Color sorters are machines that make sorting very efficient and effective. We sell two main categories of color sorters:

  • Chute-type color sorters
  • Belt-type color sorters

In this article, I will explain the usages of each type and the differences between them. Let me summarize the full set of components in a sorter:

  1. Input hopper
  2. Vibratory feeder
  3. Optical camera system
  4. Rejection system
  5. Chute or Belt transportation system
  6. Outlet pipe

Both types are used to sort material based on size, shape, and color. Additional cameras can be installed for more specialized sorting.

 

If you’d like to learn their main differences, I have a simple comparison table for your reference below.

 

ContentBelt Color SorterChute Color Sorter
FunctionsSort materials based on optical differencesSort materials based on optical differences
Features1) Capability is limited because of construction

2) Expensive because of lower demand

1) 1 to 12 Chutes are customizable

2) Cost-effective as we have scaled up to meet demand

Conveyor DevicesHorizontal conveyor beltChute with a specific angle
Usage & Applications1) Dry and wet materials

2) Size range: 1mm-100mm

3) All materials that chute-type can do

4) Wet Materials: fruit like apples, oranges, blueberry, strawberry.

5) Light Materials: Small seafood

6) Fragile Materials: Potato chips

7) Irregularly shaped materials.

 

1) Dry material only

2) Size range: 1mm-100mm

3) Grain

4) Agriculture seeds

5) Dehydrated fruit and vegetables and more

Required AccessoriesAir Compressor

Air tank

Air filter and dryer

Work platform (optional)

Bucket Elevator

Air Compressor

Air tank

Air filter and dryer

Work platform (required)

Bucket Elevator

 

Now that you have seen the differences, let me explain things further.

Chute-type Color Sorters

 

Chute color sorters are one of our most common kinds of sorting machines. The chutes are made from food-safe alloy. They are used to separate materials into various categories.

SG Color Sorters can feature anywhere from 1 to 12 chutes. They are customized to your specifications.

Each chute has 64 or 128 channels inside. Channels are small grooves that hold the material to fall in a straight line for transportation. The channels make the materials fall at the same speed for the cameras to capture, which is important for accurate sorting.

The material then exits the chute and freefalls through the air. It is scanned by cameras and moves through the rejection system. I will tell you about the rejection system further below.

Once through the rejection system, the material is ready for collection. 3-chute or larger machines can re-sort rejected material via multi-layer sorting.

Advantages

Smaller footprint

Compared to belt-type sorters, chute-types have a smaller footprint as the chutes don’t need much space.

Chutes can be customized according to needs

Chutes are built to have channels that will hold material well and in a single file. This is great for material that has a uniform size, such as seeds and grain.

Sorts small and tiny material (1 – 400mm)

Each individual channel is built to hold a single file of material. This allows for greater sorting precision.

High sorting accuracy and throughput

Our high-resolution cameras accurately measure material according to your parameters. You will see an amazing increase to sorting efficiency with sorting machines.

Easier to set up multiple sorting

3 or higher chute sorting machines give you the opportunity to set up multi sorting. This process re-sorts accepted or rejected material another time. Doing so minimizes wastage from false rejections.

This recycling system minimizes wastage by re-sorting the material until you reach a satisfactory level of good material. You may need to re-sort a few times to get the best result.

Disadvantages

Fragile material has increased damage from friction in channels

Material needs to roll down the channel and this may cause damage from friction. Fragile material may experience higher damage rates this way.

Can’t sort large material

Channels are built according to material specs. This means larger materials will not fit easily into chutes.

The lightweight material is difficult to enter channels

If the material is light, it may float off the channels as they fall down the chute.

Less flexible; chutes need to be sized according to material

Chutes are built according to your needs. To sort different kinds of material you will need to order the correct chutes for them.

Used for

  • Grain
  • Seeds
  • Coffee beans
  • Tea leaves
  • Plastic flakes
  • Small-sized ore

Belt-type Color Sorters

 

Belt-type color sorters feature horizontal transfer belts as part of the system. Belt systems are functionally the same as chute-type color sorters. Our conveyor belts are made of food-safe PVC.

Material is input in the hoppers and will drop onto a conveyor belt. It is then carried to the cameras. This is different from chute-types where material rolls down a channel.

As with the chute-type sorter, the material is analyzed by cameras and will be accepted or rejected. If you have a multi-layer sorter, it will go for further re-sorting for an efficient result.

Another key difference with belts is that it can handle large and irregularly sized material. Since it is a wide belt instead of channels you can fit a wider variety of materials.

Belt types also have multi-layer color sorting. It is different from chutes whereby the machine layers vertically instead of horizontally.

Advantages

Can be used for fragile and/or large materials

Material that is conveyed by the belt will take less damage from sorting. This is because the belt does the movement rather than gravity. There are less friction and impact on the material.

Additionally, you will not be limited by the size of the custom-built channels. This means you can sort bigger things like whole bottles.

Can be used for irregularly shaped materials

Without being restricted by channels, any shape of the material can be sorted using a belt-type color sorter. At the same time, you can also have more flexibility in sorting parameters.

Good for lightweight material

Since the belts are used for movement even light material can be transported easily. With chute-type sorters, light material may not move down the channels properly.

High sorting accuracy and throughput

Belt-type machines also use our high-resolution cameras so you won’t lose out on this aspect.

Disadvantages

Much larger footprint

Belt-types are necessarily larger due to the space requirements of the belts. This is an important factor to consider for locations where space is at a premium.

Used for

  • Nuts
  • Mining
  • Spices
  • Plastic
  • Seafood

Color Sorting Modes: How The Rejection System Works

Both chute- and belt-type color sorters can perform normal or reverse sorting.

  • In normal sorting mode, the rejection system shoots compressed air at rejects while the accepts continue to the bin
    • Normal mode should be used for material with few impurities
  • In reverse sorting mode, the system shoots air at accepts while rejects go to the bin
    • The reverse mode should be used for material with many impurities

Which Type Of Color Sorter Is Suitable For Me?

If you are sorting tiny material such as seeds and grain and the material is uniformly shaped, consider using a chute-type sorter.

If you are sorting irregularly shaped and/or fragile material such as ore, seafood, and nuts, you should use a belt-type sorter.