SORTEX Z+ shapes the future for peanut processors

31.03.2008 Buhler Sortex applies new technology to sort peanuts by shape and colour simultaneously. It started at the 2007 Tea and Coffee World Cup in Geneva when Buhler Sortex demonstrated the unique ability of its SORTEX Z+ optical sorter to recognise colour defects in coffee beans and remove, simultaneously, identically coloured foreign material such as sticks by accurate shape recognition.

Now, peanut processors can enjoy the same benefits by upgrading existing Z+ sorters or by specifying the technology in new ones.

Paul Want, Principle Applications Engineer at Buhler Sortex’s London office worked with Walter Tosco, the company’s agent in Argentina, on trials of stick removal from peanuts. “We concentrated on small, peanut sized sticks as these are the most difficult to identify and were delighted to achieve a level of removal greatly in excess of what was previously possible,” he said. “Recent feedback from Argentina indicates that the shape board is making a significant contribution to efficient stick removal.”

Walter Tosco has seven machines in the field that are currently operating shape recognition technology and a further four customers have asked for shape upgrades to deal not only with stick removal, but to eliminate the soya waste that is frequently present.

In North America, too, peanut processors welcome the new development. A Buhler Sortex customer in New Mexico, running the dark red skin Valencia and the light red Spanish peanut, found that sorting sticks by colour only, while giving adequate results, caused problems when split peanuts were present. The colour of sticks and split peanuts is similar and it was commonplace to find up to 600 sticks per hour in the accept stream. Initial results using shape recognition technology suggest that sorting performance has improved significantly.

Once again Buhler Sortex has developed an effective solution based on proven technology to address the needs of an important individual market sector.