Key Technology improves nut and fried fruit sorting

Nut and dried fruit processors rely on Key Technology’s Pixel Fusion to meet the most stringent requirements for product quality and purity. By providing the clearest distinction between good product, shell, foreign material (FM), defects and different color grades, Pixel Fusion improves the accuracy of digital sorting. This effectiveness reduces the number of sorting passes required to make grade and virtually eliminates false rejects, which maximizes productivity and yield while consistently achieving the target product quality level.

VERYX sorters equipped with Pixel Fusion identify and remove loose and embedded shell fragments, membrane material, broken nuts, product with surface scratches or insect damage, moisture-related defects, moldy product, color-based defects and FM including wood chips, stems, rocks, glass and more to satisfy consumers’ zero-tolerance for impurities. Tailored to meet the unique detection requirements of each application, VERYX with Pixel Fusion is ideal for sorting walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pecans, cashews and dried fruit such as raisins, prunes, cranberries, apricots, figs and dates.

Pixel Fusion is an advanced detection module that combines pixel-level input from multiple cameras and laser scanners sharing the same line of sight to create a unique, unambiguous ‘signature’ for each type of substance in the product stream. Compared to other detection methods, which do not collect data from the same pixel at the same time, Pixel Fusion more precisely differentiates good product, shell, FM and defects, enabling VERYX to recognize and eject previously difficult-to-detect FM and subtle product defects such as wormholes.

Pixel Fusion combines input from Key’s next-generation cameras and laser sensors. The 4-channel cameras distinguish millions of different colors, which enable the most accurate color grading and detection of color-based defects as well as the size and shape of each object. The laser scanners recognize the structural properties of each object’s surface for superior FM detection as well as product texture and moisture analysis.

These cameras and laser sensors offer twice the resolution of previous generation sorters to identify smaller shell fragments, FM and defects. The accuracy of the VERYX detection system is paired with a new, high-resolution ejection system, which features the closest spacing between air nozzles of any sorter in order to better target and remove undesirable objects. Intelligent software manages the air nozzles’ actuation strategy to suit the size, shape and weight of each object being removed. The combined precision of the detection and ejection systems results in the most complete removal of shells, FM and targeted product defects without sacrificing good product to the reject stream.

Key configures each VERYX sorter with the ideal sensor types, sensor positions, lighting, ejection system, product handling and software to meet each processor’s requirements. The modular sorter can be easily upgraded in the field with additional or different sensors to handle changing customer requirements over time. For nut and dried fruit processors that want to produce the highest final product quality, VERYX sorters can be configured with front- and rear-mounted cameras and laser sensors to achieve all-sided surface inspection.

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