TOMRA Sorting Solutions has added a second camera module to its ZEA sensor-based sorter, to facilitate the inspection of both sides of whole ear seed corn.
The system, located after huskers, allows sorting and grading by husk, defect, disease and size. The high-capacity sorting machine is the ideal efficiency, quality and cost-reduction tool for processors to whom these types of defects are critical, and this low-cost-of-ownership machine is built to last, according to TOMRA.
TOMRA Sorting Food market unit director Maurice Moynihan said: "The ZEA is a flexible sorter with gentle handling assured. It contains simple controls, supplies straightforward feedback, provides consistent, long-life accuracy and requires only low maintenance.
"Benefits the system offers customers include unrivalled husk and superior defect removal, significant labor reductions, reduced operational costs and easy installation."
The ZEA works as the product is spread uniformly onto the infeed belt in an aligned and channeled fashion, before being scanned by cameras. The sensor-based sorter uses top-and bottom mounted colour and near-infrared (NIR) optical sensors to scan the surface of each item in-flight, this "off-belt view" allowing unobstructed inspection. The colour vision sensors analyse for features such as size, shape and color, while the NIR sensors provide information for gross defects and foreign materials.
A few milliseconds later, second and third grade produce is redirected into individual streams by a bank of intelligent, low-wear paddle ejectors at the end of the infeed belt, precisely and accurately, while first grade material progresses along the sorting line and through the machine.
The system’s simple integrated shaker and infeed belt-feeding system keeps installation and running costs low and reduces the risk of stoppages. Controls and feedback are provided via a robust touch screen, which makes calling up set sorting criteria and adjusting parameters to obtain the required result simple. The ZEA also has a strong, rugged construction with robust electronics and rejector.
Mr Moynihan added: "Some important differences between the ZEA and certain broadly competitor machines on the market are that our sorter includes two-sided cameras, which view products from both sides, and a unique three-way rejection system."