(Nov. 20, 4:15 p.m.) Key Technology Inc., Walla Walla, Wash., has developed a produce dryer with fully automated loading and unloading, minimizing worker touch points.

Teri Johnson, Key Technology’s fresh-cut industry manager, said the dryer creates a safer environment for workers while enhancing food safety.

A patented spiral layering method loads the produce evenly into the drum, allowing for the product to reach its target dryness in the shortest amount of time possible, Johnson said.

The dryer handles a wide variety of fresh-cut produce, up to 2,500 pounds of lightweight product an hour and up to 4,000 pounds of heavier product an hour. Previously, the company’s dryers handled about 2,000 pounds of lightweight product and 3,500 pounds of heavier product each hour.

Enhanced technology features include a larger touch screen — 7 inches — and Ethernet connectivity.

“At Key, the fresh-cut produce industry is a very important strategic market,” Johnson said in a news release. “We are re-engineering existing products in our fresh-cut line to be sure they deliver the greatest value to our customers.”

The new Auto Dryer is available in one-, two- and four-drum models.

Key Technology creates automated produce dryer
Key Technology Inc.'s new automated produce dryer handles a wide variety of fresh-cut produce, up to 2,500 pounds of lightweight product an hour and up to 4,000 pounds of heavier product an hour.

Courtesy Key Technology