Key Technology

March 6, 2006
Automatic defect removal system makes processing potatoes a piece of cake

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Key Technology introduces ADR 5, an automatic defect removal system for potato strips, which combines the wide footprint of ADR III with the high-speed accuracy of ADR 4 to achieve a 20 percent increase in production capacity. This increase in throughput, coupled with the advanced inspection capabilities of Key’s G6 electro-optical platform, offers new capabilities to processors looking to optimize the balance between quality and productivity. ADR 5 enables processors to more accurately match product quality to specifications, maximizing product yield and profits.

ADR 5 combines high-resolution Vis/IR cameras, a patented belt conveyor, a patented rotary cutter, and Iso-Flo high-speed vibratory conveyors to align, singulate, inspect, and trim potato strips with unparalleled speed and precision. It eliminates manual inspection and trimming, and improves cutting accuracy and good product recovery. ADR 5 inspects potato strips and automatically cuts out defects at production rates of up to 16,200 pounds (7.4 metric tons) per hour.

Leveraging Key’s G6 electro-optical foundation, ADR 5 offers highly sophisticated image processing. G6 features a powerful new controller, modular vision engine, and trichromatic cameras that combine more pixels and faster scan rates to achieve more complex and robust inspections. Based on the flexible G6 architecture, ADR 5 assures forward compatibility — the modular design and use of industry-wide connectivity standards ease future upgrades to keep systems up to date and performing at peak as technology advances.

With its LED light source and air-actuated knives, ADR 5 enhances performance and reduces maintenance. Compared to fluorescent lights used on other defect removal systems, LEDs produce a more stable light over a much longer period of time. This consistent light source improves inspection accuracy while the LED’s longevity nearly eliminates lighting maintenance. Compared to water-activated knife systems that produce considerable wear on the valves, the air-activated knife actuation on the ADR 5 cutter-wheel improves cutting accuracy while enhancing reliability and reducing maintenance.

With its “bed shift” feature, which allows lane widths to be optimized easily, the new ADR 5 efficiently handles potato strips from thin shoestring to thick steak-cut fries, minimizing white cuts and maximizing recovery. High-performance trichromatic Vis/IR cameras with red, green and infrared channels accurately identify green defects based on visible light and differentiate between potato peel and brown defects such as bruises and rot using infrared sensors. These Vis/IR cameras enable the ADR 5 to detect and remove a wide range of defects on both peeled and peel-on potato strips.

Matching the footprint of Key’s popular ADR II and ADR III systems, the ADR 5 allows processors using these systems to easily upgrade while minimizing installation costs.