The software-driven capability (available on Manta, Optyx and Tegra belt-driven sorters) lets users sort by grade to count, accepting or rejecting each defective piece to meet requirements and quality standards. Aimed for potato processing operations, the sort-to-grade eature reportedly boosts product quality and increases yields by as much as 3%.
Marco Azzaretti, advanced inspection systems product manager at Washington-based Key Technology, said the enhancement can help processing pros make the most of their equipment.
“Sort-to-grade is like cruise control on a car; it automates the adjustments needed to maintain a consistent outcome despite the constant fluctuations of input,” Azzaretti said. “Even for a dedicated operator, in some situations it can be nearly impossible to perfectly optimize grade and yield given the volume of dynamic data to be considered.”
Most sorters base accept/reject decisions based on predetermined criteria, regardless of final in-the-bag quality results. Because final product specifications allow a specific amount of minor defects, adding the sort-to-grade capability can cut down the number of minor-defect product getting kicked out, improving overall yield.
The sort-to-grade capability reportedly increases the consistency of final product quality, and simplifies operator involvement. Further, it helps remove 100% of foreign material.
The software can be installed on new or existing sorters. To use the software, the operator sets the desired parameters and sample size, then lets it make logical piece-by-piece decisions on passes and rejections, letting acceptable defects go through.