How Does A Sliding Shoe Sorter Work - Axiom GB

What is a sliding shoe sorter and how does it work?

A sliding shoe sorter is a tried and trusted method of automatically sorting a diverse range of products at speeds of more than 10,000 items per hour. It’s no wonder that over the last decade this versatile type of sorter has become increasingly popular with a wide variety of industries.

The reason for its popularity is simple – today’s fast paced ecommerce demands high-speed, accurate product processing and that’s what a sliding shoe sorter consistently delivers. With a track record of rapid throughput combined with low operating costs, the shoe sorter represents the very best sortation technology for a busy warehouse or distribution centre.

What is a sliding shoe sorter?

A sliding shoe sorter is a long, straight conveyor which transports products on a series of aluminium slats. Sliding shoes, which form the divert mechanism, are positioned into the channels between the slats.

Chutes or take-away lanes can be positioned at either a 20 or 30 degree angle to the main slat conveyor. Some shoe sorters can be single or double sided – diverting to the left and right.

Modern shoe sortation systems are designed around a compact footprint. They have a robust aluminium support structure mounted to the floor which consists of a main frame with fabricated bracing channels to increase rigidity and stability.

How does a sliding shoe sorter work?

Products enter the sorter via an induction conveyor where each item is identified via a camera or barcode reader. The product is then transported down the sorter and when it reaches the appropriate take-away line, one or multiple shoes are activated to slide diagonally across the slats.

These sliding shoes gently push the product across the slats into the correct chute or outfeed. Using the latest technology, sliding shoe sorters automatically allocate the correct number of shoes to use to divert the particular product that is being processed.

Latest developments in sliding shoe sorter technology

Advancements in sliding shoe sorter design over the last decade have brought about significant improvements. Higher throughput speeds can now be achieved whilst still maintaining excellent accuracy.

Although precision has increased, the force of impact to divert products has decreased and the result is gentle control over the products being sorted.

Further design developments have resulted in better handling of a broad product range. Some shoe sorters can also handle products in any orientation.

Products cannot be drawn into the sorter as in-built safety switches instantly halt the sorter if a product gets caught in either a shoe or a slat.

Customisation of shoe sorters is now becoming widely available. Bespoke parts can include sorter width, divert angle and even the design of the sliding shoes. Clients can also request that their sorter is manufactured in a specific colour.

Where are sliding shoe sorters used?

Seen as one of the most versatile types of sorter, the sliding shoe sorter is ideally suited to improve speed of processing and efficiency in both distribution and manufacturing.

There are many types of industries which are successfully using this technology including:

  • E-commerce
  • Electronics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Clothing/Footwear
  • Health and Beauty
  • Food and Beverage
  • Entertainment

What are the benefits of using a sliding shoe sorter?

Ideally suited for high speed sortation, with a capability of accurately processing more than 10,000 items per hour, one of the major benefits of a sliding shoe sorter is the consistently high throughput rates that can be achieved.

High sorting speeds combined with lower linear speeds are beneficial both in terms of total cost of ownership and lower noise levels.

It is particularly beneficial that the most recently launched shoe sorters can sort a wide range of product types up to 1500mm long x 800mm wide x 800mm high.

Diverse products suitable for processing on this type of sorter include parcels, totes, cartons, books, CDs/DVDs, polybagged items and jiffy bags.

As the divert method is both positive and gentle, a sliding shoe sorter is particularly valuable when sorting fragile, or easily damaged goods.

Axiom GB – manufacturing sliding shoe sorters in Britain

The only UK company manufacturing sliding shoe sorters is Axiom GB, an automation specialist based in Tamworth. With a decade of experience in designing and making this type of automated equipment, the company’s new MSS sorter combines Axiom quality, accuracy and reliability.

The sorter has been designed and built at the company’s headquarters in Tamworth. To keep costs down, it utilises a simple aluminium extruded framework, 3D printed parts and injection moulded components, all made in the UK.

With a compact footprint the Axiom MSS sorter saves valuable floor space and, as it is equipped with a highly efficient gear unit, it only requires extremely low power to activate.

If you’re looking for a materials handling system and want to talk to a company with all the right credentials, contact Axiom GB for a consultation on 01827 61212 or email