An optical sorter, often referred to as a color sorter, uses camera(s) to examine an individual product’s properties (i.e. color, shape, nd/or density) and then separates the acceptable from unwanted products. They can sort dry granules (feed, seed, pellets, chemicals, & ores). They cannot sort products that are: powders, wet (meat), starchy (potatoes), large (apples) or heavy (stones).
Sorters can have multiple chutes with up to 64 rejection channels in each chute. The more chutes, the higher the throughput. Multi-chute sorters can sort up to 20 tons/hour with 99.9% accuracy depending on product and % impurities.
Optical sorters can employ a single type of camera (i.e. RGB full color, visible, UV, infrared) or multiple camera combinations. For a monochromatic sorter, there is only one filter in front of the camera, producing a basic light/dark separation. For a bichromatic sorter, two filters (visible/visible, visible/IR or IR/IR) are used to combine multiple wavelengths and provide for separation of less obvious color differences.
A typical optical sorter consists of:
- A feed system (hopper, vibrator, chutes)
- Inspection cameras (monochromic, RGB color, visible, Infrared, shape)
- A signal processor (sorting profiles, monitoring)
- A separation system (air ejectors, collection bins)
The product is introduced in a flat flow (single product thickness) using inclined chutes or belt conveyors where each particle is individually analyzed. As the product flows in front of a camera it is characterized and unwanted particles are removed from the stream with an air jet.
For more information on color sorters, please select on of the products below.