Key Technology announces that Pinguin, a member of the PinguinLutosa Food Group specializing in frozen vegetables, has invested in three Manta® 2000 series sorters for processing spinach and green beans. Featuring laser technology and top- and bottom-mounted cameras, Pinguin's Manta sorters are designed to improve detection and removal of the widest range of foreign material (FM) and defects from wet spinach after washing and green beans. With Manta, Pinguin confirms its strategy to continuously invest in product quality and food safety.
"These will be the first Manta systems for frozen spinach production in Belgium. Sorting wet spinach after washing is a new application that offers tremendous quality and yield improvements compared to sorting prior to washing. With Manta, Pinguin is establishing a new, higher quality standard for frozen spinach," said Tim Lobdell, Managing Director of Key Technology BV, the company's European operation.
"Pinguin is investing Euros17,000,000 in its facility in Westrozebeke, Belgium to adopt the latest technologies to maximize product quality and assure the highest food safety standards. This investment includes, in its first phase, a new production line with a new freezing tunnel and the latest optical sorting technology," said Hans Luts, Managing Director at Pinguin. "During the project, we analyzed the different technologies available for maximizing foreign material and defect removal, and we selected Key's Manta with confidence."
Pinguin will process spinach during Belgium's short 6- to 8-week harvest and process green beans the reminder of the year. The Manta 2000 series sorter features a two-meter wide scan area that allows it to sort up to 4500 kg (5 tons) of spinach per hour and up to 15,000 kg (16.5 tons) of green beans per hour.
Key designed Pinguin's Manta with top-mounted color cameras and lasers and bottom-mounted Vis/IR (visible infrared) cameras to maximize detection capabilities for both spinach and green beans. Two-sided viewing finds foreign material hiding under spinach leaves to maximize product quality and food safety. To reduce the yield loss traditionally associated with bottom-mounted cameras, Manta features Valve Activity Tracking that detects product on viewing windows and automatically activates an integrated Clean-in-Place (CIP) system to clear the window without operator assistance, allowing the sorter to continue operating at peak performance.
"Historically, the vast majority of frozen spinach has not been sorted, which poses serious product quality and food safety risks. A few processors have tried to sort prior to washing due to the challenges of handling wet spinach after washing. The problem with sorting prior to washing is that muddy leaves are rejected because the sorter 'sees' surface mud as a defect, which creates a yield loss of up to 7 percent that is unacceptable to most processors" explained Lobdell. "By solving the product handling challenges associated with wet spinach, Key now enables sorting after washing, which reduces the yield loss to less than 2 percent. This is acceptable to processors who benefit from dramatically reducing the risk of foreign material in their product and customer complaints."
The PinguinLutosa Food Group is specialized in the development, production, and sales of frozen products: vegetables, fruits, potato products (fries and specialties), and ready-to-use culinary preparations. Including the takeover of the deep-frozen vegetable activities of the French CECAB group and the takeover of Scana Noliko, the group has 17 production sites in five European countries and 19 subsidiaries and sales offices on five continents.
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 NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol: KTEC.
Key Technology, Inc.
150 Avery Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Tel: +1 509 529 2161
Fax: +1 509 527 1331
Tel: +32 (0) 51 788 200
McBride Public Relations
5 Arastradero Road
Menlo Park, CA 94028
Tel: +1 650 926 9852
Fax: +1 650 926 9853