Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Key Technology optical sorting system

October 19, 2009  By Fruit & Vegetable

keytech01October 19, 2009 – Key
Technology introduced its first optical sorting system for whole potatoes.

October 19, 2009 – Key
introduced its first optical sorting system for whole potatoes.

Optyx WPS for whole
potatoes achieves a three-way sort using a combination of air ejectors to
remove foreign material and a deflector system to separate potatoes for rework
from good potatoes.


Optyx WPS can sort peeled
and peel-on product, differentiating peel from scab, bruise, rot, and green
defects. Using cameras, Optyx WPS recognizes colour, size, and shape to remove
potatoes needing re-work based on the presence of peel, scab, or gross defects,
as well as potatoes that fail to meet user-defined standards for length, width,
or shape.  Using a combination of
Raptor laser technology with high resolution line scan cameras, Optyx WPS
reliably detects and removes foreign material based on the structural
properties of the material, as well as visible colour.

As the product passes
through the sorter, it is scanned by cameras without leaving the conveyor belt.
Product is then launched off the end of the Optyx WPS belt for in-air viewing
by the Raptor laser sensor. Using proprietary image processing technology, the
sorter analyzes the images, comparing each object to previously defined
accept/reject standards. When foreign material is identified, the system
activates the close-coupled high-speed air ejector system, which is made up of
a series of high-flow valves spaced 0.25 inches (6 mm) apart that span the
width of the system. While the foreign material is still air-borne, the air
jets pinpoint the object to reject and precisely remove it from the product
stream via the FM chute.


Optyx 6000 WPS handles up
to 100,000 lb. (45 metric tons) of whole potatoes per hour. By sorting potatoes
prior to cutting, processors protect the cutters’ knives from damage caused by
foreign material, which maximizes product quality and improves production line
up time. By automating the sort, processors reduce labor costs. By achieving a
three-way sort with Key’s powerful G6 digital image processing capabilities,
potato processors can define their sort criteria to increase yields and speed


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