Tomra Sorting Solutions has expanded its Zea sorter range developed specifically for the seed and fresh corn industry. The latest innovation has been the design and implementation of a second camera module facilitating the inspection of both sides of the corn ear.
The system located after the husker/s allows sorting and grading by husk, defect, disease and size. Tomra says 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.
“The Zea is a flexible sorter with gentle handling assured,” said market unit director Maurice Moynihan. “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 labour reductions, reduced operational costs and easy installation.”
The Zea works through the product being spread uniformly onto the in-feed belt in an aligned and channelled fashion, before being scanned by cameras. It 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 colour, while the NIR sensors do so 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 in-feed belt, precisely and accurately, while the first grade material progresses along the sorting line and through the machine.
The system’s simple integrated shaker and in-feed belt feeding system keeps installation and running costs low and reduces the risk of stoppages. Controls and feedback are provided via a robust touchscreen, 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.
“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 [patent applied for] three-way rejection system,” said Moynihan.
Tomra now has over 150 systems installed worldwide in North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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