When exiting a merge and prior to scanning and sorting, cartons must be separated by gaps to assure good barcode reads & sortation. A gapper consists of two conveyors operating at a slightly greater speed than the incoming flow of cartons, which “pulls a gap” between adjacent cartons. Historically, these gaps have been in the range of 12 to 18 inches, but with advanced sorters coming on, the gaps are shrinking to 8 inches or less. Gapping Belt conveyor has the ability to do both dynamic and static gapping based on software and control systems.
In “Blow Through” gapping, the gapper conveyors operate at a fixed speed and the ratio between the conveyors is fixed. The “pitch”, or distance between the leading edges of the products, tends to be a fixed distance. If the application has a wide variance between small and large boxes, wide gaps can occur. This is possible wasted space and a reduction in sorter throughput.
In “gap optimization” gapping, the distance between incoming boxes is sensed and conveyor speed is quickly accelerated or decelerated, resulting in a consistent gap size. This allows you to get the maximum throughput and performance from your sorter.