Visar updates Sortop carrot inspection and grading kit

Increased throughput, greater accuracy and easier setting up are claimed highlights of the updated Sortop carrot inspection and sorting system from Swiss-manufacturer Visar and UK distributor Tong Engineering.

The increase in throughput is largely down to a new rotary singulator that rapidly lines up carrots for optical inspection, while new software and infrared vision for the inspection process increase sorting accuracy and minimise waste.

See also: High-tech potato-grading lines up profits for Cornish grower

Carrots of all shapes and sizes are arranged in a line by the new in-feed mechanism. A fast-rotating plate pushes the vegetables to the outer edge where they pass up a ramp onto a pair of conveyor belts arranged in a V shape.

The new rotary in-feed system seen from above singles carrots ready for inspection

The new rotary in-feed system, seen from above, singles carrots ready for inspection © Visar Sortop

In the inspection module, they jump a gap to a second conveyor and, in doing so, are exposed to a camera that not only records an upper image but also underside images thanks to a pair of mirrors, resulting in 360-degree inspection of every carrot from tip to crown.

The system can inspect a 1.8m line of carrots every second and operators can teach it to recognise various defects using a simple display interface.

The new infrared vision is said to improve the inspection of crowns and tips, where defects are common, with increased accuracy in detecting defects such as rotten, damaged or mouse-gnawed crowns.

The crop can be sorted into up to 16 categories covering diameter, length, weight, appearance and waste, with air jets pitching them off the conveyor. Potato and dual-crop versions with fewer sorting categories are also available.

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