With the demand for same-day and next-day shipping becoming more and more prevalent in the world of e-commerce and industrial distribution, it is more important than ever for products to be routed to multiple areas in a facility in an efficient manner. Routing products within a facility using a conveyor system can reduce labor and increase throughput. How do you transfer your products off of a main conveyor line to be routed to other areas in the facility? This is where choosing the proper divert for your system comes into play.
There are many factors to consider when choosing what type of divert is best for your system:
- Product – What is the product that is being diverted? Is it in a tote, corrugate box, or polybag? What are the maximum and minimum length, width, height, and weight of the product?
- Rate – How many products are needed to be diverted per minute, per hour, or per shift?
- Operation – Do the cartons need to maintain orientation through the divert? Does the product need to divert to one side or both sides?
- Facility – Can we use compressed air to power the diverter, or is an all-electric system required? What is the footprint that can be allocated to the divert location?
There is a wide-range of divert options that are available, ranging from fairly simple to highly complex. All are designed to be integrated into specific applications. Utilizing the wrong technology can prove disastrous, so it’s important to consult with an experienced systems application engineering company such as Bastian Solutions to better understand the proper equipment to utilize.
Below are some of the most common divert technologies available.
Pushers are often the least expensive way to divert product. One (or more) pusher arms are positioned along the side of a belted or roller conveyor. The pusher arms activate to divert product 90-degrees onto a take away conveyor. Pushers are effective when using corrugate boxes or totes that contain non-fragile items in slow to medium rate applications. Pushers can typically divert up to 30 cartons per minute.
For more precise and gentler 90-degree diverting at a higher rate, pop-up diverts are a great option. A good example of this would be the High Rate Transfer (HRT). The HRT has narrow timing belts to allow products to pass through the divert, and pop-up narrow rollers for diverting product off at a 90-degree angle. The HRT is capable of throughput rates reaching 40 cases per minute and is an ideal option for small cases (down to 6”L x 4”W), totes, and even polybags in some applications. Optionally, the HRT can divert to just one or both sides of the conveyor, and can provide very tight divert centers, as small as 24”. The HRT features an all-electric actuation, leading to very quiet and low-maintenance operation.
Pivot Wheel Diverts
Some applications may require the product to maintain its orientation through the divert. In these cases, a pivot wheel divert (PWD) is often a great choice. The PWD is ideal for medium-volume sortation of varying sized products, including small cases as small as 9”L x 6”W. Diverting the product at 30-degrees onto an angled spur maintains the case’s orientation through the divert. The PWD offers optional bi-directional diverting at rates up to 60 cases per minute.
For heavier products, including pallet loads, chain transfers are usually the best option for diverting. Chain transfers utilize pop-up strands of drag chain to divert products off of chain-driven live roller conveyors. With load capacities of up to 4,000 lbs., the chain transfer allows products to be routed around the facility without needing extra touches from forklifts. Bi-directional transfers are available as well. Chain transfer rates can reach up to 10 products per minute.
At rates higher than 60 cartons per minute, standard diverts will no longer be sufficient. At these rates, a sortation solution is most likely needed. To learn more about sortation conveyors, read our article Sorting Through Sorters: Your Guide to Sortation Conveyor.
To maximize effectiveness and throughput when routing via conveyor system, it's vital to choose the correct divert for the type of item and volume of items being conveyed. If you're still not sure what the best option is, contact us and we'd be happy to help.
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