Fresh-Cut Produce Sorter has gentle, sanitary design.

Press Release Summary:

Designed for fresh-cut material processors, Tegra® sorters automatically detect and remove defects and foreign material from produce with up to 100% accuracy. Metal-mesh catenary C-Belt® uses gravity and centrifugal force to gently accelerate, stabilize, and launch product into inspection zone, which is scanned by tri-chromatic Vis/IR cameras. System is offered with 30 or 60 in. wide platform to respectively handle up to 4,000 or 8,000 lb of product per hour.

Original Press Release:

Key Technology Introduces Tegra® Sorters for Fresh-Cut Processors

November 13, 2006 - Key Technology introduces Tegra® sorters designed specifically for fresh-cut processors to automatically detect and remove defects and foreign material from the product stream at high production rates. Featuring proprietary Vis/IR cameras and a unique metal-mesh catenary C-Belt® for positive product positioning, Tegra views product, top and bottom, while in-air to maximize the removal of defects and foreign material. With Tegra, fresh-cut processors can dramatically improve product quality and food safety while minimizing labor costs.

Tegra provides gentle product handling, which minimizes product damage to maximize shelf life, making it ideal for tender leaf products such as baby spinach and spring mix as well as other greens like mche, butter leaf, arugula, and oakleaf. Processors of iceberg, romaine, and cabbage use Key's Optyx® with Raptor on-belt sorter, where the addition of laser is ideal for removing core as well as defects and foreign material.

Using high-performance tri-chromatic Vis/IR cameras, Tegra analyzes size and shape, combining data information from both the visible and infrared spectrums. Vis/IR technology maximizes the recognition and removal of protein-based animal matter such as insects and rodent parts, as well as cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass. Tegra for fresh-cut can achieve foreign material removal accuracy rates of up to 100 percent.

Tegra is available with a 60-inch wide platform to handle up to 8000 pounds (3.6 metric tons) of fresh-cut product an hour and a 30-inch wide platform for up to 4000 pounds (1.8 metric tons) of fresh-cut product an hour.

Tegra's patented metal-mesh catenary C-Belt uses gravity and centrifugal force - not friction - to gently accelerate, stabilize and launch product into the inspection zone. Improving the predictability of the in-air product trajectory, which is especially important given the aerodynamic properties of tender leaf, Tegra achieves superior performance. Positive product positioning improves the accuracy of defect and foreign material removal while reducing the volume of good product being rejected. Yield loss is typically less than 0.5 percent with Tegra for fresh-cut.

Regardless of line flow fluctuations, product is consistently launched from the C-Belt for in-air viewing by the cameras. Using Key's proprietary image processing technology, the sorter quickly analyzes the images, comparing each object to previously defined accept/reject standards. When defective product or foreign material is identified, the system activates the close-coupled high-speed ejector system, which is made up of a series of closely spaced air jets that span the width of the system. While the defective object is still air-borne, the air jets pinpoint the object to reject and remove it from the acceptable product stream.

Key's advanced G6 electro-optical platform, which features a powerful new controller, modular vision engine, and high-resolution cameras, enables Tegra to provide a quality sort for even the most complex inspection challenges. The flexible architecture and use of industry-wide connectivity standards ease future upgrades to keep Tegra up to date and performing at peak as technology advances.

For uncomplicated operation, Tegra for fresh-cut is equipped with KeyWare® Application Software designed specifically for fresh-cut processors. Defects and foreign material are categorized on the user interface in terms common to the fresh-cut plant. KeyWare reduces the skill level required to operate at optimum performance and insures consistent performance.

Featuring a smooth unibody design with no horizontal surfaces, Tegra also promotes sanitation. Reduced scatter, which results from the predictable in-air product trajectory, and a series of air management devices, which help guide product flow, also improve sanitation. Automated clean-in-place systems round out the sanitation package.

As a part of the fresh-cut solution, Key provides a unique infeed shaker, which uses the vibration separation technique to settle heavier foreign material to the bottom of the product stream. Smaller foreign material can then fall out through screened openings just prior to the product entering Tegra. Foreign material too large to be separated via the dropout screens enters Tegra underneath the light-weight product, making the in-air bottom camera detection and separation more effective and preventing damage to the tender leaf.

To further reduce product damage, Key designed a unique take-away belt. Featuring a mesh belt that moves at a complementary rate to that of the product passing through Tegra, the belt provides a landing area for leafy product that acts as a gentle cushion for the delicate product.

About Key Technology, Inc.
Key Technology, an ISO-9001 certified company, is a leading designer and manufacturer of process automation systems, integrated electro-optical inspection and sorting systems, and processing systems. Key® systems help processors to improve quality, increase yield, and reduce cost. With worldwide sales representation, the company maintains demonstration and testing facilities at its headquarters and manufacturing divisions in Walla Walla, Washington, USA, and at Key Technology BV in Beusichem, the Netherlands. The company's common stock trades on the Global Market tier of The NASDAQ Stock MarketSM under the symbol: KTEC.

Reader Inquiries To:
Anita Funk, Corporate Communications Manager
Key Technology, Inc.
150 Avery Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA
Tel: 509 529 2161 Fax: 509 527 1331

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