Key Technology unveils latest digital sorter for gummy confectionery

US-based Key Technology, part of the Duravant group, has released its latest series of Veryx digital sorters for gummy confectionery, designed to detect and remove foreign material (FM) from production processes.

As the business explained, the equipment has been developed to allow manufacturers to improve product quality, as well as protecting their brand, while virtually eliminating false rejects to maximise profitability.

“Veryx’s unique sensor configuration not only allows for the most thorough all-sided surface inspection, but also offers patented Pixel Fusion® for advanced detection,” said Karel Van Velthoven, Advanced Inspection Systems Product Marketing Manager at Key. “Our gummy candy customers with installed Veryx systems are experiencing a sort accuracy that was unseen until now.”

The system sorts oil-coated, sugar-coated, yogurt-coated and vitamin-enhanced gummy candies. It detects colour, size, shape and structural properties to find gummies with bits of remaining starch, even when inspecting milky-white, yogurt-coated candies that are the same colour as starch and have a similar texture. It detects all types of FM, including plastic and wood, to give candy manufacturers using plastic or wood trays in their candy-making process assurance that fragments of a broken tray don’t get packaged with product. The sorter also detects colour defects such as mixed-colour gummies and shape defects such as clumps, conjoined gummies, malformed gummies, mould spills and more.

Key optimises Veryx with the ideal cameras, laser sensors, algorithms and ejection system for gummy candies. Additionally, an application-specific line layout with an optional defect resort system blends Key’s expertise in digital sorting and mechanical product handling, further contributing to new standards of performance for gummy candy sorting. This integrated solution combines a chute-fed Veryx sorter with specialized Iso-Flo® and Impulse vibratory shakers to achieve superior FM/defect removal rates with virtually no false rejects.

Equipped with front- and rear-mounted cameras, laser scanners and multi-sensor Pixel Fusion™ detection modules, the system views all sides of the product with no blind spots to find and remove more FM and defects. The next-generation 4-channel cameras and high resolution laser sensors offer twice the resolution of previous sensor technology to see smaller FM and defects, including gummies with bits of remaining starch as small as one square millimetre. Key’s unique Pixel Fusion technology combines pixel-level input from multiple cameras and laser sensors to produce higher contrasts, enabling VERYX to find and remove the most difficult-to-detect FM and defects.

Object-based sorting facilitates advanced shape sorting algorithms and intelligent ejection on VERYX. While most gummy candy manufacturers will program their sorter to remove shape defects such as clumps and conjoined gummies, other minor misshaped gummies might actually delight young consumers and may be programmed as acceptable on the sorter. Intelligent ejection improves the accuracy of all FM/defect removal and reduces false rejects. Rather than firing an ejector at the defect itself, VERYX performs contour-based and/or centroid-based calculations to target ejectors at the object’s centre of mass to ensure FM/defect removal while maximizing yield.

Product changeovers on Veryx are fast and easy. With double-sided Pixel Fusion, the detection system is so advanced, every type of gummy candy can be accurately sorted using the same background so hardware changes are eliminated. The equipment’s recipe-based sorting takes away the hassle of configuring the sorter for each new type of candy. Changing over to a new gummy shape or colour takes only a couple of taps on the touchscreen to load the dedicated recipe.

This recipe-driven operation simplifies use and ensures repeatable results so product quality is guaranteed, regardless of personnel changes and across multiple lines and locations. Veryx is available in multiple sizes to satisfy a range of capacity requirements, with the highest volume system sorting up to five metric tons of gummy candies per hour.

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Confectionery Production