Walker Cranberry Installs Optyx® with Raptor to Assure the Finest Product Quality


November 08, 2007 - Walker Cranberry is a family-owned grower and processor of fresh cranberries with 72 acres under cultivation in Wisconsin. Going to market under the Ocean Spray® brand, Walker takes great care to assure the high quality and safety of its product. Walker installed Key Technology's Optyx® 3000 Series Sorter with Raptor Laser Technology to maximize the removal of defects and foreign material while reducing labor costs.

"Over the past few years, it's gotten harder to find steady workers. With automation, that's one less thing we need to worry about," noted Tyler Walker, a sixth generation cranberry grower and Walker Cranberry board member. "Optyx with Raptor improves the consistency of our product quality without using so much manpower. Also, we're able to run through more fruit in any given day."

"Prior to installing Optyx with Raptor, we relied on 24 hand sorters to pick out green cranberries and those with blemishes," noted Ryan Walker, president of Walker Cranberry. "With Raptor, we're removing more defects and we only have two hand sorters. Even though we only run Raptor eight weeks a year, the reduction in labor has earned us a payback of three and a half years."

Optyx with Raptor uses a combination of color cameras and laser technology to inspect the fruit and automatically remove defects and foreign material based on color, size, shape, and the objects' optical properties. With the highest spatial resolution laser scanner in food sorting, Raptor detects the smallest defects and foreign material.
Depending on the needs of the application, Optyx with Raptor can be configured for either single-side or top-and-bottom scanning. It can be equipped with multiple cameras and sensors, including color, UV (ultraviolet), Vis/IR (visible infrared), and monochromatic cameras as well as Raptor Laser Technology and Key's newest FluoRaptor(TM) fluorescence-sensing laser technology.

Walker's sorter features cameras inspecting both UV response and visible color reflectance while Raptor laser inspects the objects' material properties. "The most important measure of success is product quality. Since we installed Optyx with Raptor, we've not had a single customer complaint," noted Ryan Walker "Another important measure of success is production efficiency. In the past, if we had a problem with a run, we had to slow down the flow so our hand sorters could keep up. With the Key sorter, we can keep the flow consistent regardless of the quality of the incoming product. Now we can run the bagging machines at maximum output."

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.

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