Key Technology, Walla Walla, Wash., is introducing a new family of mid-volume sorters for its smaller customers.


The Manta 1600 features a 1,520-millimeter (five-foot) wide scan area and up to seven cameras — with 0.5-millimeter resolution — and two lasers, according to a news release from Key. It can sort as much as 15 metric tons of product per hour and meets the requirements of most processed vegetable, potato and fruit production lines.


The Manta 1600 line features many of the same designs as the larger, 2-meter wide high-volume Manta 2000 sorter, introduced in 2008, but with its smaller design was developed for mid-volume customers, according to the release.


The sorters are easily modulated, according to the release, and can be easily reconfigured in the field, allowing processors to select a camera/laser arrangement to meet a specific need on a certain day, or change it if needs change.


Manta 1600 can recognize each object’s size and shape coming down a conveyor as well as pick up subtle color differences to remove objects defined by users’ reject standards. Like all of Key’s G6-enabled optical sorters, Manta 1600 can be equipped with FMAlert, an enhanced quality monitoring capability that improves the tracking and control of foreign material, according to the release. FMAlert enables the sorter to capture and save a digital image of every object defined as foreign. With these images, processors can identify quality problems and take corrective measures to maximize food safety.


Manta contains few horizontal surfaces where debris can build up and no overlapping surfaces that can trap bacteria, according to the release. It’s stainless steel construction and watertight double-gasket doors make it fully washable. To ease maintenance, it features an open design and large cabinet doors providing access to the sorter’s electronics and hardware. Quick release components allow Manta’s belt to be changed quickly and easily, cutting down downtime.


The icon-based user interface, displayed on a touchscreen, is easy to learn and use, according to the release.