Company: Key Technology

Equipment Snapshot: Key Technology introduced its VERYX digital sorters for nuts and dried fruits. This innovative new sorter is designed specifically to identify and remove even the most challenging foreign material (FM) and defects such as small, loose and embedded shell fragments, membrane material, insect damage, surface scratches, color-based defects, stems, rocks, glass and more. VERYX for nuts and dried fruits achieves unmatched color grading and shell, FM and defect removal while at the same time its extreme accuracy virtually eliminates false rejects.

Ideal for sorting walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pecans, cashews and dried fruit such as raisins, prunes, cranberries, apricots, figs, dates and more, VERYX guarantees that final product specifications are maintained while maximizing yields. This new level of sorting efficiency allows nut and dried fruit processors to make grade with fewer passes through the sorter, increasing productivity and reducing product breakage.

VERYX is the only nut and dried fruit sorter that can be configured with front- and rear-mounted laser sensors and cameras to achieve all-sided surface inspection. It is also the only sorter with multi-sensor Pixel Fusion, which combines pixel-level input from multiple cameras and laser sensors to more clearly differentiate good product, defects and FM. With Pixel Fusion, VERYX consistently removes the most difficult-to-detect FM and defects without ‘false positives.

The next-generation 4-channel cameras and laser sensors on VERYX offer twice the resolution of previous generation sorters to detect smaller pieces of shell, FM and product defects. The accuracy of the detection system is paired with a high-resolution ejection system, which features the closest spacing between air nozzles of any nut and dried fruit sorter in order to better target and remove defects. 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 defects without sacrificing good product to the reject stream.

Key offers VERYX in a variety of widths to meet the needs of low- to high-capacity nut and dried fruit processors. Thanks to inspection zones that are wider than other sorters with a similar footprint, VERYX enables processors to increase their throughputs by up to 15 percent while remaining efficient in its floor space requirements.

VERYX marries Key’s expertise in sorting and product handling. The patented Chycane chute features a patented concave shape that stabilizes product as it transitions into the inspection and ejection zones, which helps maximize detection and removal accuracy. The sorting system includes specialized infeed and collection shakers designed specifically for each product to gently handle fragile nuts and effectively move sticky dried fruits without damage.

Key configures each 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.

VERYX works perfectly as a stand-alone sorter, either in line or batch fed, and in arrangements comprising a cascading line of multiple sorters, depending on the needs of the processor. Integrating Key’s Cayman BioPrint sorter upstream of VERYX creates a powerful combination. The Cayman hyperspectral sensors handle even the highest levels of incoming shells and other FM, dramatically reducing them prior to VERYX performing an advanced sort on color, size, shape and structural properties to ensure the desired grade at maximum yield.

Designed for extreme ease-of-use, VERYX includes smart features that enable it to adapt to normal changes in the product and environment and perform without operator intervention. With auto-learning, self-adjustment algorithms, predictive system diagnostics, smart alarms and FMAlert™, VERYX can operate virtually unattended during normal production.

The VERYX UI provides different views to users of various levels, depending on their needs. Recipe-driven operation and repeatable system calibration ensure customers can count on consistent performance from their VERYX sorter day in, day out, including running the same product across multiple sorters using the same sort recipe for repeatable results. For customers running multiple product types on the same system, the ergonomic UI enables the sorter to run a new product or product grade at the touch of a button. Operator qualification requirements are dramatically reduced, allowing a minimally skilled operator to become a proficient user of the technology in less than one hour.

VERYX features Key’s Information Analytics, a set of data acquisition and connectivity capabilities that allow users to gather a broad range of product and operational data from the sorter. Data can be shared for off-line analysis or exchanged directly with a customer’s SCADA, Manufacturing Execution System or PLC network.

Key manufactures VERYX sorters in both the U.S. and Europe and supports customers worldwide through its global sales and service network.