Dual Spectrum+ ImagingTM Header Artwork

The I.M. sorters uses two light spectrums—plus size and shape recognition—to separate clean in-shell nuts from reject material.

Dual Spectrum+ ImagingTM Flow Chart

Before running a load of nuts, the operator “teaches” the I.M sorter the characteristics of a clean in-shell nut by running an “accept” sample in “Training” mode. I.M.’s proprietary software “learns” what to accept, and becomes pre-programmed to target for ejection any object that fails any of four tests.

The Visible Light Spectrum
The first test is in the visible light spectrum, …color you can see with the naked eye. In full operation, I.M.’s proprietary software determines whether each object shares the color characteristics of the “accept” sample. Any objects that are different from the sample are targeted for ejection. However, not all foreign material or undesirable in-shell nuts can be detected by color alone.

The Near Infrared (NIR) Spectrum
Thus, the second light spectrum—Near Infra-Red. The I.M. sorter uses a unique, broad spectrum camera that captures images in both color and NIR. I.M.’s proprietary software uses NIR to separate objects by surface ”texture.” Clean in-shell nuts have a “hard” texture, particularly compared to unhusked nuts. If an object fails either test—color or NIR—it is targeted for ejection.

Macadamia Sorters

Green, early harvest sticktight and light, good pecan. They can be separated with color, but not with NIR.

Macadamia Sorters

Dark sticktight and dark, good pecan.
We can tell them apart with NIR, but not with color.

 

The “+” in Dual Spectrum+™
I.M.’s proprietary software also differentiates objects by size and shape. If an object is too small, too large, or mis-shaped compared to the “accept” sample it is also targeted for ejection. For instance, some sticks may pass both the color and NIR tests, but are detected and targeted for ejection because they are not the size or shape of a clean in-shell nut.

Each of these detection methods—color, NIR, size and shape—can be independently fine tuned using touchscreen controls while the I.M. sorter is operating. Any three of the four detection methods can also be turned off so that a single method can be adjusted independently.

Once “trained” and fine tuned by the operator the I.M. sorter requires little or no further adjustment unless a new batch of nuts is significantly different from the original “accept” sample. Dual Spectrum+ offers the operator maximum flexibility with easy to use controls that allow for the highest possible sort accuracy.