Case History: Hyperspectral Sorting Detects More

June 7, 2021
Caro Nut maximizes product quality and food safety while reducing costs with Key Technology's help.
Caro Nut hit the market in 2008 as a cashew trader and quickly became a premier producer of various snacking nuts, nut butters and ingredients. Their dedication to sustainably sourcing nuts, developing new products and maximizing food safety drives their success with major brands, private labels and industrial manufacturers. As a result, Caro Nut has grown significantly year after year.

“Foreign material can be a problem for nut processors. We need to find and remove shells as well as other FM like rocks, glass and plastics that get scooped up with the harvest,” says Gerard Lorenzano, manager of the Fresno, Calif., plant.

“For our nut butter line, we wanted to get a better grip on FM so we went searching for a new sorting system. We turned to Key Technology and selected their Veryx BioPrint hyperspectral sorter. With this technology, we get the high quality product we need and we’ve reduced our operating costs at the same time.”

Veryx BioPrint is the world’s only digital sorter that combines hyperspectral detection with color cameras. Inspecting across many wavelengths within the near infrared spectrum as well as visible light, it analyzes a richer set of data about the materials it’s sorting to improve detection performance and minimize false rejects. Caro Nut’s Veryx BioPrint C140 features front- and rear-mounted hyperspectral sensors and high-resolution color cameras to sort cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts and brazil nuts prior to roasting and milling.

“Detecting shells is difficult for traditional optical sorters. When shells are the same color as good nut meat, it can trick a sorter’s cameras and laser sensors,” explains Sonny Chhina, maintenance supervisor at Caro Nut. “Key’s BioPrint uses hyperspectral technology to look at the moisture content of objects. It sees low moisture in shells and kicks them out.”

Veryx BioPrint actually fuses data from hyperspectral sensors and color cameras at the pixel level to find and remove the widest variety of FM and even hard-to-detect defects like nuts with insect damage, rot and mold. This versatile nut sorter also shape sorts and color grades, if needed.

“Before we replaced it, our old sorter rejected a lot of good nut meat along with the shells. It took a significant amount of time and effort to re-sort the rejects and recover yield," notes Lorenzano. "We also had a fair amount of shells that were passed through the old sorter’s accept stream, which plugged up the mill plates and required frequent cleanings. All that has changed with Veryx BioPrint.

“Now, our sorter removes exactly what we want it to and nothing more,” he continues. "We no longer rework the reject stream, which delivers substantial cost savings – rejects go straight to waste.

And our mill plates need less attention because they don’t get packed with shell. Our new sorter is so effective, we’ve eliminated manual inspection on the line and moved that person to elsewhere in our plant.”

“We’re able to handle heavier loads of incoming shells and defects, too,” adds Chhina. “We select the product recipe from the sorter’s memory and adjust the sensitivity with just a couple of taps on the touchscreen. Then we’re good to go.”

Veryx BioPrint is designed for ease-of-use with smart features that reduce operator qualification requirements and intervention. “We’ve connected our Veryx BioPrint to our plant network, which is a great asset for us," Chhina continues. "If we reach out to Key for support, they’re able to jump on and work with the sorter remotely.

“We’re tapping into Veryx’s data collection capability as well. For example, our sorter is programmed to measure the attributes of the incoming product and its reject stream. We use that information to be sure we’re ejecting exactly what we want to remove. We also give that data to our source managers so they can negotiate supplier payments based on incoming product quality.”

Lorenzano concludes: “To be clear, this story is about much more than a new machine. Key is a strategic partner. We have the same objectives, and they’re dedicated to our success. They help us produce the safest, best quality products while reducing our costs."

Sponsored Recommendations

F&B Manufacturer Implements Powerful Cybersecurity

A leading F&B manufacturer has moved to harness the skills of Rockwell Automation and Claroty to harden their OT and IT defences.

6 Ways to Augment Your Food and Beverage Workforce

Modern digital tools and technologies help attract, retain and empower a modern workforce.

2024 Manufacturing Trends - Unpacking AI, Workforce, and Cybersecurity

The world of manufacturing is changing, and Generative AI is one of the many change agents. The 2024 State of Smart Manufacturing Report takes a deep dive into how Generative ...

Better OT Asset Management Increases Uptime

A food and beverage company streamlines and simplifies its OT cybersecurity to increase system reliability and uptime.