Supplier offers space age sorting for vegetable safety

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Light

Buhler Sortex claims that it can provide vegetable processors with satellite inspired sorting equipment that distinguishes between the textures of desirable and foreign materials during packaging.

Launched last month at the Anuga FoodTec show in Germany, the manufacturer says its Sortex E device has utilised military surveillance technology to fight off the threat of foreign materials like plastic fragments getting into packaging.

According to the group, the InGaAs technology present in the sorter can meet key concerns of vegetable processors by allowing for use with a wide range of products without requiring changes to the overall machine set up.

Bruno Kilshaw, managing director for Buhler Sortex, claimed that manufacturer concerns over similarly coloured stray materials getting into a product could now be offset by development.

“In addition to identifying foreign material that may have been missed in the primary process, InGaAs is supremely efficient in identifying material such as light coloured wood in potatoes, cardboard in carrots, cigarette ends in mushrooms and coloured plastic in vegetable mixes,”​ he stated.

The amnufacturer suggested that the potential of the technology for improving detection efficiency during production could prove particularly prudent in light of the current economic crisis.


The company said that the InGaAs technology had started off life being used in satellite surveillance of in environments like jungles to better identify the presence of humans.

In being adapted for food processing, the technology can identify fruits and frozen vegetables based on their absorption of energy at certain wavelengths that is reflected by foreign materials in comparison, said Buhler Sortex.

The company said that this made foreign materials appear brighter on the InGaAs cameras making them easier to identify and remove.

The Sortex E has been devised for both large and small food manufacturers and can be used in a washdown environment making it easier to maintain and clean, according to the supplier.

Buhler Sortex claimed that the device can also help manufacturers in meeting sustainability commitments in regards to energy use.

“The Sortex E was designed to operate in a chilled packing room environment where energy consumption is very important and for this reason uses less than 1KW,” ​stated the company.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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