Key Technology

April 7, 2006
Laser boosts selectivity of high-volume sorter

Key Technology introduces the new high-volume Optyx 6000 Series Sorter with Raptor Laser Technology. Featuring a doublewide platform that harnesses the horsepower of Key’s G6 engine, Optyx 6000 Raptor detects the smallest defects and foreign material to optimize product quality and maximize food safety at double the throughput. As the first wide-belt laser sorter to maintain the high resolution of the finest narrow-belt laser sorters, Optyx 6000 Raptor sets a new standard.

Optyx 6000 Raptor can sort fresh, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables, including frozen potato products, tree nuts, raisins and other food products at production rates of up to 40,000 pounds (~18 metric tons) per hour, depending on the application.

Further, Optyx 6000 Raptor harnesses the power, precision, and performance of Key’s successful Optyx 3000 Raptor, the 24-inch (610 mm) wide sorter that was introduced in 2005 with great success, especially in the raisin and nut markets. Optyx 6000 Raptor features a 48-inch (1220 mm) wide scan area that doubles production capacity and all-digital state-of-the-art electronics that deliver the same ultra-high resolution as Optyx 3000 Raptor. Unlike traditional analog laser systems, Raptor’s all-digital architecture delivers uncompromised data that drives the most advanced algorithms for complex sort decisions.

Optyx with Raptor combines Key’s proprietary color cameras with laser technology to provide the most comprehensive sort available today. Optyx analyzes size and shape as well as millions of subtle color difference and removes defects based on user-defined accept/reject standards. Adding Raptor Laser expands the sorter’s inspection capabilities by reliably detecting foreign matter based on differences in the structural properties of the product and any foreign material. Combining the industry’s most sophisticated color sorting with the highest resolution laser technology maximizes the removal of defects and foreign matter in the product stream while improving recovery rates.

Based on Key’s advanced G6 electro-optical platform, which features a powerful new controller, modular vision engine, and high-resolution cameras that combine more pixels and faster scan rates, Optyx 6000 Raptor achieves the most complex and robust inspections. The flexible architecture assures forward compatibility — the modular design and use of industry-wide connectivity standards ease future upgrades to keep Optyx up to date and performing at peak as technology advances.

The Optyx 6000 Series Sorters employ multiple cameras and sensors in a variety of configurations to best match the needs of each application. Optyx 6000 Raptor can be configured for either single-side or two-side laser scanning, depending on the product and the customers’ inspection objectives. As the only Class I laser sorter in the food industry, Optyx with Raptor sets a new standard in both performance and worker safety.

The icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) is easy to learn and use, reducing operator training and simplifying operation. The user interface integrates Raptor information, allowing the operator to see what the laser is “seeing.” This patented feature delivers more intuitive machine feedback to the operator, which allows for more accurate adjustment of accept/reject thresholds. Product settings can be stored and retrieved for fast product changeover.

The GUI can reside locally on the sorter and can be accessed remotely via its OPC-compliant infrastructure, enhancing the flexibility in the operating environment and easing access for remote factory troubleshooting and application assistance. Sophisticated real-time and on-demand diagnostics help minimize and avoid costly downtime, and detect conditions that could compromise inspection.