Eyeing labor savings for tortillas

by Shane Whitaker
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The days of people standing near the packaging lines and pulling out cripples or out-of-spec tortillas with long-handled paddles appear to be coming to an end. Vision inspection systems are becoming more common and can work at greater speeds than a couple of people with paddles.

Arr-Tech, Yakima, WA, partners with EyePro System, Trento, Italy, to produce its Q-Bake vision inspection systems for tortillas. “They provide us with the computing power and programming as well as special lighting, and then we manufacture the rest of the system,” said Kevin Pearson, Arr-Tech sales manager.

In fact, Arr-Tech produces three different models depending on the level of sophistication required by the manufacturers. Two of the models feature black-and-white cameras to monitor such characteristics as size, shape, doubles or folds, which are all issues that can cause problems at the counter/stacker. While the most basic model will record data about the product it inspects, the mid-range model offers much greater data collection information. It also offers a full-color vision system that might be suitable for a company producing colored wraps or tortillas, according to Mr. Pearson.

Lawrence Equipment Systems, South El Monte, CA, produces the Accuview 3, a vision inspection machine specifically designed tortilla lines. It provides complete feedback to shim the vacuum plate at the tortilla press for an unprecedented level of accuracy, according to the company.
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