Equipment & Technology

Key Technology Introduces FM Alert with Artificial Intelligence for Sorters

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Key Technology has debuted AI-driven FM Alert software for its digital sorting systems, which will be on display at the upcoming Pack Expo in Chicago. This powerful tool captures and saves digital images of critical foreign material (FM) contaminants that the sorter detects and rejects from the product stream. Data outputs from the software can be utilized to immediately alert operators and/or signal a downstream device. AI-enhanced FM Alert helps processors better control FM and improve documentation to protect food safety.

“Thanks to the application of advanced artificial intelligence, our new FM Alert software achieves uniquely accurate results – identifying, recording and acting on true FM findings on the line,” said Marco Azzaretti, director of marketing of the Walla Walla, Washington, USA-headquartered company. “The food processing industry continues to focus more and more on elevating food safety. By making product safer, this effective FM-fighting tool helps customers protect their brand’s reputation and avoid costly recalls. Every food processor wants to prevent contamination, making FM Alert universally beneficial across all applications.”

As Key’s sorters find and remove all types of FM and a huge variety of user-specified defects, most users will program FM Alert to act on only specific types of critical FM such as glass, plastic, rubber or wood.

FM Alert automatically captures and saves a digital image that is timestamped and ‘marked’ to point out the critical FM contaminant. To address critical FM findings immediately, data outputs can be utilized by the plant to drive custom behaviors, including notifying operators to the FM event with a visual and/or audible alarm at the sorter or to alert others on and off the production floor. These real-time notifications enable a processor to identify the source of the FM and remedy quality problems rapidly. Additionally, FM Alert data outputs can be utilized to trigger a gate or diverter downstream of the sorter to segregate at-risk product so an operator can confirm the critical FM was physically removed from the product stream.

Complementing FM Alert, Key’s Discovery software can be used to gain additional insight into the frequency and type of FM events. With Discovery, processors can leverage their Key sorters to collect, analyze and share data about the sort process and every object flowing through the sorter. Information about what the sorter found and when allows processors to recognize trends and correlations, such as connecting FM events to specific batches of product or suppliers, enabling the processor to eliminate root causes. The documentation supports quality assurance for the processor as well as other stakeholders.

The new AI-driven FM Alert is an option available on every new Key digital sorter including VERYX, and is available as a field upgrade for all installed Key sorters.