Optical Sorting System Achieves Three-Way Sort Using Deflector System and Air Ejectors

April 23, 2009

Key Technology introduces 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 (FM) and a unique deflector system to separate potatoes for rework from good potatoes. Maximizing the removal of foreign material and providing extremely gentle handling to avoid potato damage, Optyx WPS improves product quality and protects downstream equipment while reducing labor costs and increasing yields.

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.