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No discussion on industrial conveyor design is complete without addressing where and how the product ultimately leaves the warehouse.  In this final blog of our four-part series on Conveyor System Design, we will review the sortation element of the conveyor process and the critical role it plays in the diversion of the product through multiple doors and to multiple trucks all at one time.

This final piece completes the conveyor layout, but with so many sorter options available, a thorough understanding of your fulfillment requirements and warehouse capabilities will lead to the best mix of sorters to satisfy your inventory and order picking/processing needs.

Sorters come in a variety of capacities of pieces per minute, shapes and sizes from simple diverter arms for slow quantity sorts, to medium capacity pop-up pivot wheel sorters moving 50 cases or more per minute.  High-speed paddle diverters, wheel diverts, and shoe sorters can achieve 200 – 300 pieces per minute with speeds of over 500 feet per minute, for example.

Once all the items, cases, totes, envelopes, and bags are transported to the dock we have the ability to then sort those items to the correct dock door at the facility by barcode or UPC scanning.

  1. Items, cases, and totes can be sorted down a dock door lane independently and either loaded on a pallet or using an extendable conveyor can be sent directly into the truck to be hand Sortation to Dockstacked. The only requirement of this type of loading is that the items will need to be unloaded in a similar fashion at the destination. Example: Cases loaded into truck will need to be unloaded by the case at the destination.
  2. Sortation conveyors can deposit envelopes and bags directly into containers that are numbered by zip code, route, or region that will then be moved into the trucks designated by the corresponding zip code, route etc.
  3. FedEx and UPS have become the leaders in the industry in small parcel, envelope, and bag shipments. These two companies make up the majority of this type of transportation and thus we design the distribution center sortation by dedicating one or several sortation lanes and/or dock doors as FedEx, UPS shipping lanes. In addition, the shipper is usually provided special containers to allow for presort by state, zip code, etc. which provides a savings in freight or parcel costs.

Now your distribution center layout is complete. You have order selection from the proper storage medium, and transportation and processing from pick to dock or palletizing area.  With this final piece in place, you now have sortation that provides the further processing of your orders, cases, and envelopes properly sorted to correct dock doors and/or trucks saving much needed time and processing manpower.

Do you want to see how a properly designed conveyor system will benefit your warehouse operation?
Contact E-Distribution to arrange a personal audit.  Call or email today – or (866) 690-4585.