Company: Key Technology


Equipment Snapshot: Key Technology expands its VERYX family of digital sorters with the introduction of the VERYX B140, a medium-capacity belt-fed sorter. The new B140 features a 1400-mm wide inspection zone, which is 15 percent wider than comparatively sized sorters to achieve a higher throughput within a similar footprint and better singulation of product on the belt to improve sorting accuracy. Featuring an innovative system architecture and advanced inspection technology, VERYX sorters maximize the detection and removal of foreign material (FM) and product defects based on objects’ color, size, shape and/or structural properties while minimizing false rejects to enhance product quality and increase yields.

Ideal for production lines running 5 to 10 metric tons (12,000 to 24,000 lb.) of product per hour, the VERYX B140 complements Key’s existing range of chute- and belt-fed VERYX sorters of various widths. All belt-fed VERYX sorters, including the new B140, can be configured for wet and frozen potato strips and specialty potato products as well as fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, potato chips and other snack foods, confections, seafood and more. Chute-fed VERYX sorter configurations are ideal for nuts, dried fruit, IQF products and other free-flowing foods.

“Our VERYX sorters are modular – built to be tailored to the exact needs of each customer application. Even within the same food product type, we consider the nuances of different varietals and where the crops are grown, as well as regional differences in customer needs between Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia, Asia, India and the Middle East. Throughput is just one variable in designing the ideal sorting solution,” said Marco Azzaretti, advanced inspection systems product manager at Key. “The new B140 expands the VERYX family with a new belt-fed sorter for mid-capacity production lines. Other models are available for smaller and larger capacity requirements.

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 system includes specialized infeed and collection shakers designed specifically for each application in order to maximize sorting performance. VERYX sorters can be easily upgraded in the field with additional or different sensors, as customer requirements evolve over time.

For food processors that require all-sided surface inspection, Key can configure VERYX with top-and-bottom mounted sensors to achieve a full view of each object in the product stream with no blind spots. Belt-fed VERYX is the only sorter on the market that positions bottom sensors away from product splatter to ensure lower sensor windows are not obstructed by contamination buildup over time. Eliminating this previously common performance degradation factor keeps the bottom sensors operating at their peak and makes VERYX the first digital sorter to deliver 100 percent surface inspection that can be sustained throughout the production cycle.

VERYX is also the only sorter with multi-sensor Pixel Fusion. This advanced feature combines pixel-level input from multiple cameras and laser sensors sharing the same line of sight 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 rejects.

The next-generation cameras and laser sensors on VERYX offer twice the resolution of previous generation sorters to detect smaller FM and product defects. With up to 4 channels of information from cameras and up to 8 channels of information from the laser scanner, combined with advanced LED lighting that operates at optimal frequencies in relation to each sensor, every VERYX sorter is designed to perfectly match the customer’s sort requirements, from basic to the most complex.

VERYX’s separation/ejection system is also tailored to each product application, with configurable distances between air nozzles and intelligent software managing the actuation of each valve for optimal management of the sort streams. The air nozzles’ actuation is controlled strategically to suit the size, shape and weight of each object targeted for separation.

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

The highly intuitive 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 with frequent changeovers, VERYX is easily setup 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 sorter 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, integrated with other equipment on the line 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.