People and color sorter

SG FAQs Page will solve all problems with the color sorters. All these questions are original from our real customers, we collect them and give an exact answer. If you are going to buy a color sorter, this guide will help you.

Products Questions



1. What is a Color Sorter?

Color Sorter, also called color sorting machine, or optical sorter is a precision sorting machine that separates the materials by their color difference.

The color sorter has a wide range of applications. For example, it can be used for agriculture, the food processing industry, and plastic recycling industry, etc.

In agriculture, you can find it pick out the strong seeds, or separate the fine materials.

For more details, you can find more descriptions from the color sorter definitive guide.


2. How long does a color sorter last?

With good maintenance, a color sorter can work for 10 years or more.


3. Which materials are best: stainless steel or metal color sorter?

Stainless steel is expensive but more effective at avoiding corrosion.

Metal sorters are great for regular material.

4. What materials are suitable for optical sorting?

      1. Solid material (can be slightly wet)
      2. Has obvious color differences
      3. Sizes of about 1 mm ~ 100mm
      4. List of materials that can be sorted

5. What are the differences between the 4:1 and 3:2 configuration?

  • 4:1 configuration means 4 chutes are used for first sorting, and 1 chute is used for the second sorting
  • 3:2 configuration means 3 chutes are used for first sorting, and 2 chutes are used for the second sorting

In normal usage, a color sorter sorts material in two steps: An initial first sorting, then a re-sort of the “rejects” from the first sort.

We do this because the “rejects” from the first sort often contain lots of acceptable material.

This is important because the configuration cannot be changed once it is set in the factory.

  • 4:1 configurations are better for raw material that has few impurities.
  • 3:2 configurations are better for material with a lot of impurities

Please feel free to contact us to ensure you get the correct configuration for your material.

6. What voltages do color sorters use?

Europe Standard:  230V 50Hz

USA Standard: 240V 50Hz, or 120V 50Hz

7. How many cameras do you use for each sorting unit?

Our color sorting machines have at least 2 cameras, with larger units featuring 3 or even 4 cameras.

Our NIR color sorters feature 3 cameras: Two CCD cameras, and one NIR camera.

For extremely high-precision sorting, you can custom-order four-camera machines, which improves sorting precision and have lower carryover rates.

8. What are the pixels of the cameras?

5700 or 6000px. They capture 18000 pictures per second

9. What are the languages on the display panel?

The panels default to English; we also provide Spanish, French, German, and others.

Other languages can also be programmed, but you will need to provide a translation of our instructions for the best accuracy.

10. What is Normal Sorting Mode and Reverse Sorting Mode?

Color Sorters have two sorting modes: Normal Sorting Mode and Reverse Sorting Mode. Both modes exist in all our machines.

Normal Sorting mode focuses on rejecting impurities. It is used for materials that contain few impurities.

  • For example, 95% good materials with 5% impurities. The machine focuses on 5%.

Reverse Sorting mode is used for materials that contain many impurities.

  • For example, 40% good materials and 60% impurities. The machine focuses on 40%

Small (1-3 chute) color sorters are unable to use both modes at the same time as they do not have enough chutes to sort it this way.

In a larger sorter, both modes can be run at the same time:

  • Initial Normal Sorting (take out the bad stuff) will output “accepted” and “rejected” materials
  • Rejected” materials will be funneled into secondary sorting, which uses Reverse Sorting (take out the good stuff)
  • The “rejected” output from 2ndsorting is “acceptable” material, which is then re-funneled into initial sorting to ensure only good material is kept
  • Raw mat > Normal Sorting > accept/reject > rejects > Reverse Sorting > rejects > Normal Sorting > final sorted product

11. Is there any recycling mode to limit the rejection of good materials?

For sorters with 1 or 2 chutes, there is no recycling mode. You need to manually take the rejected output and refill the hopper for a second sorting.

For sorters with 3 or more chutes, we can set a recycling mode based on your raw materials:

  • If your materials contain few impurities, there is no need to set recycling mode. This increases total throughput
  • If your materials contain many impurities, recycling mode will improve impurity rejection
  • Recycling mode will decrease total sorting capacity (throughput). A portion of the total chutes need to be set aside for recycling functions

12. Can we transfer the sorting data by USB drive?

Yes. You can store all parameters for a sorting solution with a USB drive, and you can transfer the data to the color sorter directly.

13. Which accessories can I replace in a color sorter?

    1. Programmable Logic Controller(PLC)
      • Sensor
    2. Ejector
    3. Cameras

Normally, we suggest you not to replace the accessories by yourselves.

In the warranty period, we will provide the accessories for free.

Out of warranty, it is better to contact the supplier for accessories.

14. Which types of accessories are required when you buy a color sorter?

Every machine comes with a toolbox, hopper, and pipe outlet

You need to buy an air compressor, air tank, and air dryer

If necessary, elevator and work platforms can also be ordered

15. How many staff are required for a color sorter?

The color sorter itself can do the sorting work automatically, the rest depends on the degree of automation

Color sorters need people to feed, collect, and transport the materials. Here is a list for your reference:

  • 1-3 chutes: 2 staff
  • 4-6 chutes: 3-4 staff
  • 7-10 chutes: 5-6 staff

16. How many air ejectors are in a color sorter?

It depends on the number of channels in a chute. You can have 64 or 128 ejectors in a single chute.

17. How loud is the color sorter?

Our sorting machines run at less than 90dB of noise.

18. Do you have covers for the chutes to prevent materials from falling out?

Yes, we offer acrylic covers on the chute to prevent the materials from jumping off.

19. Can I remotely control color sorters?

Every machine will have software to communicate with the operator; you can even get an app on your mobile device.

The app can be used by engineers to check the status of the machine. You can easily see problems and troubleshoot via the app.

This requires the machine to be connected to the Internet.

20. How to set the sorting program for a specific material?

We preset several common sorting programs as factory defaults in each color sorter.

You can access and customize these programs using the display panel on the sorter.

21. Can we set programs for different materials?

Yes. You can save as many presets as you want.

22. How many sorting solutions can be stored?

We normally set 40 sorting programs based on your common materials before shipping the machine.

This should meet your daily sorting requirements.

23. What sizes of SG color sorters do you have?

Our company has single-chute to 10-chute color sorters. We also offer custom-built color sorters for specialized applications. Please visit our products page to see our full catalog.

24. How do I clean a color sorting machine?

Light dust can be cleaned with compressed air.


1. After ordering, how long will it take for the color sorter to get to me?

A small color sorter (less than 7 chutes) is built in about 7 days.

Large sorters (more than 7 chutes) take about 10-15 days to build.

After production, shipping times vary by continent:

  • Within Asia: 7 days by sea
  • Outside Asia: up to 30 days by sea

2. How often do we need to maintain the color sorters?

You should do a simple cleaning with compressed air every time before starting the machine.

Check the ejectors every 6 months.

3. Do you offer free on-site installation and commissioning?

Yes, we do offer free on-site installation and commissioning of color sorters.

The software is extremely stable and needs very little maintenance. We will only change the software in the event of significant bugs.

4. What are the charges for on-site installation?

The installation itself is free. However, we do have additional charges for the manpower:

  • First visit: Board and lodging for the technicians
  • Second visit: Board, lodging, round-trip flights for each technician, and a $100/day manpower charge.

5. Do you have the wiring layout for the color sorter machine?

We can offer wiring layouts to your engineers for installation. We also provide free technology guides online.

For additional details, please contact us via email.

6. Do you have a forwarding service for easier customs clearance?

Yes, we have a forwarder that we’ve worked with for 10 years. If you like, we can recommend him to you.

7. How are your color sorters packed?

We ship our color sorters in non-fumigated wooden boxes.

8. Can you send the machine directly to us?

Yes, we offer Door-to-Door shipping as well as pick-ups from your choice of the seaport.


1. What is the relationship between SG and Sortex?

Sortex is the color sorting machine’s name. We are the supplier of Sortex machines and SG is our brand.

2. What is the manufacturer warranty?

A manufacturer’s warranty guarantees working performance for your machine. We offer a one-year warranty.

During this warranty period, we will arrange for one free on-site installation and commissioning. We also provide free accessories in the event they are damaged.

After the warranty period, you still get free online troubleshooting. Spare accessories will be charged as well as shipping for them.

3. How long is the warranty?

We offer a 14-month warranty.

4. Can we get free spare accessories during the warranty?

You can get accessories replaced for free if they are damaged within the warranty period.

5. I want to be an agent for SG Sorting Machines. What are the conditions required for applying to be an agent?

You need to contact us for more details.

6. Does the color sorter have any certifications?

Our machines are CE-certified for European standards, and CSA-certified for American standards.

Scroll to Top