The 3 Best Automated Sorting Solutions of 2024

Automated sorting is indispensable in the logistics process. Customer satisfaction scores are critical success factors. The pressure to deliver on time is immense, and reviews can make or break a company. Therefore, the logistics process, specifically sorting, must be better, faster, more efficient, more flexible (inbound, outbound, cross-docking, and returns), and above all, error-free. And that is possible. An automated sorting solution can significantly contribute to success, preferably with a low TCO and a healthy ROI. The big question is: which sorting system is the most suitable for my product portfolio? We have listed the three most successful systems for you, considering different product categories:

  • Clothing/Fashion
  • Shoes
  • E-commerce
  • Books
  • Pharma*
    *Unlike in the Netherlands, medications are often bought and processed online in other countries (e.g., the US). Systems for automatically sorting these types of small packages operate in other sectors in the Netherlands. Think of jewellery, small electronics, personal care products, and the like.

Why choose an Automated Sorting System?
The answer can be brief: efficiency. Sorting speed increases, error margins and (personnel) costs decrease. Additionally, your inventory management becomes more accurate. The throughput speed with automated sorting is around 40,000 items per hour (error-free!) 24/7. This is simply unattainable with manual staffing. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, so how do you choose the system that best suits your needs?

Choose the Best Sorting System
Sorting systems come in many shapes and sizes. In the selection process, the experience and expertise of your advisor are significant. To start, they will always ask about your expected volumes. Additionally, factors such as shape, weight, packaging material, and the product's susceptibility to damage play a role in the decision-making process. Then, there are also considerations like available space and budget. Always choose to be guided by an experienced expert. They bring the necessary practical experience tailored to your industry and know what to watch out for.

Beyond the basics 

In addition to previously mentioned factors like shape, weight, packaging, material, and susceptibility to damage, several other variables determine which sorter best meets your needs. Central questions include: What are the growth expectations, both now and in the long(er) term? What are the plans regarding the product portfolio? How do you plan to package your products? What do your customers expect? Will the business expand further, for example, into e-commerce? How do you handle returns?

All these questions (and their answers) must be considered when choosing a particular type of sorter. Based on this, an indicative cost-benefit analysis can also be made. Ultimately, it's not just about the present but especially about your future.

To provide you with an overview of the options available, we have identified and listed the top three choices for you in no specific order. Our selection is informed by more than 20 years of international experience working with prominent companies in various sectors including fashion, mail, pharmaceuticals, printed matter, and e-commerce. This extensive experience forms the foundation of our expertise, which we are eager to leverage to support you.

  1. Cross Tray Sorter
  2. Push Tray Sorter
  3. Split Tray Sorter / Bombay Sorter

Below, we will further elaborate on the system-specific features. For clothing, for instance, multiple systems are suitable, and one does not necessarily outperform the other. In every choice, the wishes and possibilities of our customers ultimately lead to the best solution for them.

Split Tray Sorter

In short: 

  • Suitable for: E-commerce, clothing, pharmaceutical industry, books, etc.
  • Single Capacity: 8,500 - 17,000 items per hour
  • Dual Capacity: 17,000 - 34,000 items per hour
  • Single Dimensions: 400 x 600 - 500 x 600 mm
  • Dual Dimensions: 400 x 300 mm - 500 x 400 mm
  • Single Weight: Min 0.05 kg / Max 10 kg Dual Weight: Min 0.05 kg / Max 15 kg

Split Tray Sorter
The Split Tray Sorter is the most commonly used among the three and is widely applied in clothing, books, mail/package, and fulfillment orders. It is also known as the Bombay or Flat Tray Sorter. There are two variants: Single Split Tray and Dual Split Tray, along with a Standard version. Each carrier or tray consists of 2 or 4 moving segments, each of which can be controlled independently. The Dual Split Tray can sort up to 2 different items within one tray. It features a patented carrier mechanism that allows each segment to synchronize and drop the product straight down, facilitating direct stacking into a box, crate, or exit. A significant advantage, especially when sorting books, is that the chance of damage due to collisions is virtually nil.

The Split Tray sorting machine comes in two versions: the Single Split and the Dual Split. The standard sorting capacity is 8,640 or 17,280 trays per hour. By adjusting the speed or adding a platform, the gross sorting capacity can be increased to approximately 40,000 items per hour.

Key features

  • Unique ‘flat drop’ technology
  • High throughput
  • Minimal footprint
  • Flexible tray sizes
  • Heavy-duty options
  • Quick ROI
  • Low TCO
  • Inbound, outbound & returns
  • Quiet


The Split Tray is the only sorter with a standard version: the “Pre-Configured Series.” A perfect sorter in a fixed configuration at an attractive price. The ideal solution for companies in the clothing industry, e-commerce, and more, that are large enough to opt for an automated sorting solution, but for whom the investment in a tailor-made sorter is (still) not an option. This Split Tray sorter is fully equipped (additional options are available) and is built from standard modules of 12 exits. An additional advantage is that the Standard Fashion Sorter can be up and running within 4 months.

Push Tray Sorter 

In short: 

  • Suitable for: E-commerce, clothing, shoe boxes, pharmaceutical industry, sportswear, cosmetics, etc.
  • Capacity: 13,600 items per hour
  • Dimensions: Min. 40 x 40 x 6 mm / Max. 675 x 600 x 400 mm
  • Weights: From 0.05 kg to 20 k

The Push Tray is a versatile and cost-effective alternative to a Cross Tray sorter. It can sort one larger package or two smaller ones per carrier independently (Twin Tray). This sorter can handle both polybags and boxes, eliminating the need for separate sorters. It is capable of processing items ranging from business cards to 20 kg boxes on the same tray, making it popular for e-commerce and retail applications (e.g., store replenishment). The Push Tray Sorter has a throughput rate of up to 24,000 items per hour.

Key features

  • Twin Tray (double throughput capacity of a single push tray)
  • Manual induction = convenience
  • Safe tray design
  • Inbound, outbound & returns
  • Weld-free carriers (easily recyclable)
  • Gentle Push product handling
  • Maximum flexibility and minimal fault sensitivity
  • Safe for magnetic products
  • Quick ROI
  • Low TCO
  • Quiet

Cross Tray Sorter 

In short: 

  • Suitable for: E-commerce, clothing, shoe boxes, pharmaceutical industry, sportswear, cosmetics, etc.

  • Capacity: 13,300 items per hour

  • Dimensions: Min. 40 x 40 x 1 mm / Max. 600 x 800 x 400 mm

  • Weights: Min. 0.05 g / Max. 23 kg

The Single Cross Tray Sorter is a highly versatile solution. Unique to this sorting machine is that the tray (or carrier) is enclosed on all four sides. This means that every product – large or small, flat or round – stays in place, even around corners. This system flawlessly sorts difficult-to-handle items and is especially favored by postal and e-commerce companies. Movable cams on the top and bottom of the tray provide a forced push-off mechanism, enabling dual-sided (left and right) discharge. A significant additional benefit is the ability to accommodate many more exits within a small footprint.

Key features

  • Dual-sided discharge – compact footprint
  • Suitable for large and small, light, smooth products, and unique shapes (round, spherical, cylindrical, conical, heart-shaped, etc.)
  • Tray enclosed on all four sides – products remain in place, even around corners
  • Unique mechanically forced push-off – minimal error probability
  • Compact footprint – optimal use of available space
  • Lower investment costs – no expensive automatic feeding system required
  • Friction drive propulsion – extremely low energy consumption
  • Modular design, few wearing parts – low maintenance costs and easy maintenance
  • Lightweight construction – fits on standard mezzanines
  • Quiet
  • Safe for magnetic products