Bühler targets key sustainability-led performance upgrades with optical Sortex H system

Swiss-based Bühler Group has launched its latest version of its core optical sorter targeting wheat, rye, oats, grains, coffee and pulses, known as the Sortex H Spectravision, writes Neill Barston.

The new line, which has applications in a number of segments including nutrition and snack bar series, aims to deliver an enhanced level of  usability, performance, and product traceability.

Significantly, the line (pictured below) reportedly delivers up to 50% higher reject concentrations, aligned to its core sustainability goals of reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in its customers’ value chains by 2025 and to develop sustainable solutions to feed the world population of 10 billion by 2050.

As the company explained, its latest system uses the best of British and Swiss engineering know-how,  and is the result of Bühler’s 75 years of experience in optical sorting. It offers three key benefits for customers: unmatched ease of use, high performance, and enhanced connectivity, contributing to increased sustainability.

Processors today must tackle an ever-increasing number of defects as a result of climate change and pesticide reduction. With its individual defect removal control, the Sortex H enables processors to maintain sort quality with ease.

Additionally, enhanced connectivity increases value for processors. Over 500 data points can be downloaded every second and sent to Bühler Insights to optimise and track performance. Processors can monitor and control their machine performance from anywhere in the world, in line with Industry 4.0 standards. Real-time tracking of sorting performance and emergency warnings are also possible thanks to the Sortex Monitoring System.

“MerlinAi is the new brain of Bühler’s Sortex optical sorting machines,” says Melvyn Penna (pictured main image), Product Manager at Bühler. “Its advanced multi-layer sorting algorithms ensure a consistently higher yield for processors, as less good product is lost in the reject stream.”

Superior defect reduction means accept quality can be met even with input material of a lower quality. “These all-new calibration and product tracking algorithms ensure that machine performance remains steady and high, giving processors greater flexibility,” says Penna.

Initial success

Among those reporting early results from the new system is Harivenasa, a specialist oat mill producing and supplying high-quality oats and other cereal-based products, maintaining an ethos that good health can be achieved by enjoying life and food.

The company had a seven-module Sortex H SpectraVision machine installed last year in its brand-new oat mill. “We’re extremely happy with the SORTEX H because it’s very efficient, boosts our productivity, and we get much better quality now than we previously did in terms of unhusked grains, defects, black spots and so on,” says Alberto Loizate, Managing Director, Harivenasa – Alea. Since installing the machine, Harivenasa has seen improved quality in its oats and is now looking to enter new markets in new countries.

Ease of use is also a major benefit. “Our staff say that it’s much easier to navigate around the software and to maintain the machine. They also tell us that it’s easier to change parameters. In short, the Sortex H makes their lives a lot easier,” says Loizate. He adds: “The return on investment will also be very short. We’ve already seen great quality with very low reject of product.The sorter has a lot of brand-new features, and it works with the latest remote connections and Bühler insights. With Bühler Insights, the machine is ready for the future.”

The Sortex H SpectraVision, which is built and validated at Bühler’s London facility, has been installed at numerous customer sites around the world and is available for purchase globally. It is available with up to seven chutes. It was introduced to processors during a number of application- and region-specific webinars over the last couple of months. It was also showcased at this year’s ISF World Seed Congress in Barcelona as well as the IAOM in North America and IPACK-IMA in Milan, where it received a great response.

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