Key Technology Inc. has introduced a digital laser sorter, Taurys, for applications including nuts and fresh-cut produce.
“With further testing we hope to apply Taurys to fresh-cut products such as baby whole carrots, fresh whole and cut green beans, snow peas, edamame, broccoli, cauliflower and more,” said John Kadinger, marketing manager for Walla Walla, Wash.-based Key Technology.
Testing is complete on nuts. An early installation sorts walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias, almonds and pistachios; Key Technology declines to name the nut company.
Taurys, one of various sorters Key Technology offers the food industry, was designed to handle higher loads of incoming defects, increase detection resolution and improve removal of defective and foreign material.
Besides lasers, the technology uses an Enygma sort engine, a reengineered Chycane in-feed chute and a new ejection manifold that doubles the number of ejectors. It’s Key Technology’s first new product since its merger with Visys and incorporates Visys technology.
One of the goals was to help processors reduce false rejects.
“Taurys’ primary advantage of processing higher incoming defect loads while achieving a greater than 1:8 good to bad ratio, depending on the product, achieves both quality and yield improvements,” Kadinger said.
The sort engine fuses multiple characteristics into one sort decision, compared to food sorting that decides based on attributes collected separately by each sensor, according to the company.
Depending on the product, the sorter has a maximum capacity of three to 15 metric tons. Its inspection zone is 47 inches wide. Its user interface is can be accessed remotely.
Use of digital lasers aims at avoiding the signal degradation and data loss associated with analog lasers. Taurys is not affected by interference or noise, according to the company.
Key Technology plans to showcase the equipment at Process Expo Nov. 3-6 in Chicago.