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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SORTING AGRICULTURAL MATERIALS FOR DEFECTS USING IMAGING AND PHYSICAL METHODS Title: Low Cost Real-Time Sorting of in Shell Pistachio Nuts from Kernels

Authors
item Haff, Ronald
item Jackson, Eric

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2008
Publication Date: August 31, 2008
Citation: Haff, R.P., Jackson, E.S. 2008. Low Cost Real-Time Sorting of in Shell Pistachio Nuts from Kernels. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 24(4):487-490.

Interpretive Summary: A device for high speed sorting of pistachio nuts with (in shell) and without (kernels) shells is reported. Results show 95% accuracy in removing kernels from the in shell nuts with no false positive (in shell nuts classified as kernels) results out of 1000 kernels tested. Testing with 1000 each of in shell, shell halves, and kernels resulted in an overall error of about 3.3%, roughly twice the overall error rate achieved using a commercially available sorting device. The cost of materials for the sorter reported here was less than $500 US, versus as much as $100,000 for commercially available sorters. The new sorter thus has approximately double the error rate while achieving a roughly twenty fold savings in cost compared to currently used equipment. Future modifications to the design may reduce the error rate while adding very little to the cost. Since existing sorters can be trained to sort a variety of product streams, implementation of the new device in pistachio plants could free up machines for other sorting tasks, thus reducing the overall cost of sorting the pistachio crop.

Technical Abstract: A high speed sorter for separating pistachio nuts with (in shell) and without (kernels) shells is reported. Testing indicates 95% accuracy in removing kernels from the in shell stream with no false positive results out of 1000 kernels tested. Testing with 1000 each of in shell, shell halves, and kernels resulted in an overall error of about 3.3%, roughly twice the overall error rate achieved using a commercially available dual band NIR-VIS sorting device. The cost of materials for the sorter reported here was less than $500 US, versus as much as $100,000 for commercially available sorters. The new sorter thus has approximately double the error rate while achieving a roughly twenty fold savings in cost compared to currently used equipment. Future modifications to the design may reduce the error rate while adding very little to the cost. Since existing sorters can be trained to sort a variety of product streams, implementation of the new device in pistachio plants could free up machines for other sorting tasks, thus reducing the overall cost of sorting the pistachio crop.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014