Bühler Expands SORTEX F Optical Sorting Range with FA1

The Bühler Group, a leader in optical sorting technology, has extended its innovative sorting portfolio for frozen fruit and vegetable processors with the introduction of the SORTEX FA1, which is designed to be used in processing plants as well as the packing hall for final quality checking.

SORTEX FA1 internalThe new, 600mm-chute SORTEX FA1 sorting platform boasts the same cutting-edge technology as the larger capacity 1200mm-chute SORTEX FA2, but has a smaller footprint and capacity to meet the needs of processors with lower throughput requirements. It can handle processing capacities of up to seven tons per hour, while the larger machine is designed for throughput of up to 14 tons.

The introduction of the SORTEX FA1 follows the highly successful launch of the larger version in 2016. It took hygienic processing to another level in introducing the frozen fruit and vegetable processing industry to the most open, accessible and easy to clean frame available on the market.

Every element of the optical sorting platform is designed with the highest degree of food safety and hygiene in mind. Its stainless steel, open frame has sloped surfaces, hygienic conduits and food-safe grade fixings to help prevent the build-up of pathogenic bacteria that can incubate food-borne diseases such as E-Coli, Listeria, Norovirus and Salmonella. All polymer materials are also resistant to high-pressure jet washes and compliant with FDA regulations, with purpose-designed spacer brackets to allow access to areas that could harbor bacteria.

The SORTEX F range of optical sorters not only reduces the risk of biological contaminants and product cross contamination – thus minimizing the possibility of a food product recall – but, thanks to its ability to run the SORTEX PolarVision™ and SORTEX PROfile™ shape technology, it also offers superior foreign material (FM) and extraneous vegetable matter (EVM) detection, to negate the risk of hazardous, physical product contamination.

Bühler’s shape sorting technology, SORTEX PROfile, combines shape and dimension data together with advanced camera capabilities and product separation features, to sort according to profile and other characteristics – allowing EVM to be detected at higher capacities.

SORTEX PolarVision combines two dedicated FM detection technologies – the SORTEX PolarCam™ and the high definition InGaAsHD™ – both developed in response to industry demands for cutting-edge technology, to tackle difficult-to-detect product defects and FM. SORTEX PolarCam technology targets the spectral and spatial differences between good produce and FM, while high definition InGaAs cameras detect FM that cannot be seen in the visible spectrum, resulting in maximum separation of hazardous and difficult to remove FM such as insects, snails, light and dark plastics, wood, cardboard, cigarette ends, glass and stones. This technology is proven to deliver outstanding results across a range of frozen produce – from single products, such as peas or berries, to more complex vegetable mixes.

The machine also sets a new standard in ejection technology, with its powerful EJECTOR+ feature, which uses 25% more force to eliminate denser contaminants. Together with SmartEject™ technology, it targets and removes unwanted materials – from fine wood shavings to heavier pieces of wood, glass and stones – and has the ability to remove EVM, even if it is attached to product s such as berries or green beans with stalks.

Doing ‘Berry Good’ Job for Blåtand

Ulf hagner bilberriesManaging Director Ulf Hagner examines fresh-picked bilberries before processing at the Blåtand freezing facility.World-class berry supplier Blåtand AB is using the SORTEX F with PolarVision technology to drive efficiency in its wild berry processing plant. This leading international food company supplies high quality frozen berries, jams and fruit preparations to caterers, restaurants, food wholesalers and retailers. From bush to customer, it prides itself on an environmentally friendly, ethical production system that meets the highest of standards across the entire chain.

Explaining why Bühler technology was chosen for its quality-assured ISO 22000-certfied facility, Ulf Hagner, managing director of Stöde, Sweden-based Blåtand, stated: “Our goal was to create the best berry cleaning process on the market, making it possible to produce a high-quality, class 1 product that is free from FM. Since installing the SORTEX F PolarVision optical sorter, we have achieved our goal and can now fulfill the requirements of the most demanding customers by supplying them with the highest quality frozen, cleaned berries.”

Overall, many factors contribute to the success of the food industry but, ultimately food safety, hence hygienic processing, will always be a priority for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike – and the associated issues of product quality must not be underestimated. Bühler’s SORTEX optical sorting solutions have been developed to address these issues. They can be used across a broad range of frozen products – at various points in the manufacturing process – to ensure product quality, increase yield, reduce waste, improve efficiencies and deliver cost-savings time and again.

About Bühler

Based in London, England, Bühler UK is a unit of the Bühler Group, a family-owned food processing equipment and advanced materials technology company with annual turnover of approximately CHF 2.45 billion. Headquartered in Uzwil, Switzerland, it employs 10,640 people in over 140 countries around the world.