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Belgium: BEST – unique technology for sorting lettuce

Since the introduction of the first BEST sorter into the fresh market, more and more customers have chosen BEST as their prime supplier. BEST, (Belgian Electronic Sorting Technology), is an innovative company specializing in Research & Development, manufacturing and installing sorting machinery for the food and non-food industry. Separating foreign objects, discolorations or imperfections is BEST’s corporate objective. Thanks to a wide range of technologies (laser, camera, LED, X-Ray, or a combination) BEST is able to resolve many sorting challenges.
Successfully sorting lettuce was, is and always will be a great challenge
BEST‘s sorters for lettuce are very efficient because of their patented FLUO technology. This technique is based on the fluorescent characteristics of the product.  It creates a larger contrast between good and bad product, obtaining very high sorting efficiencies, along with very low false reject levels.  FLUO technology is used to sort out products that differ in chlorophyll level compared to the good products, like peas, green beans, spinach, lettuce, etc., that contain a lot of chlorophyll. The objects that do not contain chlorophyll (the defects in other words) can be: stones, plastics, glass, wood, metal, rotten spots, etc.

When sorting lettuce, a dense defect finder can also be used. It gives the possibility to look at the density of lettuce and typical high-density defects. Defects like stones and metal pieces that may be covered by a lettuce leaf are easily detected with this sensor, and milliseconds later they are rejected by the machine.
The possibility of combining different technologies allows BEST to offer a wide range of defect detection capabilities in all types of lettuce; foreign material detection in e.g. multicolor lettuce mixes such as Spring Mix or high efficient core detection in processed lettuce, such as Iceberg or Romaine.

The sorting solution for lettuce processors is depending on their line capacity, sorting priority and budget - from a GeniusTM belt sorter with camera, possibly combined with laser to the HeliusTM free-fall double-sided laser sorters, all available with the unique FLUO technology and in different widths.
BEST has never built the same machine twice because no production line is identical.  The company always designs a sorting machine that fits the exact sorting needs of the customer.

BEST has taken the position of leadership in the fresh cut market and even developed a sorting system that in just a couple of years has become a standard in the industry.  They achieved this honor not just because of its superior technology, but by combining technologies, customer service and support.  A real measure of the success is that BEST customers are returning to BEST year after year to help create a safer product and a more efficient production process. They also allow BEST to organize reference visits in their production sites with other potential customers.

Bjorn Weyts
Best Sorting

Publication date: 7/14/2010


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