Key Technology strengthens its commitment to California food processors by expanding its Innovation and Solutions Center (ISC) and local service capabilities in Key Tech customer visitor center inbodySacramento, Calif. The customer visitor center, which opened in 2011, was expanded in 2014 to showcase Key’s complete source of belt- and chute-fed digital sorting technologies, conveying and processing solutions for food processors. The expanded ISC now offers spare parts, after-sales service and technical support for all Key equipment, and enables customers to participate in equipment demonstrations, application tests and training.

The Sacramento customer center complements Key’s other Innovation and Solutions Centers, which are located at the company’s headquarters in Walla Walla, Wash., Beusichem, the Netherlands; Hasselt, Belgium; and Melbourne, Australia.

“The Sacramento facility was created by Visys, and it was a strategic part of our merger with them last year. The location puts us in the middle of a major fruit, vegetable, nut and dried fruit processing region, which is a very important market for Key,” says Steve Pellegrino, senior vice president of global sales. “We’ve invested significant resources in Sacramento. We’ve added Key’s belt-fed sorters and other processing systems to the chute-fed sorters that came from our merger. We’ve also located our new Taurys chute-fed sorting system there, which is our latest innovation and our first product release after the merger. We’ve located experienced technicians from Belgium in Sacramento to complement our existing team of local service technicians, and we now offer local spare parts to complete our after-sales service.”

The facility accommodates multiple customers at once in various demo labs and training rooms for equipment demonstrations, application tests and training using the latest innovations from the company’s product portfolio. The equipment currently includes Key’s belt-fed sorters, Tegra and Optyx 3-way sorting and Taurys, Python and Cayman BioPrint chute-fed sorters, as well as Horizon, Iso-Flo and Impulse conveyors.

“Key’s expansion in Sacramento shows a serious commitment to food processors in California, including the nut and dried fruit customers that were such a vital part of Visys before the merger,” says Raf Peeters, technical sales support manager, optical sorting. “Time is money, so locating after-sales service and spare parts close to customers is a great advantage. Giving customers easy access to equipment demonstrations and application tests helps us illustrate the superior performance of our solutions and build stronger customer relationships.”

To further enhance customer convenience, there is an additional Cayman BioPrint sorter that is mounted on a trailer and can be scheduled to travel to processors for demonstrations and tests along with an application specialist.

“Hyperspectral-based BioPrint sorting, which was pioneered by Visys, is a new technology, and we’ve found that taking the sorter directly to the processor is a very effective demonstration method,” says Peeters. “The sorter rides along on bumpy roads on the way to visit a prospective customer. It takes about 15 minutes to connect air and electrical and get it up and running. This shows the customer that the technology is robust and easy to use. Then they see it perform—the sorter’s massive success at removing defects and foreign material with very little yield loss—and they understand that it is unlike any existing camera or laser sorter.”