Introduction: Color Sorting System: Arduino Based System With Two Belts

About: Hello My name is Ahmed Darwish. I’m 39 years old, married and have two wonderful children (Abdulrahman and Emma). I’m an Egyptian electronics and telecommunications engineer. I live and work in State of Kuwait…

Transportation and/or packaging of products and items in industrial field is done using lines made using conveyor belts. Those belts helps to move the item from one point to another with specific speed. Some processing or identification tasks may be done while the products or items are moving along the belts.

The belts help the workers either to transport the items individually, mix the items or sort the items in some kind of desired sorting. The sorting process may be based on color, weight, dimensions or combination of any other measurements.

Automated systems help to sort the item upon the required criteria and specifications. Using dedicated sensors can be a great hand in automated systems for sorting. we can use color sensors for sorting items based on color, distance sensor for sorting items based on height.

My system is a direct example of making a color sorting automated system prototype. I shall show you how i designed it using two belts: main belt to transport the item from start point to color procession and testing point then another belt is perpendicular on the first and helps to sort the items into two main color groups. Both conveyor belts' speeds are controlled. Also there will be some control buttons to start and stop.

Step 1: Contacts

So glad to hear feedback from you. Please don't hesitate to join my channels on:

Instagram: @simplydigital010

Twitter: @simply01Digital

Step 2: Conveyor Belt System Requirements and Specifications

The system has two main conveyor belts: main belt to transport the object in one direction to pass through the color sensor while the other sorting belt moves right and left to sort the objects in two different categories or boxes.

The system has good power source to cover all the requirements of the system different parts so it’s better to choose a rechargeable battery to avoid the high cost of buying new batteries every while.

The process has control functions such as START and STOP to help the users to manage the whole process even if the belt system is running. The belts is speed managed and stopped if there is not item placed on it.

So the system has an obstacle sensor at the beginning of the main conveyor belt. Then the item shall pass through the color sorting sensor. The Arduino decides the sorting belt direction based on the color.

Step 3: Components

To Complete this project I needed

  • Arduino UNO micro-controller board
  • L298N Motor Drivers
  • DC motors with gears
  • Color Sensor
  • HC-SR04 Ultrasonic Distance Sensor
  • IR Distance Sensor
  • Wires
  • Big size Wood holder
  • Medium size wood dish holder
  • Rough fabric sheet
  • Hair rollers
  • Wires

Of course you can adjust, modify, replace or even cancel any part to be suitable for your objectives. Otherwise, follow my instructions :)

Step 4: System Design

The system is based on an Arduino UNO microcontroller connected to a Ultrasonic distance sensor to detect the presence of the object at the start point. Another infrared (IR) sensor is located next to the color sensor at the middle point of the Main Conveyor Belt. Whenever an object reaches the IR sensor, the Main belt stops and the color sensor detects the color of the object.

The Arduino receives the color sensor's data and analyze it. Based on those data, the Arduino can recognize if the object is Red or Blue. Then the Arduino controls the movement of the sorting belt (clockwise or counterclockwise) to sort the object based on its color.

The system contains the following parts:

  1. Arduino UNO board: a microcontroller used to control all the functions of the system and perform a decision regarding the sorting process
  2. Color sensor: used to identify the color of the objects and feed the data to the Arduino to decide the sorting direction
  3. Ultrasonic sensors: used to sense the presence of an object at the starting point so the system shall not run until an item presents at the start point
  4. Conveyor belts: one main conveyor belt to transport the item from the start point to the sensor used for sorting process. The belt is controlled with a DC motor. Another sorting conveyor belts is used to transport the items to the right or to the left based on the color of the items
  5. Push buttons: two push buttons are used as a control panel to start or stop the system
  6. LEDs: to make a visual indication of the color of the items
  7. Variable resistor: to control the speed of the belts
  8. Rechargeable battery: used to power the system
  9. Belts holders: frame used to carry the belts for sorting

Step 5: Fixing the Belts (Main Belt and Sorting Belt)

Step 6: System Analysis

  1. If the START button is pressed, the system is ready to receive an object
  2. if an item is placed on main belt in front of the ultrasonic sensor, the main belt moves forward
  3. When the object reaches the object presence sensor, the main belt stops and the color sensors feeds the controller with the color of the item
  4. The main belt moves forward to transport the item to the sorting belt that moves either to the right or to the left based on the color of the item
  5. The system stops after a period of time unless another item is placed
  6. If the stop button is pressed, the system shall stop after the current sorting process and shall not run even if an item is placed on the main belt
  7. The speed is controlled by the variable resistor regardless of the color, size, or weight of the item

Step 7: Assemble the Project Parts Together

Step 8: Arduino Code