The Bühler Group has announced two significant industry innovations to help frozen fruit and vegetable processors achieve the highest standards yet in food safety and hygiene. SORTEX PolarVision™, the new advanced FM detection technology, will make it easier for processors to meet the most stringent safety specifications demanded of them, and Bühler’s SORTEX F optical sorter, featuring multiple developments for hygienic processing.
SORTEX PolarVision™ technology – actively targets difficult-to-detect FM
The SORTEX PolarVision™ technology platform is a sophisticated FM detection system delivering outstanding results, in a wide array of frozen produce. From single products, such as peas or raspberries, to more complex vegetable mixes that may contain seafood and spices, it operates from one simple set-up, with a substantial sorting improvement on the difficult-to-detect defects.
It works by combining two dedicated FM detection technologies – the SORTEX PolarCam™ and high definition InGaAsHD™, both developed in response to industry demand for cutting-edge technology to tackle difficult-to-detect, defects, including snails, dark and light plastics, wood, cardboard, cigarette ends, glass and stones.
SORTEX PolarCam™ is an advanced FM camera that has been designed to see the difference between vegetable and non-vegetable matter, regardless of its colour. It is therefore possible to process different products or mixes, with little or no change to settings and still detect non-vegetable material such as dark FM, black plastic, stones, snails and insects.
High definition InGaAsHD™ technology has double the resolution of standard InGaAs and can recognise smaller pieces of hazardous material, half the size previously detectable.
These combined technologies offer a complete FM solution that reduces the need for adjustment between products as visible cameras are not required. Dedicated FM controls improve the usability of the system, making life easier for the operator.
The launch comes at a key time when safety is high on the industry agenda. Processors face a constant challenge to detect and remove FM and keep pace with a food industry that is continuously innovating to create often complex, value-added products that must adhere to rigorous safety standards.
Bühler’s existing technologies already offer leading-edge solutions within the processing industry, such as its unrivalled PROfile shape system for the removal of extraneous vegetable matter (EVM) and its in-house, custom built, visible cameras for detecting gross and subtle colour defects, to enhance product quality and uniformity. SORTEX PolarVision™ now takes optical sorting to the next level.
All-New SORTEX F – dedicated optical sorter based on hygienic design principles
To maximise the full potential of the SORTEX PolarVision™, Bühler has developed a dedicated sorting platform – the SORTEX F optical sorter.
Developed by in-house specialists, using current best practice and hygienic product design guidelines, it features a stainless steel frame, sloped surfaces, hygienic conduits, stainless steel air set and hygienic grade fixings, to deliver an unrivalled solution with no tolerance for product build-up, thereby lowering the risk of contamination.
The machine also sets a new standard in ejection technology, with its EJECTOR+ feature, which uses 25% more force to eliminate denser contaminants. Together with SmartEject™ technology, the technology removes unwanted and hazardous materials, from fine wood shavings to heavier pieces of glass and stones.
SORTEX PolarVision™ is available on the SORTEX F and as an upgrade option for processors, currently operating Bühler’s SORTEX E1D Optical Sorter.
Bühler R&D specialist Ben Deefholts explains how the leading-edge technology was developed: “Based on our understanding of the issues processors were facing with existing technologies, in detecting a cross-section of FM, we put together an in-house research project to analyse spectral data from a wide range of vegetable material, typical FM and samples of other FM that customers were finding difficult to detect using existing technology. We used the results of the research to create a combination of cameras and optics, including a revised InGaAs™ HD technology and a new IR camera with active background.
“F&V processors often run many different products down a packing line in one day, so they need to be able to switch easily between them. This means they normally need generic FM removal, with additional specific programmes for colour defects or EVM based on shape. The SORTEX E and SORTEX F with PolarVision makes adjustment of the sorter much more intuitive and will better suit the busy life of the packing line.”
Stephen Jacobs, Global Product Manager at Bühler, added: “We are very excited by the development of this new technology. We believe SORTEX PolarVision™ is the first – and only – system on the market which can deliver such superior FM detection, across multiple products, with complete ease. Combine this with the SORTEX F platform, and you have a revolutionary solution which addresses two of the biggest issues in the food industry today – safety and hygiene.”