U.S – Key Technology, a prominent member of Duravant’s Food Sorting and Handling Solutions group, has unveiled optical sorters designed for processed protein products, ranging from frozen chicken nuggets and tenders to fish sticks and plant-based meat alternatives.

This innovative technology, including COMPASS and VERYX optical sorters, is poised to automate inspection processes, removing defects, and enhancing overall product quality.

Jack Lee, President of Duravant Group’s Food Sorting and Handling Solutions, emphasized the shift from manual inspection to automated sorting in response to the current labor market challenges and heightened consumer expectations regarding product quality.

Key’s optical sorters leverage their expertise in material handling, offering processors a solution that not only streamlines operations but also delivers consistent and superior product quality.

COMPASS and VERYX optical sorters employ advanced technology to detect color, size, shape, and structural properties, allowing them to identify and remove various defects in processed protein products.

These defects include clumps of product, uneven breading or batter distribution, and improperly formed, cooked, or coated products. Additionally, the optical sorters excel in removing foreign materials (FM), such as plastic, metal, glass, and paper, ensuring the highest product quality.

Key Technology customizes each sorting system based on the unique characteristics and line requirements of the processor.

The integration of infeed and collection conveyors, designed to preserve product integrity while maximizing sort accuracy, enhances the overall efficiency of the optical sorting process.

The optional use of conveyor screens further refines the sorting process by removing fines prior to sorting, if necessary.

Key’s optical sorters are engineered to meet the rigorous sanitary standards essential for protein processing. Featuring open designs, sloped surfaces, and other hygiene-focused elements, the sorters prioritize ease of cleaning and equipment hygiene.

A distinctive feature of every COMPASS and VERYX sorter is the inclusion of Key Discovery, a data analytics and reporting software. This software empowers the sorter to collect and analyze data about the objects passing through, revealing patterns that can inform improvements in both upstream and downstream processes.

Moreover, the operator qualification requirements are designed to enable minimally-skilled individuals to become proficient users of the system in less than one hour, making the technology accessible and user-friendly.

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