How High Speed Paddle Sorters Work
Paddle sorters, pictured to the right, are a low to medium throughput conveyor sortation solution capable of handling items in a variety of sizes and shapes, from large boxes down to small, irregularly shaped items like polybags – all on the same sortation line. On a paddle sorter, paddles or deflector arms sit alongside a conveyor, opposite each divert. As a product approaches, the paddle swings out at an angle, catching the product and directing it down the divert. Paddles are flat, with an actuated air cylinder or pneumatic hinge that drives the swinging motion when activated.
Pusher sorters, sometimes called push sorters or push bar sorters (but not to be confused with push tray sorters), were some of the first sorters used back in the 1950s. They are a low to medium throughput option for handling small to medium sizes items, from cartons and parcels to small, irregularly shaped items like polybags, in small spaces with closely spaced, narrow diverts.
Push sorters have pusher arms positioned directly across from each divert. When the product moves directly in front of the divert lane, the pusher extends to quickly send the product down the desired divert lane. The pushers consist of blocks mounted to actuated cylinders that extend out, forcing the pusher to make contact with the product. Several pushers can be mounted along a belt conveyor to increase the number of sorting points. This pushing motion changes the product orientation with respect to the direction of travel when the product is pushed, which should be considered for accurate scanning and labelling.