe sorter were designed to help your system avoid downtime and reliably deliver goods despite ever-increasing demands. To learn more about these unique features and more, download our ZiPline shoe sorter spec sheet or, better yet, visit our ProMat 2019 booth #S1603 and see the shoe sorter demonstrated live with our other advanced material handling automation technologies.


Author: Andy Eckerle

Andy is the Operations Manager for Zipline Conveyor based in Westfield, IN.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. He has been with Bastian Solutions over 8 years focusing in Design Engineering and Project Management.  The past 2 years he has lead the operations team at ZiPline Conveyor, growing and developing processes, designs, and applications to lead the material handling market.  


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