Key Technology, Walla Walla, Wash., introduced a new sorting system for fresh spinach. Key Tech spinach sorter

The integrated system includes an Iso-Flo fines removal shaker or dewatering shaker, an acceleration belt and Manta digital sorter to inspect fresh spinach and other leafy greens such as cut cabbage and romaine and iceberg lettuce. It is ideal for sorting fresh product at receiving, after cutting or after washing and drying.

This new sorting system is said to remove 100% of the foreign material while achieving a false reject rate of only 0.5%. Featuring a Manta 2000 series sorter, this new sorting system inspects up to 13,000 pounds of spinach, 12,000 pounds of cut romaine or iceberg lettuce and 50,000 pounds of cut cabbage per hour.

Key’s Manta 2000 series sorter is equipped with three top-mounted Vis/IR (visible infrared) cameras, two bottom-mounted Vis/IR cameras and two fluorescence-sensing lasers. The high-definition cameras recognize color, size and shape to detect a wide range of leaf defects, including mechanical damage such as bruising, light decay and wilting, color defects such as yellow caused by sunburn and more. The lasers identify differing levels of chlorophyll to detect foreign material such as insects, larvae, weeds, tree leaves and more. When sorting chopped cabbage, romaine or iceberg lettuce, the laser is configured to detect and reject core.

A 3-deck Iso-Flo fines removal shaker removes small objects such as dirt clods, insects, sticks, small rocks and cotyledons to reduce the load on the digital sorter. If the system is located after washing and drying, an Iso-Flo dewatering shaker is the first of the three integrated steps. Next, a specialized acceleration belt spreads, singulates and stabilizes product for optimal presentation to the sorter.

The KeyWare Application Software is designed specifically for each product application. Defects and foreign material are categorized on the user interface in terms common to each product, and product settings can be stored and retrieved for fast product changeover.

And, the patented, icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) is easy to learn and use and can reside locally on the system and accessed remotely via network or Internet.

Key Technology, Inc.