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Key Technology Introduces Equipment to Improve Wine Grape Receiving Operations

Posted on November 30, 2010

Key Technology introduces its family of Crush Pad Equipment Solutions for wineries. Modules, which can be utilized separately or configured as an integrated system, include a Receiving Hopper, Cluster Sorting Table, Post-Destemmer Sorting Table with MOG (material other than grape) separating system, and color sorters. These stainless steel systems help wineries improve their product quality while redirecting labor to other tasks.

Key’s Crush Pad Equipment Solutions enable wineries to better control the quality of must going to their fermenting tanks by more effectively removing any unwanted objects such as insects, skins, raisins, “shot” berries, stem jacks, petioles, leaves, and other MOG from the product flow. Gentle handling and improved sanitation further enhance product quality.

The modules are available in a range of standard sizes that handle from one to 10 tons of product per hour. The mobile modules feature locking caster wheels, leveling screws, and adjustable-height legs for easy repositioning.

“At Key, we are building on our 62 years as an innovative designer of world-class food processing equipment to bring affordable, high quality crush pad equipment to wineries,” noted Bret Larreau, Product Manager at Key Technology. “Our crush pad systems, which are installed in several Northwest wineries, are hugely successful, and we are now expanding our distribution to wineries worldwide. Each Crush Pad Solution module is designed to achieve superior performance at a competitive price to deliver the greatest value to customers.”

Grape Receiving and Inspection Platform (GRIP)
Key’s Grape Receiving and Inspection Platform (GRIP) combines a Receiving Hopper with a Vibratory Cluster Sorting Table, resulting in an efficient and labor-saving process.

The Receiving Hopper accepts the entire bin at once, unlike conventional bin tippers, which require operators to periodically actuate the tipping or manually pull product from the bin to the sorting table. The hopper’s unique design allows metering of clusters without bridging or plugging, and it frees the operator to handle other tasks.

The Cluster Sorting Table features an adjustable speed control that optimizes the feed rate from the hopper to display product evenly for thorough inspection. The uniform flow of product evenly feeds destemming equipment to further improve line performance and product quality.

Key’s Cluster Sorting Table is also available as a stand-alone sorting table for wineries that already have receiving equipment.

Post-Destemmer Sorting Table
Key’s Post-Destemmer Sorting Table presents fruit evenly for effective hand-sorting while its integrated MOG separation system automatically removes insects, loose skins, raisins, “shot” berries, stem jacks, petioles, leaves, and other MOG. This automated size sorting capability reduces the labor required for manual berry sorting and improves product quality. A range of screen sizes enable this sorting table to be changed in less than one minute to effectively sort different fruit varieties. The MOG collection tray features a perforated bottom that leads to a drain hose that allows juices to be directed to the must pump intake.

Vibratory Sorting Tables
Key’s five year limited warranty is standard with the Cluster Sorting Table and Post-Destemmer Sorting Table, which belong to Key’s proven Iso-Flo® family of vibratory conveyors. This industry-leading warranty guarantees superior reliability and product performance.

Compared to most vibratory motion sorting tables that typically operate at 300 strokes per minute and quickly cause eye fatigue among operators, Key’s vibratory sorting tables run at a much higher frequency – for example 900 strokes per minute – causing product to glide smoothly and virtually eliminate eyestrain.

Key’s stainless steel vibratory sorting tables resist bacteria growth and clean up in minutes unlike cloth-backed belt conveying sorting tables that can harbor bacteria and be hard to clean.

Optical Sorting Systems
Wineries looking to maximize quality control while minimizing labor are increasingly interested in fully automating inspection with the use of optical sorting systems, which have been widely adopted in many other food processing market segments. Key’s Optyx® 3000 features color cameras and image processing technology, which identify each object’s color, size, and shape to detect and automatically remove MOG and other user-defined objects from the product stream. The user can easily adjust the optical sorter to preserve only healthy, whole berries or also preserve crushed berries and stem jacks, as desired.

For more information on Key’s Crush Pad Solutions, visit

About Key Technology, Inc.
Key Technology, an ISO-9001 certified company, is a leading designer and manufacturer of process automation systems, integrated electro-optical inspection and sorting systems, and processing systems. Key® systems help processors to improve quality, increase yield, and reduce cost. With worldwide sales representation, the company maintains demonstration and testing facilities at its headquarters and manufacturing divisions in Walla Walla, Washington, USA, and at Key Technology BV in Beusichem, the Netherlands. The company's common stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol: KTEC.

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