Revolutionary SORTEX E BioVision™ gains significant traction in Europe and USA01/25/2016 The Bühler Group, a global leader in processing technologies for the nut industry, is helping leading nut producers to reduce contamination and meet exacting customer and export specifications with its new technology. The Bühler Group, a global leader in processing technologies for the nut industry, is helping leading nut producers to reduce contamination and meet exacting customer and export specifications with its new technology. The SORTEX E BioVision™ is a single piece of equipment that does the job of two conventional machines – sorting for defects and foreign material simultaneously, allowing for one simple set up and unprecedented removal of hazardous, rotten or diseased nuts.
The pioneering optical sorter, launched by Bühler in 2015, has now been installed within various companies, including Moldovan specialist nut grower and processor Monicol, and Californian walnut processor Andersen Nut Co.
Monicol, which exports to 17 countries including Eastern and Western Europe and the United States, both harvests its own walnut kernels and acts as a pre-processor by cracking and pre-cleaning walnuts before they are sold on to processors and manufacturers. It approached Bühler for a solution that could remove not only hazardous material, mainly shell, but also foreign material such as sticks and stones, as well as dark colour defects – the most common defect in walnuts.
The Monicol installation followed extensive trials to test the SORTEX E BioVision’s efficacy and accuracy. Moldova is one of the top 10 walnut producers globally and the third largest supplier of shelled walnuts to the European Union , due to its rich soil and temperate climate of warm summers and mild winters. In 2015/2016 Moldova’s production is expected to hit 40,000 metric tonnes of in-shell walnuts.
Dumitru Vicol, CEO of Monicol said: “The trials were conducted on product with input contamination ranging from 10% to 34%, achieving accept quality of 99%. On trials of input contamination at 15%, the accept quality rose to 99.9%, with no shell found per 1kg. A typical customer requirement allows for one piece of shell in every 10kg, so we were very happy with these results. The SORTEX E BioVision™ is helping our business to grow by achieving greater trust in our products and therefore customer satisfaction. We’re expecting it to play a major part in the on-going efficiency and profitability of our business in the coming months and years.”
Andersen Nut Co. meanwhile was contending with sorters that were operating at low capacity, with lengthy processing times, which in turn meant high production costs. It was sorting walnuts to remove shell, discoloured nuts and rancid products, which often meant between six and eight passes through equipment before product could be passed to the hand-picking tables. Bühler established laboratory demonstrations followed by on-site demonstrations with results so impressive – sorting with just a couple of passes rather than several, that Andersen ordered the SORTEX E BioVision™ within the same month.
Said Andersen Nut Co’s Dan Andersen: “The SORTEX E BioVision™ proved to achieve the same levels of quality and better yields in just two to four passes, which achieved higher volumes. It was also able to target all defects effectively. What’s more, production volume increased because the machine was able to handle higher capacity.
The SORTEX E BioVision™ is also capable of removing hazardous material up to 50 percent smaller than previously possible and it does so in a single sort for many varieties of nuts - including walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts. This solution, which is unique to Bühler, not only minimises losses of good nuts, it also ensures greater accuracy in detecting foreign material while reducing processing time.
Fundamental to the SORTEX E BioVision™ is Bühler’s proprietary high definition BioVision™ detection technology. It analyses the spectral and spatial difference between walnut meat and shell to distinguish subtle differences between a vast range of shell varieties and walnut meat. It is able to detect both textured and smooth shells of varying sizes. Without this technology, a much higher volume of the nut meat may be lost due to false rejections. BioVision™ technology achieves this with a very simple machine set up.
Faisal Baig, Global Product Manager for Optical Sorting at Bühler, adds: “Sorting walnuts can be challenging for conventional sorters, particularly if the product batch contains shell, septa and dark kernels that all need removing at the same time. Designed with a special optical configuration, BioVision™ is able to perform both sorts simultaneously and can easily handle different varieties and grades of walnuts – in-shell and shelled, including sizes ranging from halves to double-diced and colours ranging from extra light to amber. In addition to removing even the smallest pieces of shell and septa, the SORTEX E BioVision™ with dedicated colour cameras and PROfile technology, can remove discoloured, shrivelled, rotten, insect-damaged and butterball walnuts.”