This guide is handy to anyone who would wish to import a Color Sorter.

It is also an informational guide since it gives details on the usage of the color sorter and places you can find them in the market. The different types, installation process and how you can care for one. We will enlighten you primarily on food color sorters.

The links herein will give you some of the places you can get great deals for color sorters.

At our website, you will find a detailed description of different types of color sorters.

Chapter 1: Introduction


What Is a Color Sorter?

Color sorter is Artificially Intelligent machinery used in the assembly lines in massive food processing and other industries. As the name suggests, it sorts the material based on color; the material could be classified as standard or substandard.

color sorter
Traditional Color Sorter

You may also call it the optical color sorting machine. Classification of color sorters as per the design is into three groups. They include technology, light source, and architectural design. It is a kind of technology that has been embraced in different parts of the world.

How is Color Sorter Used in Agriculture

Agricultural products are the most widely used in color sorter. Most of the products used are granular. The machine uses highly sensitive color sensors to make a distinction between that which is good and bad.

Good and bad in the sense of consumption is required color and a standard shape.

The Various Agricultural That Use Color Sorting Machine

There are quite a number of granular and non-granular agricultural products that use color sorters. They include:

  • Rice
  • Coarse cereals such as wheat, corn, peanut, beans sesame seeds
  • Tea
Detection of contaminants in Rice | image from perception park

Aside from farm products, other products use color sorting machines. They are plastic color sorters, salt color sorter, ore color sorters or generally a multi-functional color sorting machine.

Chapter 2: Working Principle

How Does a Color Sorter Work?

In this optical sorting kind of machine, you have to differentiate solid materials based on their colors. You can achieve this when you use high-resolution CCD optical sensor to drive a solenoid valve which helps in the sorting of different solid materials.

Color Sorter Working Principle
Color Sorter Working Principle

A color sorter uses photoelectric technology to sort out different colors in grains and other materials such as plastic, sands and etc. Majorly, a color sorter consists of the following:

  • A feeding system.
  • An optical detection system.
  • A signal processing system
  • A separation execution system.

The two types of color sorters are the belt-type and the chute-type. The belt-type breaks smaller percentages materials with the products being somewhat static during the transport process.

The chute-type, on the other hand, materials that are the chute slide because of gravity which leads to a collision, friction and massive vertical movements.

Video for Grain Sorting Processing

Principal Technical Indicators for a Color Sorter

These are indicators that give you guidance of the usefulness of a color sorter. They give you details on how color sorters work in the various industries that find it essential to have that kind of equipment.

Processing Capacity

This is the number of products that can you can process with a specific timeline. The following factors determine it:

  • The speed of the servo system
  • The maximum speed of the conveyor belt when using the belt-type color sorter
  • The number of impurities in the raw material

If the pace of the servo system is fast enough, impurities are triggered therefore increasing the speed of the conveyer belt resulting in speedier processing of the materials in the color sorter.

The speed of the conveyer belt determines the output, the faster it is, the higher the results. When you have fewer impurities in your material, the chances are that the process will be faster.

It all boils down to the accuracy that you want at the end of the day, highly accurate production takes some more time. 

Selection Accuracy

This is the percentage representation of impurities selected from raw materials in the total amount of pollutants contained.

Factors affecting the accuracy of selection include

  • Moving speed of the conveyer belt
  • The purity level of the raw materials

When your conveyer belt responds sluggishly, you will consume more time between adjacent impurities. The servo system will equally have enough time to reject contaminants and improve color sorting.

It is essential to note that the design of the servo system limits the accuracy of the color selection and if there exist more than two impurities, the accuracy of the color is less. But, generally, the structure of the selection is better than a single one.

Carryover Ratio

This is the ratio between the impurities separated by the color sorter to the normal amount of material. It can be adjusted using the actuator.

If the production ratio is in significant volumes, the selection rate and the processing capacity will be affected. If it the opposite of that, low setting, the waste will be in plenty. That means that it will be reprocessed and could be used in other ways. 

In a nutshell, during production using the color sorter, one has to take heed to:

  • The processing volume
  • Color selection Accuracy
  • Output

Those as mentioned above, need a concurrent kind of monitoring.

Why Are Color Sorters Essential?     

Color sorters should be the greatest invention of our time. There is no parameter to measure that yet, but you’d agree with me once you start using one.

Imagine a world that existed without a color sorting machine? Boring, tasking…yes? Maybe people consumed food that had a lot of impurities, or the colors in place were not similar in any way.

There could’ve been a lot of manual labor which should’ve been hard because it is never easy to separate everything just by human nature. That tells you why we need to embrace technological benefits like a color sorter which is very vital because of the following reasons.

  1. You can use it to separate different colors of raw materials
  2. You can use it to detect color, either wanted or an unwanted color that is in a product, be it agricultural or industrial product.
  3. In diamonds, for instance, color sorters are used to check for its purity
  4. It is necessary for your food safety because you will separate the unwanted impurities from the consumable end products.
Belt-Type Color Sorter
Belt-Type Color Sorter for for Nuts Sorting

More Reasons:

  1. As a manufacturer of agricultural machines that are consumed by human beings, you can use the color sorter to evade legal action just in case impurities are found in your products which, according to Food Safety Act 1990, you have to have measures that put a stop at the contamination of your food. A color sorter is very vital in this case. They say it is better to be safe than sorry.
  2. It is essential for general improvisation of the raw materials and the end products look better than they were before.
  3. Ore color sorters are essential for you since they merely do the color sorting without adding any chemicals that may be dangerous to you.
  4. For minerals, a color sorting machine helps in reducing the cost of production.


Chapter 3: Types of Color Sorting Machine

Various Types Available in the Market

In this chapter, you will learn the different kinds of color sorters especially those in the agricultural sector. We will also look at the Industrial types of color sorters. The classification of each of the types could either be the belt type color sorter or the chute type color sorter.

Differences Between Belt-Type and Chute-Type Color Sorter

Before we mention the different types of agricultural color sorters, here are some of the differences between the belt type and the chute type color sorters:

  1. The most obvious one is that the belt type moves on belts while the chute type moves on chutes.
  2. The belt type machines reduce broken materials in a great way. The reason being that most of the stuff put in the belt type machine remains somewhat stationary. On the other hand, chutes have the elements sliding to different channels. Due to friction and the collisions, they end up being extremely broken.
  3. Chute types are used minimally because they have to have specifications of the products before they can be channeled down. Such details may include the size and shape of the product. The chute may reject a particular form because it is not meant for that. The belt type, therefore, is so competitive because of its efficiency and minimal complications. A wide range of products can use it.

This video shows how the belt type color sorter works. This is to give you real-time examples of the use of a color sorter.

Sorting List

Rice Sorting White Rice, Black Rice, Red Rice, sorghum, millet, 
glutinous rice, Raw Rice, Steamed rice, Boiled & Parboiled Rice 
Grains & Seeds SortingCorn, Wheat, Peanuts, Beans( Soybeans, broad beans, mung beans, peas, red beans. 
sunflower seeds, Sesame, coffee, Lotus seed, Flaxseed, Rapeseed
Nuts Sorting:   Cashew, Walnut, Dehydrated Fruit, Macadamia, Pistachios, 
Brazil Nuts, Pepitas, Pecans, Almonds, Hazelnuts
Leafs & Tea Sorting Tea, Tobacco, Dehydrated Vegetables to name just but a few that fall into this category
Seafood SortingShrimp Skin, Shrimp
Plastic SortingPC, PP, ABS, PET, mainly used to recycling.  
Mining SortingOre, Stone, quartz, powder
Spices SortingPepper, Chili, Garlic, Nutmeg, clove, cumin, mustard, Poppyseed

Chapter 4: Uses of the Different Types of Color Sorters

Rice Color Sorter

Rice Color Sorter, also called Rice Sorting machine, is identified based on the dissimilarity in the optical properties of rice.

The Sorting Machine makes use of the optoelectronic technology in the rice, different constituent part of color that may be in there, automatic sorting out to enhance the quality of rice and the removal of impurities that could be in the rice.

It is important to note that this kind of color sorter is not solely limited to rice but also be used to separate grains like millet but by color.

rice color sorter
Rice Color Sorter, Also called Rice Sorting Machine | image from SG

A

Grain Color Sorter

It is a different type of color sorter. This is because it utilizes close to three wavelengths. Still, at it, it has cameras that are at a whole new level of innovation. It uniquely gives out of the ordinary, shading, arranging and remote material discovery.

Grain Color Sorter | Image from Sortex Group

This, in turn, makes the end product to have an outlook that can be put in the same sentence with quality.

One unique thing about a grain color sorter is that adaptable broadband LED and Expansive Range IR lighting can take note of blunders in some of the visible wavelengths and the infra-red range.

Oat Color Sorter Machine

This short video shows the different parts of an oat color sorter machine and how it works to produce the good oat and separate them from the rejected ones which contain impurities.

It could simply sum up the use of an oat color sorter machine which is to come up with an end product, that is oat, which is free from the unwanted materials that could be unhealthy for human consumption such as stones, sticks or a different kind of agricultural product that may cause more harm than good when put with oats.

This type of machine also uses the optical sorting solutions which are great for sorting the different types of oats that are in existence. These types include; rolled oats, hulled kilned oats, malted oats, and un-hulled oats.

It is a competitive kind of color sorting machine because it accepts both small and large scale produces for color sorting.

Wheat Color Sorter

In this type of color sorter, its principality is to use black impurities and the depth of wheat colors on the surface of the light contrast different features

Peanut Color Sorter

This is a type of color sorter that uses a very high speed, high precision 2048 technology, and a special high-resolution lens. It rules out utilization of double-sided election work.

Some of its features will give you a reason for its efficiency and why you should go for it. It can be used to sort any nut.

Seed Sorting Machine

Seeds are somewhat complicated, they almost look alike, but there is always a very slight distinction that identifies them with the name that they are given.

Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds are examples you may wish to sort using a seed sorting machine.

The seed color sorter works according to the color difference of the requirements of product yield, defect impurity and screening.

Any foreign body or what you may call impurities can be eliminated using this equipment.

Corn Color Sorter

It uses the CCD optical imaging of grain of corn with mildew and black corn and corn stalk of grass and other impurities removed after a color selection of maize quality assurance. 

Depending on the model of a corn machine, you will get different services for that. The sorting machine checks for a defect, disease, husk, and size; it could come in handy for seed corn producers. 

The details in this one will help you understand the need for sorting out discoloration, black tips, rotten corns, seeds that are split maybe during the harvesting, any foreign material that may cause harm during human consumption. All you need is a perfect kind of end product with zero impurities. 

Bean Color Sorter

It is a multi-purpose kind of color sorter. It can sort different agricultural products that are in the bean family or a far-fetched type of product.

It could be soybeans, corn, peanuts, pepper, chickpeas to name just but a few.

Cereal color sorter

This equipment is used to sort cereals in general. Some of which we have mentioned. It classifies according to the different colors of material. It ensures that apart from just the colors, no unwanted material paves its way to the cereal.

Tea color sorter

It is unique as compared to the other types of color sorters. It uses the tea in tea stems. It uses a high-resolution CCD optical sensor for greater quality tea leaves assortment for optoelectronic equipment.

Mini Tea Color Sorter | Image from Sortex Group

Dried food and seafood color sorter

These are some of the foods that use the belt type color sorter. They include; dried garlic, dried fruits or dry vegetables.

They are used to separate impurities and differentiate the colors and shapes of the materials in need. They, for instance, might come with some sea waste. That means you will have to remain solely with the food and it is only a color sorter that can help in this case.

Color Sorter for dried food and seafood | image form SG

The dried leaves might have some stones in it which in essence is unwanted material. It is this color sorter that will help.

The optical technology is therefore vital in the separation of what we’d say; separating the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad. 

In this category, we have the shrimp color sorterthat is used to sort any kinds of peels in the shrimp and removes them. Other parts of the shrimp such as the legs, eyes, shells can be identified and removed with this type of a color sorter machine.

Plastic Color Sorter

This is a type of color sorter that is used in the separation of myriad forms of plastic. Whether it is in its original form or the plastic has been recycled, it still can be used for color detection.

Plastic Sorting Machine

As we had mentioned in the outline of types of color sorters, this type is also applicable in the PC, ABS, and PA, PS, PET, PP for the separation of tiny particles in them.

Industrial Color Sorter

This is a type of color sorter that is used in purifying materials such as plastics, jewels, pebbles, metallic potassium, ores, etc.

It uses photoelectric technology to check through the particles of a material to separate the wanted from the unwanted. This is to improve quality and do away with any contamination that may arise. 

You can use it for shaping the minerals, and it can tell what kind of mineral is in for purification. 

This type of color sorter has very high-resolution imaging technology. That is why you can use it to take several images of the various products.

You can use it to tell whatever color your product should be.

Spices Color Sorter

There are quite a number of spices in the world market. Each of those has different tastes as well as different colors. It will not be a strange thing to find spices of the same color but have very different taste and use.

To differentiate its use, the spices color sorter can be used in this case to give each spice their unique kind of color and taste when they finally go to the market.

A spice color sorting machine uses an optical solution to sort out the spices for the manufacturers who insist on having the highest quality of spices free from impurities and one that is danger-free for human consumption.

Some of the spices in the market may include; mustard, nutmeg, clove, cumin, coriander, red chili, cardamom, fenugreek, poppy, onion seeds, cinnamon, psyllium, ajwain…endless list.

Chapter 5: How to Install a Color Sorter

Step by Step Guidelines for Installing a Color Sorter

Installation of any machine extraordinarily complex one is easier said than done. It needs a lot of expertise to put it up in the correct way.

To be good at it, you have to follow instructions to the latter or watch how you can do it first hand. Thanks to technology, we can still have videos on YouTube to help us understand in case we are far from the manufacturer. Here is one such video that helps to show how you can install a color sorter.

It is essential to take note that you should install the color sorter on a platform that is 1.8 feet off the ground. This comes with the installation of its base angle, and its levelness should be adjusted with a level gauge by approximately 2/1000 mm or below.

At least 50cm of the side should be left aside so that machine operation, patrol, and maintenance can be taken care of. The upper material inlet should correspond to the inlet pipe, with adjusting panel of flow rate and storage box on it which cannot press on inlet hopper in the prevention of reduction of sorting effect due to vibration.

Ensure that you have the lifting rings of the color sorter can be trusted

Fix the frame with the lanyard to be void of accidents when lifting the machine when using.

Electrical Installation of a Color Sorter Machine

Ensure that the power supply of the AC three-phase is 380± 5% (for purposes of the air compressor) and a single phase of 220 ±5% and exceptionally up to standard grounding wires.

In the main color sorter machine;

Above 20A air (switchblade is not recommended) has to be equipped with a source of power inlet. It should be 1.0 KW-4.0KW (include heating 500W/Piece).

Connect an independent and well-grounded earth wire to the color sorter machine.

Drill the grounding terminal at least 50cm in case of interference and thunder stroke.

Additional Equipment That Comes With a Color Sorter

Auxiliary, in a layman’s language, refers to something extra that can help in the operation of services so that they can run smoothly.

In a color sorting machine, the auxiliary equipment is very vital because they ensure that specific functions have been conducted maximally.

The auxiliary equipment and the main parts of a color sorter machine are interdependent. They work hand in hand to give out the best results. Some of its examples include;

  • Piping system
  • Air compressor system

It is important to note that auxiliary equipment is fashioned to suit the different types of color sorters in the market.                                           

Piping System Installation

The user of the machine ought to ensure that this system is well put in place. It is one system that is used to avoid the congestion of dust in the machine.

When installing it, ensure that the ash intake valve and the air pumping system is connected with a 100mm metal tube.

Air Compressor System

Have an oil free and water free compressor linked with an air dryer. At the joints in the middle of the air passage inlet and the dryer and that between the dryer and the air compressor shall be linked with Dg 25mm galvanized pipes.

Chapter 6: Maintenance of Color Sorters

Maintenance makes Machines work better.

Just as you brush your teeth every morning and night to maintain the sparkle it deserves, so should you manage a color sorter that you have invested in.

No one wishes to buy something and then leaves it to rot like a coffin that can never be re-used.

To maintain the flicker of a color sorter, the owner, or rather, those that use it for sorting should maintain it so that it can last longer.

The main reason for the maintenance is to have it to be used for as long as the money you invested in it still pinches your left ear, make it worth the while.

Storage, Usage, and Maintenance of the Color sorters and Its Auxiliary Facilities

  1. Ensure that you use the air guns to clean up the channel and sorting boxes as well as the test ejector. Take note of the air gun when using it to clean the sorting box. Let it not blow toward the direction of the nozzle
  2. Inspect the signal indication with utmost keenness. This is inclusive of the work instructions, alarm indications, and the ejector action case
  3. You have to examine the normalcy of the air compressor, air pressure, oil temperature, and sound any time you are using the color sorter. Ensure that you also discard the water of compressor at least thrice. 
  4. When you are done with the business of the day, and it is time to shut the color sorter down, power off the power button, air compressor switch and then drain off the water in the air compressor.
  5. Make use of the air gun to clean the ejector, channel and the sediment inside the sorting box
  6. Again, you should use the air gun to clean inside the machine, the vibrator, hopper, and Ash scraping device
  7. Your weekly routine should consist of the following; Checking the filter and the level of cleanliness of the wiper brush
  8. Ensure that you replace the compressor oil once after every six months
  9. Store the machine in a room that has an Air Conditioner for cooling of the color sorter

The beauty of something is determined by how often or the effort you put in cleaning it.

The Dirty will decline the working effective

You may argue that a color sorter needs not to be beautiful but would you appreciate putting your grains in an ugly and dirty color sorter and still sell the product to people so that they can consume it?

A dirty color sorter reduces its effectiveness, and it can easily break down when it has dirt. Cleaning it helps you identify any likely issues that might affect it when you are in the process of using it.  Avoid using wool, scraper or acid on the machine to put a stop to pollution-election materials

How to clean the color sorter machine?

You should put into consideration the surface of the vibrator special parts, channels and lenses when cleaning the color sorter

Remember to clean the glass of the sorting box using a soft cloth moistened with alcohol to wipe its interiors and exteriors. Alternatively, you may need a soft fabric again, dampened with alcohol put between the cleaning brush and glass and wipe the glass box for even more fulfilling results

When cleaning the sorting box lamp, ensure you disassemble it then use a dampened soft cloth with alcohol to clean it

Use the air gun that is in the sorting box to blow dust and other unwanted materials while cleaning the camera lens

Use a clean, soft cloth to make the channel neat by cleaning it accordingly this can be done to the wipe cylinder guide as well

To clean the background board, you need to open the sorting box and use a soft cloth moistened with alcohol meant for cleaning then gently wipe it.


Chapter 7: What to Consider When Buying a Color Sorter

Knows What You Want

Before buying a color sorter, or generally anything, you have to go with some predetermined mind that will help you go for what you want.

We all have different preferences, tastes, financial ability et al. So, you have to do your homework well before going to purchase a color sorter. It could be a necessary thing as what type of color sorter do I need and why?

Once you answer such questions, then you are good to go to any manufacturer or seller that deals with the distribution of the different types of color sorters in the market.

Factors to Put in Mind

A background check of the distributor is no mean feat, and it is very important in as much as some people may overlook it.

It all depends on how branded is this person that is selling a color sorter to you.

Because of this, we will mention the factors to consider when buying a color sorter but in line with pricing.

  • Material type of the color sorter- the Sino-Swiss micro vision color sorter, for instance, is used interchangeably in the industrial and agricultural sector. It could be used to sort grains perfectly or some of the products like plastics, minerals, and jewelry 
  • Model of color sorter- the China-Switzerland micro-vision manufacturer designs a variety of color sorters in line with the amount of material output selected by the customers especially on the number of channels and the kind of material they need. The more the channels in a color sorter, its price becomes higher.
  • Customized color sorters- these are the type that the customer directs the manufacturer to come up with one that suits their liking. Because you as the customer is instructing the manufacturer and everything is done to favor you want.
  • Also, you should consider the type of product that you wish to deal with. That will help select a color sorter that you will have an easy time to use.
  • One other obvious reason is the warrant that the company you are buying fro will give you. Ensure that it is a reasonable one especially if you are not sure if the product will be long-lasting or not.

Conclusion

This guide has given highlights of what a color sorter is. When you decided to purchase one, have in mind what you need and ensure you do an analysis of your market and know what type of color sorter can be used in a variety of products. Have in mind the pros and cons of the chute and belt type color sorter. With that, you will be able to get that which your color sorting business deserves.