Optical Sorting System for Potatoes Offers Three-Way Sort
Key Technology 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 color, 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 color.
As product passes through the sorter, it is scanned by cameras while still on 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 analyses 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 uptime. 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 payback.