The Series 3 CoreTakr can handle up to 1,500 heads of lettuce an hour. ( Courtesy JBT FTNON )

JBT Corp., Chicago, has new equipment that uses 3D technology to remove cores from lettuce heads.

The FTNON Series 3 CoreTakr is a robotic system that uses cameras to remove lettuce heads for fresh-cut and ready-to-eat products.

The machines, which have been in testing in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, can handle 1,500 heads of lettuce an hour and need just one employee to operative, according to a news release. The machine can increase yields by 3%-9%, and improve factory safety, according to the release.

“Iceberg lettuces drop automatically into the system with no people involved,” Wilco Fauth, global product line director for JBT FTNON, said in the release. “A 3D camera will take a look at the lettuce and determine where the core is and its size. The lettuce then moves into the decorer which is extremely accurate in removing the core.”

Fauth said the CoreTakr can detect and removed damaged products.

“The moment the CoreTakr encounters a lettuce that is contaminated, this is removed to prevent it going through the system,” he said in the release. “This enormously improves food safety across the whole factory and allows customers to build up a full picture across the whole year, enabling them to provide feedback to the grower or seed company.”

FTNON can remotely monitor a CoreTakr to ensure it is running effectively, according to the company.
“The vast amounts of data that the CoreTakr produces – up to one terabyte per unit each day – is collected remotely by FTNON before being analyzed and shared with the customer,” according to the release.

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