Published online: Jun 20, 2011 Potato Storage, Potato Harvesting, Potato Equipment
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Featuring two ejector systems, three-way sorting allows food processors to automatically eject product that can be reworked and recovered separately from material sent to waste, typically foreign material (FM). Good product continues though the camera/laser sorter unaffected as usual.

This powerful new capability allows processors to produce a high-quality finished product without losing recoverable off-grade product to the waste stream or requiring additional sorting expense to separately rework product.

Manta with three-way sorting is ideal for processors that want to remove foreign material as well as valuable off-grade product from their primary product. For these processors, traditional two-way sorters require the reject stream be re-sorted using manual inspection or a second automated sorting system to recover valuable off-grade product. Depending on the application, moving to three-way sorting can increase yields, reduce the risk of FM in finished product, reduce labor costs and/or minimize capital equipment.

"With more than 20 installations worldwide, we've proven the effectiveness of Manta with three-way sorting for multiple applications," noted Bret Larreau, Optical Product Manager at Key Technology. "Potato processors are using the three-way sort to control for length. The second reject stream-for product that can be reworked and recovered-improves the quality of the pass stream, accepting only good product that matches product specifications."

Manta is Key's highest-capacity high-performance sorter, which features a two-meter wide scan area that maximizes throughput within a space-saving footprint. Handling up to 27 metric tons (60,000 pounds) of product an hour, Manta performs high-resolution imaging of each object to detect and remove the smallest defects and foreign material via both color sorting and laser sorting. Using Key's proprietary color cameras, Manta recognizes each object's size and shape as well as millions of color differences to remove defects based on user-defined accept/reject standards. Integrating Key's Raptor laser technology into Manta allows the sorter to inspect objects' structural properties, which is often the most effective method for detecting and removing foreign material.

As a high-speed belt sorter, product discharges Manta sorters with a consistent trajectory that enables the software to accurately pinpoint foreign material and defective products to eject. Featuring two ejector systems and two reject chutes, Manta equipped for three-way sorting is extremely versatile. It can be changed over within seconds via the touchscreen to achieve traditional two-way sorting if off-grade products have no recoverable value.

Based on Key's powerful G6 electro-optical platform, Manta offers the most advanced image processing in the industry. Featuring a modular design and proven, high-performance connectivity standards such as Camera Link, FireWire and Ethernet, Manta ensures forward compatibility to maximize a food processor's long-term return on investment.