Defective crisps eliminated with high volume sorter, says Key

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

A new high volume sorter ensures effective screening of defective product for potato chip processors, claims Key Technology.

Tim Reardon, Potato Industry Manager at Key Technology told said that the Manta maximizes production capacity while optimizing product quality to help processors match final product specifications.

“While most potato chips processors rely on sorters that feature a 1220 mm wide scan area that sort up to two metric tons of potato chips per hour, Manta features a two-meter wide scan area and sorts up to 3.5 metric tons per hour.”

Colour differential

He explained that by using a high intensity discharge (HID) illumination system and Key’s proprietary colour cameras, Manta recognizes millions of subtle colour differences, easily identifying the green, purple, and blue defects that are important to potato chip processors: “The highest resolution scanning allows Manta to detect and remove even the smallest defects."

Simplicity is a guiding principle in the design of Manta, he continued, and unlike other sorters that require additional elements such as separate cooling systems, water filters, and air dryers, Manta incorporates all the necessary components in one system.

Reardon maintains that the sorter is easy to use despite the sophistication of the underlying technology, with its icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) reducing operator training time and simplifying operation.

Quick changeover

He added that product settings can be stored and retrieved for fast product changeover.

As the GUI resides locally, said Reardon, its settings can be viewed and modified via its OPC-compliant communication tags from a factory Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.

He claims this capability reduces dependence on manual procedures and labour, while easing access for remote factory troubleshooting and application assistance.

The real-time and on-demand diagnostics help avoid costly downtime and detect conditions immediately that could compromise inspection, continued Reardon.


He said to ease maintenance, the Manta features an open design and fewer, larger cabinet doors that provide greater access to the sorter’s electronics and hardware.

Quick release components allow Manta’s belt to be changed quickly and easily, while Key has eliminated horizontal surfaces where debris could build up as well as overlapping surfaces that can trap bacteria, making the sorter far less susceptible to sanitation problems, claims Reardon.

He explained that as sorters are sophisticated pieces of equipment based on technology that advances at a rapid rate, the Manta was developed to maximize a food processor’s long-term return on investment​:

“It is designed to be easily upgraded and/or reconfigured in the field so that, as technology advances, the sorter can be updated with the latest technology and continue to achieve the greatest sorting capabilities​.”

The company said that the high volume sorter is available worldwide.

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