One of the numerous topics the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) focuses on is the field of piece goods distribution systems. Known solutions are tilt-tray sorters, cross-belt sorters or sliding sorters. These systems always require a considerable investment due to their complexity and can only be used economically in large facilities. On the other side pusher-systems are also efficient in smaller facilities but its sorting performance is far from the sorting performance of large sorters. Initial reflections consisted in closing this gap with a simply constructed but efficient system – the rotary sorter. A test and pilot plant has already been realised.
The main component of the rotary sorter- the rotating, truncated plate- distributes the piece goods to the chutes which are positioned at the outer edge of the rotating plate. Each segment of the plate consists of a pivoting tray which takes up the goods plus a rotating slide. Owing to this slide and because of the higher radial movement of the goods the width of the chutes can be reduced. The goods are conveyed from the outside with the help of a conveyor belt system and are »catapulted« with high speed in single plate segments similar to a tilt-tray sorter. For this purpose, the respective tray at the infeed station is set horizontally. When the good has been inserted the infeed station is lowered until the lower edge is below the slide. This forms a lay-on edge which holds the good back until it is discharged at the target chute. To discharge the good the tray is lifted until the good can slide outwards unhamperedly.