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Buhler Sortex Rises To The Sunflower Challenge


Sunflower seed processors worldwide switch to SORTEX Z+ to remove multiple and hard to identify defects in one pass.

Choosing an optical sorter involves a complex analysis of performance, cost, reliability and technical support. But pride of place goes to performance, which is why Buhler Sortex is particularly proud of the Sortex Z+ track record in the sunflower sector.

“If a hypothetical competitive test involved rejecting 100 black sunflower seeds from two tons of white sunflower seeds, performance wouldn’t be an issue because every candidate could do it,” says Nick Reynolds, Application Specialist. “The major challenge with sunflower seeds is that the flaws, impurities and hazardous foreign material that need to be rejected are especially difficult to detect.”

The SORTEX Z+ delivers unparalleled performance in identifying colour flaws such as kernels in any shade of yellow. Pale yellow is particularly hard to detect but the SORTEX Z+ removes the entire colour range. It is equally efficient in removing white sunflower shell, which is the same colour as sunflower kernel, and thin, clear glass shards, which are especially hard to detect.

With undecorticated seeds, the SORTEX Z+ can also identify and reject sclerotia, which form on the stem and leaves of the sunflower, blend with the black shell of the seed and are not easily seen by the naked eye as defects.

Importantly, insect and frost damage seeds – and all other defects – are removed in one pass.

These vital characteristics have led to Buhler Sortex’s recognition as the global leader in efficient sunflower seed processing. In key markets in China, the USA and Europe, a growing number of processors are replacing competitor sorters with the SORTEX Z+.

Processors such as the Industrial Trading Group, a Polish company with an operation in the Ukraine, can compare results achieved by the SORTEX Z+ directly with a competitor. “It is clear,” says Bogusz Jagodzinski, President, “that the SORTEX Z+ accept is cleaner and the reject is more concentrated. Consequently, we have opened new quality outlets such as the bakery market.”

In China, processors have the same experience. Currently 25 installations have been completed and both Dalian Grand Foods Ltd and Sunshine Produce Limited, 2 of the country’s largest exporters, have recognised the vastly improved performance delivered by the SORTEX Z+ when compared with a range of competitors’ solutions.

In the USA, Don Uglow, Buhler Sortex’s N. American Accounts Manager, confirms outstanding results achieved by leading processor Dahlgren which has led to a huge increase in enquiries from the Red River Valley region of Minnesota, North Dakota and Manitoba. “I’m all too aware of American dental costs. Sclerotia are very hard and can break teeth. Eliminating them is vital – and Buhler Sortex simply does it better.”

From its HQ in Germany, Tampico Trading GmbH, sources sunflower seeds from five continents to supply the European bakery industry. According to Helmut Stummvoll, Tampico’s Managing Director, the quality of sunflower seeds processed by SORTEX Z+ sorters is so consistently high that he recommends that partners in China, Poland and Bulgaria use them. “We also like to hear from Buhler Sortex about new installations so that we can contact these companies to do business,” he said.

Nick Reynolds is confident that Buhler Sortex will continue to attract a growing number of processor partners in the sector. “Exceptional performance of the SORTEX Z+ becomes clear in the particularly demanding environment of sunflower seed processing. The market is driven by a demand for quality and we are uniquely able to satisfy it.”

Note to editors:

Buhler AG is a global leader in process engineering, especially technologies for producing foods and engineering materials. Buhler sells into more than 140 countries and has some 6,900 employees worldwide. In China, Buhler employs more than 1,400 employees.

Buhler’s business unit Buhler Sortex developed the first sorters for the agricultural industry and it is now the world’s leading manufacturer of optical sorting machines. Its clients, in over 140 countries, are involved in every type of agricultural commodity; fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, coffee & tea, beans & pulses as well as snack foods, confectionery, breakfast cereals and non food products such as plastics. They rely on Buhler Sortex to enable them to meet consumer quality demands, safeguard their brand image and increase their revenues. Buhler Sortex do this by adding value and guaranteeing consistent, high quality produce.

SORTEX Z+ optical sorters are available in one, two, three and four chute versions with capacities that range from 1 tph to 10 tph to suit the requirements of each sunflower seed processor. The advanced technologies employed recognise and eliminate spot defects, colour defects such as pale yellow, kernels damaged by insect and frost, split and immature kernels as well as foreign material such as thin clear glass, sclerotia, shell, stones, sticks, wood and plastics. It does this with an efficiency that minimizes waste while delivering the highest yields, within a very small footprint.


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