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High definition BioVision™ technology redefines sorting capabilities for global tree nut processors

22 May 2015

The Bühler Group, a global leader in processing technologies for the nut industry,  has presented its new SORTEX E BioVision™ to the World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in Turkey. 

Featuring high definition BioVision™ detection technology, the optical sorter removes hazardous material up to 50 percent smaller than previously possible from almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts, regardless of the treenut variety.  It does this in a single sort, minimising associated losses of good nuts - a solution that has been unavailable until now.

Bühler has provided unparalleled sorting technology to global nut processors for decades. Nevertheless, recognising that demands on quality were becoming ever more stringent, a dedicated research programme was established, to ensure that technologies continued to meet the increasingly exacting requirements of today’s nut processing industry. 

This research has resulted in the SORTEX E BioVision™. This optical sorter uniquely allows processors to accurately remove even smaller fragments of shell and foreign material than currently possible with existing technologies and it does so with up to double the capacity of other sorters currently on the market, using the same footprint. 

Fundamental to the SORTEX E BioVision™ is Bühler’s proprietary high definition BioVision™ detection technology, which, by targeting the spectral and spatial difference between nut meats and shell, is capable of distinguishing subtle differences between, for instance, pale shells and paler varieties of almonds such as nonpareil. Without this technology, a much higher volume of the nut meat may be lost, due to false rejections. 

“Historically, sorting shells from nut meat, in almonds in particular, has been an especially difficult task,” said Faisal Baig, Global Product Manager Optical Sorting at Bühler. “This is due to the dozens of different almond varieties, each differing in colour, that require the settings of conventional sorting systems to be changed every time a processor switches to another product. As such, substantial loss in valuable nut meat is possible, or a significant underperformance of the sorter, if not adjusted to each specific nut variety.” 

Responding to this challenge, Bühler invested heavily in extensive trials on a wide variety of tree nuts, investigating the precise nature of the light they reflected. Through its studies, Bühler discovered that kernels and shells, in all the tree nuts it examined, are characterised by their own spectral signatures. This unique pattern in the spectra has allowed Bühler’s in-house team to pinpoint the differences between the chemical characteristics of shells and those of nut meat, and underpins the introduction of the new SORTEX E BioVision™. 

Faisal Baig, added, “In field trials, the SORTEX E BioVision™ demonstrated unparalleled sorting performance, for more than 10 different varieties of almonds at once, without any changes required to the sorting program. This allows nut processors to achieve a consistent quality sort for multiple nut varieties, therefore improving product quality, production throughput and uptime.”

Using the SORTEX E BioVision™, nut manufacturers can now achieve a greater than 99 percent removal of shells, depending on input contamination and throughput, plus an impressive 97 percent concentration of shells in the reject stream. 

Bühler’s proprietary technology has also enabled its optical system to be produced with a higher resolution than other available technologies, thereby making it possible to detect and remove hazardous materials up to 50 percent smaller than other industry solutions can manage today.  It does this accurately and at high speed, minimising associated losses of the good nuts - setting a new safety and quality standard for the industry. 

Featuring a hygienic, stainless steel, open design, with built-in, bespoke dust management, as well as Climate Control systems, the SORTEX E BioVision™ offers superior cleanability, consistent and reliable operation over time, and a constant world-class sort, even in the dusty environments and changing ambient conditions that, by their nature, prevail in nut processing facilities. 

The option to be combined with Bühler’s proprietary colour cameras,  InGaAsHD, PROfile™ detection technologies, state-of-the-art broad spectrum lighting and high speed ejectors, means the SORTEX E BioVision™ can be positioned at various stages of the nut processing lines to give an unrivalled sorting performance.   With one simple set-up for different varieties of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts and pistachios, unprecedented removal of  hazardous materials and nuts that are mouldy, rotten and diseased, can be accomplished.

Charith Gunawardena, Head of Business Unit Optical Sorting at Bühler, said: “The introduction of the SORTEX E BioVision represents the company’s dedication to investing in research and development, using its technical expertise and vast experience to provide solutions which can be tailored to the individual needs of the processor. As a partner of choice for optical sorting solutions, we’re proud to work closely with key members of the industry to ensure that we’re providing advanced technologies that support the industry.”

The SORTEX E BioVision™ is Bühler’s latest offering for nut processors, further enhancing the company’s existing SORTEX E product range. Customers who have already purchased the SORTEX E1C will have the opportunity to upgrade to the new BioVision™ detection technology. The SORTEX E BioVision™ marks a further technological evolution in optical sorting, further cementing Bühler’s position as the market leader in this field and expanding its influence in delivering innovative solutions to the global food processing markets. 


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