Key Technology introduces VERYX digital sorters for gummy candies

Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, has introduced VERYX digital sorters for gummy candies. Designed to detect and remove foreign material (FM) and gummies with bits of remaining starch as well as colour and shape defects, VERYX enables gummy candy manufacturers to enhance product quality and protect their brand while virtually eliminating false rejects to maximise profitability. 

“VERYX sensor configuration not only allows for the most thorough all-sided surface inspection, but also offers Pixel Fusion for advanced detection,” said Karel Van Velthoven, advanced inspection systems product marketing manager at Key. “Our gummy candy customers with installed VERYX systems are experiencing a sort accuracy that was unseen until now.” 

VERYX sorts oil-coated, sugar-coated, yogurt-coated and vitamin-enhanced gummy candies. It detects colour, size, shape and structural properties to find gummies with bits of remaining starch, even when inspecting milky-white, yogurt-coated candies that are the same colour as starch and have a similar texture. It detects FM, including plastic and wood, to give candy manufacturers using plastic or wood trays in their candy-making process assurance that fragments of a broken tray do not get packaged with product. The sorter also detects colour defects such as mixed-colour gummies and shape defects such as clumps, conjoined gummies, malformed gummies, mold spills and more.

Key optimises VERYX with the ideal cameras, laser sensors, algorithms and ejection system for gummy candies. Additionally, an application-specific line layout with an optional defect resort system blends Key’s expertise in digital sorting and mechanical product handling, further contributing to new standards of performance for gummy candy sorting. This integrated solution combines a chute-fed VERYX sorter with specialised Iso-Flo and Impulse vibratory shakers to achieve improved FM/defect removal rates. 

Equipped with front- and rear-mounted cameras, laser scanners and multi-sensor Pixel Fusion detection modules, VERYX is capable of viewing all sides of the product to find and remove more FM and defects. The next-generation four-channel cameras and high-resolution laser sensors offer twice the resolution of previous sensor technology to see smaller FM and defects, including gummies with bits of remaining starch as small as one square millimeter. Key’s Pixel Fusion technology combines pixel-level input from multiple cameras and laser sensors to produce higher contrasts, enabling VERYX to find and remove the most difficult-to-detect FM and defects.

Object-based sorting facilitates advanced shape sorting algorithms and intelligent ejection on VERYX. While most gummy candy manufacturers will programme their sorter to remove shape defects such as clumps and conjoined gummies, other minor misshaped gummies might actually delight young consumers and may be programmed as acceptable on the sorter. Intelligent ejection improves the accuracy of all FM/defect removal and reduces false rejects. Rather than firing an ejector at the defect itself, VERYX performs contour-based and/or centroid-based calculations to target ejectors at the object’s center of mass to ensure FM/defect removal while maximising yield.

Product changeovers on VERYX are fast and easy. With double-sided Pixel Fusion, every type of gummy candy can be sorted using the same background so hardware changes are eliminated. VERYX’s recipe-based sorting takes away the hassle of configuring the sorter for each new type of candy. Changing over to a new gummy shape or colour takes only a couple of taps on the touchscreen to load the dedicated recipe. This recipe-driven operation simplifies use and ensures repeatable results, regardless of personnel changes and across multiple lines and locations.

VERYX can also leverage Key’s Information Analytics software, which allows users to analyse and share big data across their enterprise via an OPCUA-compliant infrastructure at the same time they sort. Data about the sort process and about each and every object flowing through the sorter, whether the data is used to make sort decisions or not, is available to reveal patterns, trends and associations. This data can help a processor optimise processes upstream and downstream of the sorter to achieve the next level in operational efficiency.

VERYX is available in multiple sizes to satisfy a range of capacity requirements, with the highest volume system sorting up to five metric tons of gummy candies per hour.