How to Select a Sortation Conveyor: 6 Tips for Determining your Needs
Selecting the correct sorter can be a daunting task when presented with the wide range of options available. The best approach is to keep your needs in the forefront and determine which options are best suited for your specific situation. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when deciding on your sortation needs. For a more detailed guide to sortation, check out Hytrol’s Sortation White Paper. It breaks down each criterion of the decision-making process to help you come to an informed decision and the best fit for your company.
Tip #1: Create a Hierarchy of Needs
This first step sounds more complex than it is. Needs will vary from business to business, so you will need to determine what factors are most important to you. Are you limited in warehouse space? Do you specialize in shipping fragile products? Whatever your needs, make a list. Next, arrange that list in order of most important to least.
Chances are your needs involved some combination of the following:
- Space and Logistical Considerations
- Product-Based Considerations
- Monetary Considerations
A closer look at each of these criteria ranges can help narrow down your sortation decision.
Tip #2: Know your Footprint
This is a bit more than just looking at the numbers. If you have a 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse, you don’t need 100,000 ft. of conveyor. For starters, you must factor in room for break rooms, restrooms, room for workers to stand, and room to house any other equipment you have. Some people are better able to imagine how a conveyor will fill a given space. If this is something that is difficult for you, consider doing a blueprint layout with a scaled conveyor added to the drawing for better visualization. You also need to consider how many entry points and destinations are needed for your system. Lifts and mezzanines are also ways to get creative with available floor space.
Tip #3: Conveyors Aren’t Set in Stone
With such a large piece of machinery, one would think it is nearly impossible to move after the initial installation. There are, however, several modular conveyor options that will give your sortation set up flexible options to reconfigure as needed. This option will be most beneficial to those shipping a wide array of products, those experiencing a season of growth, and those who may need to transition the products they move or their number of destinations on occasion.
Tip # 4: It’s What’s on the Outside that Counts
Your shipping parcels are one book that should be judged by the cover. Some items are sturdier than others, and you must take that into account when picking your sorter. For example, a pusher works well with cardboard boxes and plastic bins but is not the best solution to handle loose items and bagged apparel. See Hytrol’s chart detailing sorter selection based on product type here.
Tip # 5: Buy for Now, Plan for Later
Many people are tempted to buy the biggest, fastest conveyor on the market, but that may not always be the best option. Look at your throughput. How quickly do you need to move product to generate profit? What is the size range for your products? This chart breaks down the range of throughput in pieces per minute (PPM).
If you plan on expanding into bigger items and pushing them out faster as demand increases, look to something that can be updated to accommodate your business as it grows.
Tip # 6: Contact Hytrol
A last, but by no means unimportant, consideration when you select a conveyor is where to purchase. Hytrol brings over 75 years of experience and is committed to enabling customers to succeed by providing the best products and services in the material handling industry. We have an Integration Partner Network with over 100 independent companies around the world to provide quick, on-site support where your operation is located. This extensive network is how we bring our conveying innovations to the marketplace.
At Hytrol, the transaction is not complete as soon as a conveyor is purchased. Instead, we partner with you every step of the way, determined to see that you have the tools and support you need for selection, installation, and maintenance. Hytrol also offers a variety of training methods including seminars, webinars, and on-site training. Hytrol will equip your staff with the knowledge and skills to confidently operate and maintain your material handling systems.
Ready to get started? Contact a Hytrol representative today.