Detection system solves labour shortage at Jones Potato Farm

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

 The B175 can process up to 6.8 metric tons of green beans per hour on its 1750-mm wide inspection zone
The B175 can process up to 6.8 metric tons of green beans per hour on its 1750-mm wide inspection zone

Related tags Detection

Potato producer Jones Potato Farm has sidestepped labour shortages by installing a new digital sorter to find and remove foreign material (FM) and product defects on its fresh pack green bean line.

Key Technology’s VERYX B175 digital sorter is capable of processing up to 6.8 metric tons of green beans per hour on its 1750-mm wide inspection zone.  

Reportedly the world’s only belt-fed sorter that can inspect product entirely in-air with top and bottom sensors, VERYX achieves “all-sided surface inspection of each green bean with no blind spots”.  

The VERYX B175 at Jones is fully loaded with top- and bottom-mounted off-axis cameras, top-mounted laser sensors and Key’s Pixel Fusion detection module to find and remove the most FM and the right amount of defects to make grade and maximize yield. 

Labour shortages 

“The labour shortage is a major concern for all agricultural operations. It’s become very difficult and expensive to recruit and retain 20 reliable workers to manually inspect our green beans, especially during our peak season when we often operate seven days a week,​ said Alan Jones, President and chief executive of Jones Potato Farm.  

“While we’ll always have a place for good employees here in our facility, it’s nice to be able to take some pressure off our people. VERYX is a highly effective sorter that improves our operating efficiencies.” 

The three-way VERYX installed by Jones separates product into three streams to maximize efficiency and yield. The ‘reject’ stream is programmed to collect FM and certain defects, which go to waste. The ‘accept’ stream sends good green beans with no clusters or stems on to packaging.  

Third sort stream 

The third sort stream gets everything else, including clusters and green beans with attached stems – these green beans are sent to a separate two-way sorter from Key that separates rework, which is circulated back to the beginning of the line.  

“Our VERYX is great at handling high defect loads without sacrificing good product to the reject stream. This means we’re able to consistently achieve our final product specifications, regardless of incoming product quality, while we maximize yield,​ said Hernandez. 
“If we ever need support, VERYX makes it easy. With its remote monitoring capability, a Key service technician can securely access and adjust its settings remotely. Sometimes our shifts run until 4am, and it’s good to know that Key’s remote service is always available, even in the middle of the night, to help our sorter operate at peak performance.” 

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