What Products Can Color Sorters Inspect for Defects?

Table of Contents

different food types

For a food manufacturer or distributor, the products that reach consumers must not only taste great, but they must look great. An apple that has an ugly bruise or that didn’t develop completely, leaving it with the wrong color, is not going to appeal to the consumer.

Rather than taking time, money, and resources to ship these defective products, the better option is to remove them from the supply chain immediately. That’s where color sorting machines for food products can provide a significant benefit.

What products can color sorters inspect for defects in color or other issues? Nearly any type of produce or processed food should work with color sorter applications that have the right software and programming, along with some non-food products.

What Food Products Can Color Sorters Inspect?

Optical sorting machine inspection capabilities cover almost any kind of food product. Among fresh produce, you can sort:

  • Multiple types of edible beans
  • Coffee beans
  • Corn
  • Dehydrated fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Grains
  • Nuts in the shell and shelled nuts
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Potatoes
  • Soybeans
  • Tea
  • Fresh vegetables

As a color sorter for food processing, these machines can sort spices, seeds, natural medicinal foods, and similar items for color defects before they go into a recipe.

They also can sort processed foods, whether they’re in liquid, solid, or powdered forms. If a batch of sports drinks doesn’t have a consistent color that consumers expect, this could indicate that the formula is off and the drinks need removal from the processing line. The color sorter machine can catch this issue immediately.

Can Color Sorters Inspect Non-Food Items?

What products can color sorters inspect beyond food? Because the technology used with color sorters involves sorting by color and shape, these machines work with non-food items, too. Some of the non-food items that work with color sorters include:

  • Pharmaceuticals: Medication colors must be accurate, as many people remember which pills to take by color. Variations in color could also indicate a mistake in the formula during processing and manufacturing, necessitating removal.
  • Recyclables: When you need to sort colors of glass and plastic into separate piles for recycling, the right color sorter machine can automate the process and improve accuracy.
  • Minerals: Sorting different types of minerals is possible by color, and the sorting machine can greatly increase the accuracy of the process.
  • Gems: Because gemstones and diamonds receive grades based on subtle color differences, it can be challenging for humans to spot the slight differences accurately and quickly. A color sorting machine can work round-the-clock, picking up minor color changes efficiently.

What Types of Defects Can Color Sorters Detect in Food?

over ripe lemon

What products can color sorters inspect when you have concerns over catching defects in food? Color sorters can handle a wide range of situations where you need to remove products from the line. Such processes include automated defect removal in bulk products, foreign material detection in agriculture, and anything in between.

For example, when the colors of fruits or vegetables are off, it often means a defect is present. Such defects can include:

  • Overripeness
  • Underripeness
  • Disease
  • Insect damage
  • Bird or rodent damage
  • Bruising
  • Dirt
  • Fungus or mold

The right color sorter solutions can handle more than just sorting by color and removing defective produce.

They potentially can identify contaminates and foreign objects in bulk products, including glass, plastic, wood, and stones. The machines can spot and eject misshapen items or items that have an incorrect size, helping you maintain consistent product quality at the same time you are removing discolored items.

Can Color Sorters Handle Diverse Products?

No matter what kind of product you need to sort by color, these machines can handle it. You simply have to adjust the software or filters that the camera is using. This allows the machine to prepare for different types of products, based on shape, size, fragility, and desired color.

This is a key feature, as the recycling industry needs a sorting machine that can read different sizes of bottles moving across the conveyor belt at the same time. However, when the machine is sorting apples, it needs to treat them carefully, as rough treatment of the apples moving through the machine could lead to bruising.

When you will be handling diverse products with your color sorter, it’s important to select a machine that’s easy to adjust for your employees. If it’s difficult to reset the machine for each product you’ll be sorting, setup errors may occur. The machine then won’t be able to ensure accurate sorting results.

Do Color Sorters Work on Products With Multiple Colors?

Some products have more than one color associated with them. What products can color sorters inspect when multiple colors are part of the item?

Color sorting machines can work with almost any type of product, regardless of the number of colors an individual piece may have. You just have to set up the camera and the software to be certain the machine is ready to handle the multiple-color situation.

If you have a monochromatic product, you may need just one camera filter, depending on the machine you’re using. If you need bichromatic, trichromatic, or full-color measurements, you would have to adjust the filters based on the requirements of the machine.

Once the filters are in place, the end user then adjusts the software to determine which color parameters indicate an acceptable product.

What Industries Benefit From Deploying Color Sorting?

man checking if apple is ripe

Multiple industries receive benefits when making use of color-sorting machines.

Food Processing and Packaging

Food packaging companies need products that look uniform. Consumers do not want to receive a package that has a discolored product among the normal-looking products, or they may suspect contamination of the entire package.

Food processors can use the machine to sort the ingredients that go into a product. This ensures none of them have defects that could affect taste or consistency.

Recycling and Waste Management

Recycling and waste management companies require sorting items accurately by color and shape. Doing this work by hand can be extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive. The color sorting machine can do the work faster and often more accurately.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies need to create medication that has a consistent size, color, and shape. Errors in these areas may cause the consumer to worry about the accuracy of the medical formula in the product.

Agriculture and Horticulture

Agriculture and horticulture companies can deploy color sorting machines in the field or garden. As the harvest occurs, the sorting machine can remove any produce that doesn’t fit the standard for shape, color, or contamination. This saves money versus shipping defective products that no one will use or buy.

Learn More About Sorting by Color and Shape With TDI Packsys

TDI Packsys is a market-leading provider of food packaging solutions. We also offer multiple types of color sorter products and can explain to you how color sorter machines work.

Our team finds the right solution for your business needs. We even offer custom color sorting machines when you have a unique problem that you need to solve.

What products can color sorters inspect? Whether you need to find foreign objects, remove discolored produce, or handle sorting non-food items, our products can help. For more information, contact TDI Packsys today at 877-834-6750.

Table of Contents

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.