Key Technology is introducing its new digital sorters for pet food products called VERYX. The company states that VERYX integrates seamlessly with its material handling systems, finds and removes foreign material (FM) and products with defects. These features promote the improvement of product quality, eliminate the chance of cross-contamination, protect brands and minimizes labor, reports Key Tech.

VERYX is configurable to sort a range of pet foods. If used in final production stages, the sorter can ensure quality for kibble, chews and treats including dried, dehydrated and freeze-fried products. When installed up-stream, near raw receiving, it inspects ingredients like frozen proteins and components for wet pet foods. The technology works by using digital detection to audit the color, size, shape and/or structural properties of every object. VERYX is able to detect and remove plastics, glass, paper and other FM, as well as product defects defined by the pet food processor.

Key states that it is able to integrate VERYX with its vibratory and mechanical grading solutions for transferring, scalping, size separation, fines removal, product distribution and more. The company states that Iso-Flo, Impulse, Zephyr and Marathon vibratory conveyors and rotary separation equipment are products in its portfolio that are suitable for pet foods, depending on the application. Features of these solutions include open-designs, fully-welded frames, nickel-plated finishes, oil-free drives, optional pan covers and more.

The sorter comes in different widths and are fitted with cameras, laser scanners, lighting, an ejection system, product handling and software to meet individual requirements. VERYX’s in-air inspection system allows the sorting solution to see all sides of the product with zero blind spots, according to Key Tech. It also states that its cameras and laser scanners offer twice the resolution of previous sensor technology, allowing for detection of smaller FM and defects.

If a processor is interested, VERYX can be equipped with Key’s proprietary Pixel Fusion technology, which combines signals from multiple cameras and laser scanner at the image pixel level to more clearly identify exceptionally difficult FM and defects. Pixel Fusion also comes with an alert function that can send a smart alarm if a critical quality problem occurs. It also saves a time-stamped image of every critical piece of FM detected by the sorted so product quality events and trends can be documented by processors.

Regarding software, Key equips VERYX with its Discovery suite software. Data collection, analyzation and data sharing can be done while the machine continues to sort product. This feature allows for the built-in software to harness data about the sorting process and about every object that goes through the sorter. The company states that Discovery logs patterns and trends that can improve sorting as well as control upstream and downstream processes. All of the information that Discovery provides is intended to be used for management of materials, optimize processes and increasing operational efficiency.

Key Technologies claims that VERYX eliminates the need for processors to manually inspect final products in order to save on labor costs, maximizing yields and allowing processors to have more consistent FM. The built-in and add-on software is operational from an intuitive user-interface (UI). Different views of data and processes can be selected for the familiarity of the individual user. Key Tech claims that a minimally skilled individual is able to become a proficient system user within less than one hour.