Sortation Conveyors

Quickly distribute products with the perfect sortation solution for your system

Sortation is the process of inducting and separating products to specific destination lanes with the purpose of arranging product for a better means of distribution in order to increase productivity. Sortation systems are often employed when high quantities of products need to flow to different destinations for further processing or shipping.

Sorters are the ideal solution for separating products from in-feed conveyor lines to shipping lanes, palletizing operations, packing stations & other sortation applications. Sorters are versatile and can sort a wide range of product sizes and weights to multiple divert lanes.

Interested in sortation conveyors or want to know more?

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Sorters by Throughput

High Throughput Sorters

Used when throughput rate requirements are greater than 60 product sorts per minute. The sortation technology that meets this specification includes sliding shoe sorters, cross-belt or tilt-tray sorters, and 30 degree narrow belt sorters.

Medium Throughput Sorters

Medium throughput sorters, which have rates between 20 and 60 product sorts per minute, include pivoting wheel sorters, paddle sorters, angled roller top (ART) sorters and activated roller bed (ARB) sorters.

Low Throughput Sorters

The lowest throughput sorters, which handle rates up to 20 product sorts per minute, include 90 degree transfer sorters, pusher sorters and swing-arm sorters.

There are several types of sortation conveyors used for unit loading handling applications.  These include sliding shoe sorters, narrow belt sorters, pivoting wheel sorters, angled roller top (ART) sorters, Activated Roller Belt (ARB) sorters, Tilt Tray sorters, cross belt sorters, High Speed Paddle sorters and High Speed Pusher sorters.  When selecting a conveyor sorter it’s very important that the equipment be properly matched for the application.  Important aspects such as product type, size and weight as well as overall system throughput should all be considered.


Sliding Shoe Sorter

  • High speed sortation (rates in excess of 200 cartons per minute)
  • Very positive and gentle sortation
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Ability to sort a wide variety of load mixes, varying in size, weight and type (cartons, totes, bags, etc.)
  • Available with pneumatic or servo controlled divert mechanisms
  • Good for applications requiring long lengths with many divert locations
  • Extremely proven and reliable technology 

The sliding shoe sorter is probably the most common form of high speed sortation on the market today.  The carrying surface is comprised of conveyor flights (slats or tubes), each of which is attached to a drive chain running inside each sorter side channel.  Sliding divert shoes, which are supported by the conveyor flights, push the load off the sorter at the appropriate sort destination.  The number of shoes used to divert a load is determined at induction and is dependent upon the length of the product.

Shoe Sorter

Sliding shoe sorter system


Narrow Belt Sorter

  • 90 or 30 degree divert capability
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Medium to high throughput capability (up to 120 cases per minute)
  • Reliable technology

Narrow belt sorters is a sorter for medium-sized items. Product is transported on multiple narrow belts. Rollers pop up between the belts to transfer items at either 90 or 30 degree angles to the sorter. The narrow belt sorter makes use of multiple narrow belts to transport items and is equipped with angled pop-up rollers that pop up between the belts to transfer items off the unit.  

Minimum package size is 8 x 6 inches wide, maximum package length is 28 inches with a maximum unit package weight of 75 lbs.

Narrow belt sorters are designed for 2-sided transfer of items. Product can be transferred off either side of the conveyor to other right angle conveyors, workstations, packing operations, ticketing stations, shipping departments, or other similar operations. The unit is capable of handling medium to high throughput requirements.

Narrow Belt sorter

Narrow belt sortation


Tilt Tray Sorter

  • Multiple induction points possible
  • High speed sortation
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Wide range of product and load mixes
  • Great for applications requiring many divert locations on close centers
  • Highly reliable

A tilt-tray sorter is a high-speed, continuous-loop sortation conveyor that uses a technique of tilting a tray at a chute to slide the object into the chute. It is used to expedite the process of Order fulfillment to consolidate line items of an order, and to process returned products for immediate updating of inventory in real time.  It is great for handling not only cartons and totes, but also soft goods that are difficult to sort with other technologies.

Tilt Tray Sorter

Tilt tray sortation for shipping items


Cross Belt Sorter

  • Multiple induction points possible
  • High speed sortation
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Wide range of product and load mixes
  • Great for applications requiring many divert locations on close centers
  • Highly reliable

The cross belt sorter is very similar to the tilt tray sorter.  The main difference is that the tilting trays are replaced with short belt conveyors positioned perpendicular to sorter flow.  Loads are inducted individually onto these belt conveyors.  The short belt conveyor is indexed as it passes the load’s destination in order to discharge the load to its takeaway destination.  This type of sorter is commonly used in the “M and M” (media and movie) industry.

Cross belt sorter

Cross belt sortation


Pivoting Wheel Sorter

  • 30 degree divert capability
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Medium throughput capability (60-90 cases per minute)
  • Ability to slave takeaway spurs off sorter drive

The pivoting wheel sorter is typically composed of a belt conveyor fitted with diverts at specified locations along its length. The diverters consist of powered wheels set slightly above the belt height. Products normally flow across the divert wheels uninterrupted.

Upon demand the powered wheels can be rotated via a pneumatic cylinder to redirect loads to a take away conveyor.  Due to the nature of this sorter’s design it is imperative that products have firm, flat bottoms.  The minimum product size that can be handled is 6” wide by 9” long with a maximum weight of 75lbs per product.

Pivot Whell Sorter

Pivot wheel sortation


Angled Roller Sorters

Angled Roller Top (ART)

  • Extremely flexible design
  • Quiet in operation
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Ability to position diverts on close centers
  • Medium throughput sortation

Angled roller top sortation equipment (ART) can be configured for very close divert locations, creating a considerable space savings, and they are easily re-configurable for maximum future flexibility. Product can be diverted off either side of the ART sorter at 30 or 22 degree diverts.

Activated Roller Belt (ARB)

  • Extremely flexible design
  • Quiet in operation
  • Bi-direction sorting capabilities
  • Ability to position diverts on close centers
  • Medium throughput sortation

The term ARB stands for Activated Roller Belt™ and is known in the conveyor industry as the patented Technology made by Intralox. On an ARB™ conveyor, products rest on free-spinning angled rollers rather than on the belt surface. These rollers extend above and below the belt surface and are positioned at an angle in relation to the direction the belt travels. Rollers that are activated by the carryway surface below move products across the belt in the direction of roller orientation rather than the direction of belt travel. Because it is possible to move conveyed products selectively, ARB-equipped conveyors can change the direction, alignment, location, and speed of an item independently without using rails or complicated mechanical controls. All of these features are made by Intralox.


Paddle Sorters

  • Low throughput sortation
  • Economical form of sortation
  • Great for sorting products difficult to sort with other technologies

Paddle sorters are used to sort items difficult to convey due to their irregular shapes & small items like DVD's or CD's. Paddle sorters can divert 200 items per minute and at a right angle onto chutes on close center lines.  Bastian Solutions has a strong history of High Speed Paddle sorter installations across many industries. Let us help you achieve new levels of automated sortation accuracy.

Cross Belt Slat Sorters

High Speed Pusher Sorters

Optimus Push Tray Sorters


Sortation Conveyor Resources

Product photos

Product videos

Interested in sortation conveyor or want to know more?