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Bühler takes a giant leap forward in intelligent optical sorting for rice with the all-new SORTEX S UltraVision™

16 June 2014

The Bühler Group, a global leader in rice processing and optical sorting solutions, has further extended its leadership in intelligent optical sorting for rice with the introduction of its most sophisticated, highest-capacity optical sorter yet.  Addressing changing and challenging market and consumer requirements, the all-new SORTEX S UltraVision™ significantly increases rice processors’ profitability, by allowing them to define the exact quality level for their rice, even when faced

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As much Bühler’s customers’ vision as its own, the SORTEX S UltraVision™ tackles critical industry issues. Contamination levels in rice are rising and defects becoming more subtle and therefore more difficult to detect. Processors also face increased competition and consolidation of rice mills, plus greater pressure to meet demand for many different levels of rice quality, including export standard.

To meet this pressure, processors must define which grains are acceptable and which they wish to reject. “Existing optical sorting solutions restrict adjustment for defects without specific controls, so rice processors have been forced to compromise between meeting customer specifications or minimising reject – until now. The SORTEX S UltraVision™ revolutionises this.” said Neil Dyer, Global Product Manager for Buhler Sortex.

Designed and built in the UK, the SORTEX S UltraVision™ is Bühler’s highest ever capacity sorter for rice. With up to six modules, a patented high capacity feed system and improved detection of defects, it is the culmination of over 65 years of sorting experience. The Buhler Sortex design team have created a completely new optical sorter, from the ground up and, packed with new, advanced, proprietary technologies, the SORTEX S UltraVision™ means processors need no longer compromise yield in order to meet their customer requirements.

In-built intelligence enables the sorter to make intuitive decisions about which grain is good and which grain should be rejected, while its specific defect detection capability allows processors to adjust their sensitivity for each of multiple defects, individually. This groundbreaking functionality gives processors unprecedented control. They can now define the exact ‘accept’ levels necessary to meet their customers’ requirements - thus eliminating waste and boosting profit.

“Many customers stress their need to remove yellow grains reliably, but agree that slightly grey or under-milled grains are acceptable up to a certain threshold,” said Ben Deefholts, Buhler Sortex Rice Specialist who, with other Bühler specialists, constantly strives to understand changing customer requirements, regularly visiting their processing plants and quality control labs. 

“Until now, operators could not distinguish between different shades and have had to increase overall sensitivity in order to remove all subtle yellows, thereby also removing all subtle greys and ultimately reducing yield,” according to Deehfolts, who explained that revolutionising this is Bühler’s SORTEX ProSort™ software, featuring intelligent modes. 
These modes hold the detailed characteristics of individual rice varieties and defects, allowing operators to tailor sort quality precisely and improve yield. The new user interface gives easy control, allowing swift changes from one rice product to another, or one quality standard to another, significantly reducing costly downtime. “Processors can consistently achieve export quality by just selecting the rice variety, setting each defect’s sensitivity and pressing start,” said Deefholts.

Consistency of sorting performance is further enhanced with Intelligent Automation – Bühler is currently the only company delivering a fully-automated sorter.  By constantly scanning passing rice, self-learning as product changes and adjusting itself automatically, the SORTEX S UltraVision™ removes the need for manual intervention and consistently operates at the optimum level until the end of every batch.  

Increasing yields still further, even when a ‘perfect’ accept product is required, is new Textured LED Lighting™ technology, together with proprietary-designed, multi-chromatic ‘Ultra’ cameras, which now detect defects almost imperceptible to the human eye. Plus, Bühler’s intelligent new Crosshair Targeting™ technology improves the accuracy of ejection, even at very high capacity, by firing just the right amount of air, removing fewer of the good grains with the reject.  

Based on Bühler’s philosophy of open construction,  the completely new mechanical design of the SORTEX S UltraVision™ makes daily operation even easier. For instance, a simple release opens a cover, allowing unprecedented access to key optical areas, without the need to remove chutes or receptacles. An operator can routinely clean dust in seconds, preventing any build up of meal on the viewing glass that could otherwise compromise sorting performance.

The same leading-edge design is behind SORTEX AnywarePro™, which allows customers 24/7 visibility of online data for maximum product yield and sorting optimisation, fault alert, and system usage statistics. Customers can further benefit from Bühler’s global support, providing fault and predicitive wear diagnostics and system performance analysis.

“The all-new SORTEX S UltraVision™ forms part of Bühler’s wider range of next-generation high capacity, energy efficient, “UltraLine” rice processing equipment delivering outstanding productivity, coupled with lower running costs, to help rice processors improve the sustainability of their operations and maximise their revenue,” said Buhler Sortex Managing Director, Hamid Kefayati. 

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