Sorter helps automate inspection of kettle potato chips

In the past, manufacturers of kettle chips relied on hand sorting because of the difficulty in recognizing problematic clusters of chips.

Snapshots Figure4 1309vsd
Snapshots Figure4 1309vsd

In the past, manufacturers of kettle chips relied on hand sorting because of the difficulty in recognizing problematic clusters of chips. To address this Key Technology (Walla Walla, WA, www.key.net) has introduced its Optyx system that can identify and remove objectionable clusters of kettle potato chips and foreign materials.

The sorter uses an on-belt scan, which is identical to the inspection typically used by other potato chip manufacturers that incorporates a proprietary color camera to identify color differences and find defects such as bruises, green spots, and overcooked chips.

When a product passes through the system, it falls from the end of the belt and is scanned using a bottom-mounded color camera and high-intensity background lighting.

Using Key's own image processing technology, the sorter compares each chip or cluster to previously defined accept or reject standards. If it fits the reject criteria, the system activates a series of air jets spaced 6 mm apart that span the width of the system to remove the product.

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