Key Technology has introduced the COMPASS family of food optical sorters. Powered by inspection technology as well as a new sort engine and ergonomic user interface, COMPASS is intended to be an easy-to-use optical sorter, achieving accurate foreign material (FM) and product defect removal and simplifying system operation, sanitation and maintenance. COMPASS is designed to help processors automate and improve quality management of their food products, while maximizing yield and increasing profitability.

The company says COMPASS is ideal for sorting processed, frozen and pre-processed vegetables and fruits, nuts, leafy greens, potato chips, confections and other food products. With sensors and lighting technology, as well as Key’s NEXT sort engine, COMPASS identifies and separates plastic, glass, paper and other organic and inorganic FM from the line, in addition to sorting the product defects each processor wants to manage.

Key says it designed COMPASS for ease of use. Its user interface mimics the navigation of smart device apps and enables an operator without any technical background to become proficient in using the sorter. Operators can create and edit COMPASS sort recipes to ensure consistent performance.

COMPASS features Key Discovery, a data analytics and reporting software that turns the sorter into an IIoT-connected device, delivering product quality and sort process information that gives food processors insights into the operation of their line.

COMPASS is offered in a configurable range of system types and sizes to meet individual customer application and capacity requirements. Key is introducing chute-fed COMPASS models, to be followed by belt-fed variants of the sorter. COMPASS can be installed in line at the start of the process to sort incoming product, after critical transformational processes on the line or at the end of the food processing line to ensure final product quality and safety prior to packaging.