News | April 2, 2015

Morada Nut Company Maximizes Product Quality With Taurys Digital Sorter


When Morada Nut Company was selecting the best equipment for their new state-of-the-art walnut shelling plant, they searched for a digital sorter that would help them produce the highest quality product on a consistent basis. They chose Key Technology’s powerful laser sorter, Taurys, to remove foreign material (FM) and defects from the product and color sort for grading.

“Before we chose Taurys, we tried virtually every sorter on the market. We wanted to identify the tool that would serve us best in getting our product into high end markets like Japan, Korea and Germany. We wanted to achieve the highest specifications for FM, defects and color,” said Scott Brown, Production Manager at Morada. “It has been a dream working with Key. Taurys has tremendous capabilities and flexibility, and it’s easy to operate. It’s a very effective tool.”

Taurys is Key’s newest high performance chute-fed laser sorter. It can be configured with a wide range of detection wavelengths to sort on the color and/or structural properties of a wide variety of nuts as well as dried fruit, frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh cut produce, confections, coffee, and snack foods. With its powerful sort engine, new architecture, new ejection manifold, and the most effective and reliable lasers, Taurys handles higher incoming defect loads, increases detection resolution, and improves the accuracy of defect and FM removal and color sorting. Taurys improves sorting efficiencies and reduces false rejects to help food processors improve product quality while maximizing yields.

“Taurys allows us to put the best product out there, which is important, because you only get one chance with some customers,” said Mike Jameson, Director of Marketing at Morada. “This technology is not just saving labor and it’s not just producing quality. It is an essential element in helping us build our high quality reputation.”

Featuring a 1200-mm (47-inch) wide inspection zone, Taurys sorts up to 4.5 metric tons (10,000 lbs.) of walnuts per hour.

“Taurys is a workhorse. We’ve been running it 23 hours a day since we started up in October. It has a very high success rate and very low false rejects sorting 8,000 lbs. an hour,” noted Brown. “This is more than a commitment to a piece of equipment. It’s a commitment to Key, because if this sorter goes down, a long list of orders will be delayed. We’ve been very impressed with Key’s customer service and attention to detail. We’ve had no major problems with our sorter, but it’s good to know that Key will be here within 12 hours if we need them.”

Morada typically runs a standard double pass through Taurys. The first pass removes shells and other FM as well as defects such as shriveled kernels. The second pass is fine tuned to color sort for grading purposes. “Taurys has the flexibility to perform both types of sorts with performance at the top of the industry,” said Brown. “It’s amazing in its ability to remove shells and other FM and color sort. It’s a very impressive sorter.”

Taurys’ settings can be stored and retrieved for fast changeovers. The icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) is easy to learn and use, which reduces training and simplifies operations. The GUI can reside locally and can be accessed remotely via Taurys’ OPC-compliant infrastructure. This enhances flexibility in the operating environment and eases access for remote factory troubleshooting and application assistance.

“We have a quality control team that analyzes the details of every piece of equipment. It’s been a treat analyzing the input and output on Taurys. It’s very effective at eliminating even the smallest membrane without producing too many false rejects. Part of that success is a result of the sorter’s ease of use. It’s easy to get Taurys to perform the way we need it to,” said Brown. Jameson added, “The ultimate measure of Taurys’ success is customer satisfaction. We deliver good product on time, and we get repeat sales.”

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About Key Technology, Inc.
Key Technology, an ISO-9001 certified company, is a global leader in the design and manufacture of process automation systems including digital sorters, conveyors, and processing equipment. Applying processing knowledge and application expertise, Key helps customers in the food processing and other industries improve quality, increase yield, and reduce cost.With worldwide sales representation, the company maintains demonstration and testing facilities at its headquarters and manufacturing divisions in Walla Walla, Washington, USA; and at Key Technology in Beusichem, the Netherlands and Hasselt, Belgium. The company's common stock trades on the Global Market tier of The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol KTEC.

Source: Key Technology, Inc.