Key Technology, a provider of digital sorting, conveying and process automation technologies, has introduced its new patented software, Sort-to-Grade (STG) for VERYX digital sorters.
Key Technology said that its STG software is field proven for potato strips and is available for more food sorting applications like fresh and processed fruits and vegetables along with nuts.
The company said that in traditional sorting strategies, a series of one-off accept/reject decisions are made based on fixed selection criteria while, an STG-enabled sorter dynamically evaluates each decision based on how it impacts the aggregate ‘in the bag’ grade, as defined by the processor.
Furthermore, STG delivers the most complex final product specifications without operator intervention, and controls the output for defect categories of various severity and/or product dimensions, while increasing yields by one to three percent.
STG is capable of recognizing and categorizing the visual and structural characteristics of every individual object in the product stream and allows a specific amount of low- and middle-severity defects to pass. It works based on user-defined allowable tolerances for each defect category, while ejecting all high-severity defects and foreign material.
STG improves process yield to pass the maximum proportion of allowed defects for the grade and manages the exact ‘in the bag’ distribution required to meet specifications, accounting for variations in the size distribution of incoming product.
The smart algorithms used in STG are designed to solve complicated yield optimization calculations in microseconds and adjust the sorter’s accept/reject decisions to maintain a consistent output regardless of constant variations in quality of the incoming product.
The company claims that its STG mitigates the need for manual sorting adjustments, surpassing the abilities of any human in both decision-making and speed to achieve the most complex final product.
Key advanced inspection systems product manager Marco Azzaretti said: “Our powerful Sort-to-Grade software can evaluate multiple criteria at once. For example, a discoloration may be considered a defect only if it exceeds a certain absolute or relative dimension or if it occurs in combination with other defects on the same object.
“Processors can eliminate mechanical size grading equipment by using a STG-enabled sorter to control products’ dimensional characteristics. The possibilities of Sort-to-Grade are endless.”
VERYX equipped with STG is capable of identifying and classifying object’s color, size, shape, structural properties and/or chemical composition.
Azzaretti added: “The value of VERYX with Sort-to-Grade is threefold. It enables processors to address complex product specs to guarantee their quality objectives are met. At the same time, it maximizes yields by passing the ideal amount of acceptable defects, colors, sizes and shapes, all while minimizing operator intervention for better profitability.”