TOMRA launches 'ZEA':
A new sensor-based sorter for whole ear seed corn
TOMRA Sorting Solutions continues to expand its ZEA sorter range developed specifically for the seed and fresh corn industry.
The latest innovation has been the design and implementation of a second camera module facilitating the inspection of both sides of the corn ear.
The system is located after the husker/s and allows sorting and grading by husk, defect, disease and size. TOMRA Sorting Solutions says the high-capacity sorting machine is the ideal efficiency, quality and cost reduction tool for processors to whom these types of defects are critical, and this low-cost-of-ownership machine is built to last.
Maurice Moynihan, market unit director, TOMRA Sorting Food, says: “The ZEA is a flexible sorter with gentle handling assured. It contains simple controls, supplies straightforward feedback, provides consistent, long-life accuracy and requires only low maintenance.
Benefits the system offers customers include unrivalled husk and superior defect removal, significant labor reductions, reduced operational costs and easy installation, explains Mr. Moynihan.
The ZEA works through the product being spread uniformly onto the infeed belt in an aligned and channeled fashion, before being scanned by cameras. It uses top-and bottom mounted color and near-infrared (NIR) optical sensors to scan the surface of each item in-flight, this “off-belt view” allowing unobstructed inspection. The color vision sensors analyze for features such as size, shape and color, while the NIR sensors do so for gross defects and foreign materials.
A few milliseconds later, second and third grade produce is redirected into individual streams by a bank of intelligent, low-wear paddle ejectors at the end of the infeed belt, precisely and accurately, while the first grade material progresses along the sorting line and through the machine.
The simple integrated shaker and infeed belt feeding system keeps installation and running costs low and reduces the risk of stoppages. Controls and feedback are provided via an easy to use touch screen, which makes calling up set sorting criteria and adjusting parameters to obtain the required result simple. The ZEA also has a strong, rugged construction with robust electronics and rejecter.
Mr. Moynihan said: “Some important differences between the ZEA and certain broadly competitor machines on the market are that our sorter includes two-sided cameras, which view products from both sides, and a unique [patent applied for] three-way rejection system.”
TOMRA now has over 150 systems installed worldwide in North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe.
TOMRA Sorting Food has already been contracted by a Fortune 500 provider of agricultural products to supply ZEA machines for seed corn processing plants in Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Hungary and France. The agreement was valued at $3.5m for the first 12 months, with a similar level of orders projected for following years.
A significant factor in winning this business was TOMRA’s global service and support network, which can provide local assistance and expertise wherever the customer processes seed corn.
Rather than thinking of standard systems, TOMRA Sorting Food encourages packers and processors to share their needs with its experts, so they can suggest tailored solutions, directly meeting customers’ unique requirements, from its large range of product and technology offerings.