Company: Key Technology
Technology Snapshot: Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, has introduced Key Discovery. This suite of software solutions transforms Key’s digital sorting systems into Industrial Internet of things-connected devices that collect, analyze, and share data while sorting product. By harnessing data about the sort process and about every object flowing through the sorter, Key Discovery can reveal patterns and trends that improve sorting and help control upstream and downstream processes. Key Discovery provides actionable information that enables processors to optimize product quality, maximize yield, reduce downtime and minimize labor to increase profitability.
“The Industrial Internet of Things is a reality in the food processing industry. Key Discovery represents the next-generation of our information analytics software solutions. With it, food processors can turn their digital sorters into advanced product and process information centers,” said Dave Crewe, senior vice president of AIS Engineering at Key Technology. “We’re known for our powerful food sorting systems, which generate a greater volume of more accurate data about the customer’s product than other sorting devices. Key Discovery leverages that data and helps processors identify actionable opportunities to enhance operations.
Key Discovery is available for all Key Technology sorting equipment including VERYX digital sorters and ADR EXOS automatic defect removal systems, as well as other Key sorting platforms. It offers flexible connectivity to a processor’s enterprise, whether to a manufacturing execution system or a supervisory control and data acquisition system, shop floor management software, or power-line communication network, via a secure infrastructure.
Food processors can use the data provided by Key Discovery for a wide variety of process monitoring and line control purposes, depending on their needs. It audits the sorter’s wellness, validates sort performance, and helps better manage output. Key Discovery can also monitor upstream processes to help identify issues and opportunities for improvement, and it can connect the sorter with other equipment and devices upstream and downstream on the line. These capabilities help maximize raw product utilization, improve line performance, and reduce the need for human monitoring of the sort process.
Key Discovery’s configurable reporting enables processors to understand product batches in terms of their quality profile, measuring defect rates and the presence of foreign material as well as the color, size, shape, structural property, and/or chemical composition of the product, whether the data are used to make sort decisions or not. These quality reports can be used to manage payment plans for growers or to better understand how different field practices and raw product sources affect final product quality. Key Discovery can also perform quality control measurements and reporting in-line, eliminating the need for time-consuming tests to be conducted on small samples of the product population off the production line.
Key Discovery is available on new Key digital sorting systems and as a field upgrade on installed Key sorters. Every new Key Technology sorting system comes standard with a set of Discovery features that can be further expanded and tailored to the requirements of individual food processors. For customers whose operation can benefit from advanced process monitoring and control, Key Discovery provides a wealth of capabilities to optimize line operation. “We partner with individual processors to understand their product, operational requirements and how Key Discovery can be tapped to add the most value. We then tailor their Key Discovery solution accordingly,” said Crewe.
Key manufactures equipment in both the U.S. and Europe and supports its customers worldwide through its extensive sales and SupportPro service network.