Proper placement of product on a sliding shoe sorter

As e-commerce continues to grow, shoe sortation grows with it. These sorters can handle a variety of products in different shapes and sizes and are utilized in varying industries including food and beverage, consumer products, and parcel.

But, as with a range of ideas in a variety of sectors and industries, when it comes to sliding shoe sorters, there’s a status quo that needs to go. That status quo is the proper placement of product on this sortation equipment.

The proper placement of product on a sliding shoe sorter is a question every material handling expert must answer when implementing this type of solution. For years, it was assumed that the proper placement was to justify product as close to the shoe as possible.

That’s incorrect.

When considering the alignment of product on a sliding shoe sorter, the correct placement of product is on the side opposite your shoe on the conveyor. If that sounds off to you, you’re not the only one. Placing products near the shoe has been the general assumption for years, but there are a few reasons this placement isn’t ideal:

Product Rotation

The old way of thinking was this: when a shoe made contact with a product that was closer to the shoe, it allowed for a smoother transition because it created less impact. Some companies even created technology that would increase the speed of the shoe over time. The first problem with this is that the smooth transfer of product over a distance only works for most products. When you start sorting heavier products or specially shaped products, the farther you push it, the greater the chance the product will rotate. Minimizing the distance of those products to the edge they’re being transported to will also minimize the chances that mistakes will happen when those products are being diverted.

Bad Physics

The second problem with this line of thinking is that for most sliding shoe sorters, the shoe is traveling the same speed all the way across the conveyor. It doesn’t matter whether the impact happens at the front or at the back—it is the same impact every time. Unless a shoe is designed to continuously speed up when moving across aluminum slat, it’s just not true that the impact will be different from one side of the system to the other.

High-speed sortation is an important development in the material handling industry. While there are nearly no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to conveying product because of the huge range, keep this thought in mind when you implement shoe sorters: perfect product placement may not be what you thought it was.

Hytrol’s ProSort family of sorters is specifically designed to handle high-speed applications where product diverting needs to be both positive and gentle.

For guidance on the best sortation solutions for your business please see Hytrol’s Sortation White Paper

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