REDwire Colour-based sortation system demonstrates McKessock’s capabilities

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A range of automated equipment and complete systems are available from McKessock.

A wide variety of sortation equipment is available from McKessock Conveyor Solutions, operating under the Norpak Handling banner. The company often works with clients to provide a complete project integration service.

One example of the solutions the company can offer is a sortation system that was designed to sort pallets into stacks based on pallet colour. The case study shows how the company can design and engineer an advanced automated system from start to finish.

How it works

The system utilizes the VCS110 series colour sensor. The sensor uses an attached fibre optic cable as a light source to emit high-intensity white light that is reflected back by the pallet. When the reflected light reaches the sensor, a three-channel receiver measures the levels of red, green and blue light. These levels are converted into digital signals that carry intensity values, and are then sent to the sensor’s microprocessor. This allows the system to identify the colour of the pallet and direct it to the appropriate pallet stacker.

The sorting process

At the beginning of the sorting process, the pallet dispenser opens and the lift table rises, which allows two pallets to be manually loaded onto the lift platform. The first pallet is dispensed and the second pallet is suspended in the dispenser to be used as a loading platform. An entire pallet stack of mixed colours can then be loaded. 

The pallets are then dispensed onto the chain conveyor, one at a time. That’s where they are detected by the VCS110 series colour sensor, which determines the appropriate pallet stacker. 

Next, the appropriate lift table rises to place the pallet on the stacker. The system can detect when a stack is full by using a proximity photocell. An alarm horn sounds and a yellow beacon flashes to indicate a full stack. As long as no more pallets of that colour are added, the system will continue to run; otherwise a red light illuminates and the horn sounds to notify operators.

The system was designed for handling pallets of four different colours and stacks of up to 1,500 pounds or a maximum of 15 pallets. 

For more information on its sortation equipment and capabilities, contact McKessock Conveyor Solutions.


McKessock Conveyor Solutions Limited

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