COLOR SORTER GUIDE BG
Table of Contents

Are you looking for color sorters to enhance your business? Or need a sorting machine for your food processing? This article will be your ultimate guide in buying a color sorter from China.
You’ll learn everything about the color sorter. Let’s take an insight at the table of the content below:

The links herein will give you some of the places you can get great deals for color sorters.

On our website, you will find a detailed description of different types of color sorters.

Chapter 1. Introduce

1.1 What Is a Color Sorter?

A color sorter is also called a color sorting machine or an optical sorting machine. It is an artificial intelligence (AI) sorting machine to sort granular materials. You’ll always find them in food processing. It could separate the materials by color, size, shape, and type. 

A color sorter features advanced optics with precision electronics to classify solids of 0.1mm to 100mm. By integrating the advanced CCD, the image capturing process makes effective sorting. 

Furthermore, the pneumatic ejection device helps you remove strong-headed impurities or defectives intelligently. 

You can even differentiate the types of materials using an infrared lens. For instance, it can distinguish between PET and PP under the plastic recycling field.

This machine is a game-changer in the food processing industry as it enhances sorting efficiency and lowers labor costs.

color sorters
Two types of color sorters

Chapter 2: Types of Color Sorters

When buying a color sorter, you’ll find varieties of machine types in the markets. You might be confused about deciding the best type for your business. In this chapter, we will explain everything you need to know about the color sorter types.

2.1 Belt-Type VS Chute-Type

It is common to divide the color sorter based on the machine construction. The two main types of color sorters are the belt-type and the chute-type.

The chute-type sorter is widely used for all kinds of common materials, and it is the most economical one.

The belt-type sorter can sort all materials from the chute-type sorter. On top of that, you can use it for crisp and brittle items. Its versatility has led to higher prices in them.

Unless you want to sort specific material; otherwise, we will recommend the chute-type sorter for most situations. 

Belt-Type Color SorterChute-Type Color Sorter
Moves on the beltsMoves on the chutes
Stationary materials reduce the broken rateHigh broken rate due to collisions
No specification settings neededNeeds specification setting in advance
(Product size and shape)
Efficient & less complicatedPossible less accuracy and complication
Higher in priceMore affordable
Belt type color sorter VS Chute-type color sorter

2.2 InGaAs VS CCD Technology

In this section, we will talk about the two technologies used for color sorting sensors.

InGaAs Color Sorter

InGaAs color sorter is also called the infrared color sorter by adding an infrared camera on top of the CCD color sorter. It has an alloy to make high sensitivity sensors with over 900 – 1,700nm wavelength range, some up to 2,500nm. 

By utilizing near-infrared (NIR) technology, InGaAs color sorter can make precise detection by studying light reflection and color registration. 

Besides featuring the basic functions of a CCD color sorter, it also has infrared sorting capability. With better visibility, you can use it to detect defective items for better visibility, even if they are the same color as good products. 

InGaAs color sorter is very popular in the plastic recycling sector. After shattering the plastic, InGaAs technology is highly effective for sorting plastics by their chemical compositions.

CCD Color Sorter

On the other hand, CCD cameras reflect visible light into data to send either “accept” or “reject” signals. Each sensor has millions of small photosensitive panels to capture red, green, or blue colors separately. 

After the captures, CCD determines the size, color, and shape to make sorting decisions. You’ll find it effective as it has high image quality with low noise, besides customizable parameters.

InGaAs (Indium Gallium Arsenide)CCD (Charge-coupled Device)
Sort by light reflection and color registrationHigh-quality image
High sensitivity up to 2,500nm wavelengthLow noise
Sort good and bad items of the same color accuratelyAccurate in detecting color, shape, and size
Features the basic functions of CCD

2.3 Common Types Available in the Market

Let’s take a look at the types of color sorters in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Most of them come in either the belt-type or the chute-type color sorter.

1. Rice Color Sorter

You can also call it the rice sorting machine. It identifies rice based on the dissimilarity in the optical properties of rice.

This sorting machine makes use of optoelectronic technology in the rice. It sorts out different colors to enhance the quality of rice and remove impurities. The good news is that you can use it to sort both rice and grains like millet by color.                                    

2. Grain Color Sorter

Grain color sorter is a different type of color sorter as it uses close to three wavelengths. Still, it has cameras that are at a whole new level of innovation. 

It uniquely separates the ordinary, shading, arranging, and remote materials. As a result, the end products are better in outlook and quality.

The remarkable thing about a grain color sorter is the adaptable broadband LED and Expansive Range IR lighting. They can notice the defects in the visible wavelengths and the infra-red range. You can use it to sort grains, wheat, corn, and oats from unwanted materials.https://www.youtube.com/embed/h87TvcWy1_I?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque

3. Peanut Color Sorter

It uses a very high speed, high precision 2048 technology, and a unique high-resolution lens. It rules out the use of double-sided election work. It is efficient and can sort any type of nuts.

4. Seed Sorting Machine

Seeds are somewhat complicated as they almost look alike. Still, there is a slight distinction that identifies them according to their name. 

Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds are examples you may wish to sort using a seed sorting machine.

The seed color sorter works according to the requirements of product yield, defect impurity, and screening. You can remove any foreign content or what you may call impurities using this equipment.

5. Bean Color Sorter

It is a multi-purpose kind of color sorter. It can sort different agricultural products that are in the bean family or a far-fetched type of product. These products could be soybeans, corn, peanuts, pepper, chickpeas, to name just but a few.

You can watch this video as an example of a soybean color sorter

6. Cereal Color Sorter

A cereal color sorter sorts cereals in general, some of which we have mentioned above. It classifies cereals according to their colors. Apart from that, this machine also ensures no unwanted material paves its way to the cereal.

7. Tea Color Sorter

Now, this is a unique one compared to the other types of color sorters. It uses a high-resolution CCD optical sensor for greater quality tea leaves assortment under optoelectronic equipment.

8. Dried Food and Seafood Color Sorter

These color sorters separate impurities and differentiate the colors and shapes of the materials in need. The dried leaves could contain unwanted stones. Also, the seafood might come with some sea waste. 

That means you will have to handle these foods separately, and it is only a color sorter that can help in this case.

The optical technology is vital in separating what we’d say – separating the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad. Some foods use the belt-type color sorter, for instance, dried garlic, dried fruits, or dry vegetables.

We also have the shrimp color sorter that sorts any kind of peel in the shrimp and removes them. It can identify and remove other shrimp parts, such as the legs, eyes, and shells. Learn how a shrimp color sorter works here on Youtube. 

9. Plastic Color Sorter

The plastic color sorter machine is helpful in the separation of myriad forms of plastic. Whether in its original form or recycled, you can still use the plastic for color detection.

This sorter is applicable in the PC, ABS, and PA, PS, PET, PP to separate tiny particles in them. 

10. Industrial Color Sorter

This color sorter can purify plastics, jewels, pebbles, metallic potassium, ores, etc. It uses photoelectric technology to check through the particles of a material to separate the wanted from the unwanted. 

The purpose is to improve quality and do away with any contamination that may arise. You can use it for shaping the minerals, and it can tell what kind of mineral is in for purification.

This type of color sorter has very high-resolution imaging technology. That is why you can use it to take several images of the various products. You can even use it to tell whatever color your product should be.

11. Spices Color Sorter

There are quite a few spices in the world market. Each of those has different tastes as well as colors. It is not strange to find spices of the same color yet in different flavors and uses.

With the use of an optical solution, it sorts to make high-quality spices. This sorter gives each spice their unique color and taste when they finally go to the market. 

Some of the spices include mustard, nutmeg, clove, cumin, and others.  At the end of processing, these spices are impurities-free and danger-free for human consumption.

Chapter 3. Working Principle

3.1   Color Sorter Sorting System

A color sorter uses high-resolution CCD optical sensors to sort materials by color. The mechanism is simple: The raw materials will slide down the machine. When there is a different-colored material, sensors will detect, and the solenoid valve will separate it. 

Color Sorter Working Principle

Color Sorter Working Principle

A color sorter uses photoelectric technology to sort out mismatched colors in granular materials. In general, a color sorter consists of the following:

  • A feeding system
  • An optical detection system
  • A signal processing system
  • A separation execution system

The two types of color sorters are the belt-type and the chute-type. The belt-type sorter processes material more statically, thus breaking smaller ratios of materials. 

On the other hand, materials slide down vertically on the chute-type sorter, causing more collisions and frictions.

3.2 How does a color sorter work?

You might be curious about the deeper mechanism of a color sorter. Let’s put it in a simple way of explanation. 

The Working Principle

The CCD optical sensors can determine the color depth and light transmittances of the materials. It takes pictures of them, then compares the extent of light change. 

The defects will show an amplitude beyond the set value. In this case, the sorter will send signals to remove them. 

The Process of A Color Sorter

When the materials enter the feeding system, it moves via vibration to the observation area. 

In the sorting room, the optical detection system will do the work under the action of LED lights. The CCD camera will capture images to identify whether to accept or reject the materials.

If there are impurities, the sensor sends a signal via the signal processing system. The solenoid valve receives the signal and will blow the defects into the waste outlet hopper. Finally, the qualified items will fall into the finished product hopper.

3.3 Principal Technical Indicators for a Color Sorter

These are indicators that guide you on the usefulness of a color sorter. Take a look at how color sorters work in various industries and the importance of their presence.

1. Processing Capacity

It defines the number of products you can process in a specific timeline. The deciding factor includes: 

The speed of the servo system

If the servo system works fast, the speed of the conveyor belt increases too. As a result, the color sorter processes the materials speedier.

The maximum speed of the conveyor belt (For belt-type color sorter)

The speed of the conveyor belt determines the output. The faster it is, the higher the results. 

The number of impurities in the raw material

Fewer impurities in the materials also allow faster processes.

It all boils down to the accuracy that you want at the end of the day. In this context, high accuracy production takes more time.

2. Selection Accuracy

A selection accuracy is the ratio of selected impurities to the total amount of pollutants. Factors affecting the selection accuracy include:

Moving speed of the conveyor belt

A slower conveyor belt consumes more time between adjacent impurities. It allows adequate time for the servo system to reject contaminants for better color sorting. 

The purity level of the raw materials

The servo system’s design limits the accuracy of the color selection. The color accuracy will reduce when there are more than two types of impurities. Still, its selection structure works better than a single one. 

3. Carryover Ratio

It is the ratio of separated impurities to the number of ordinary materials. You can adjust it using the actuator.

A massive volume of products affects the selection rate and the processing capacity. On the contrary, low settings will result in plenty of waste. It will lead to reprocessing for use in other ways.

In a nutshell, one has to take heed to the factors below when using the color sorters. It is also essential to have concurrent monitoring during the process.

  • The processing volume
  • Color selection Accuracy
  • Output

3.3 Why Are Color Sorters Essential?  

A color sorter is a revolutionary invention to speed up industrial processing. Without it, there would be many harmful impurities causing issues to food safety. Besides, you might find mismatched-colored granular materials in your end product. Even worse, factories have to hire more manual labor, and it will be challenging to sort materials by human nature.

While there are other machines like grain sorters and gravity separators, many still prefer color sorters for some reason. Here is some info for your better understandings:

Grain Sorters are usually for large-scale sorting. However, their functions are often limited to sorting just grains. They are also more expensive to sort seeds by germination and seeds vigor. 

Besides, there are also gravity separators to sort seeds and grains. These machines usually classify similar gravity materials by their gravities to enhance quality and remove impurities. The disadvantages are that they are more mechanically complex, pricier, and require a clear air source. 

To sum it up, color sorters stand out among various types of sorting machines in the market. The primary factor is their versatility, ease of use, simple maintenance, and economical price. We should embrace the technological benefits of color sorters for the following reasons:

  1. You can use it to separate different colors of raw materials.
  2. You can use it to detect wanted or unwanted colors in agricultural or industrial products.
  3. In diamonds, for instance, color sorters are used to check for their purity.
  4. Your food safety requires separating the impurities from the consumable end products.

More Reasons

  1. As a manufacturer, color sorters help evade legal action for you. It removes impurities from your agricultural edibles. The Food Safety Act 1990 states that you should set measures to remove contamination from food. A color sorter is very vital in this case. They say it is better to be safe than sorry.
  2. It is essential for general improvisation of the raw materials. The end products tend to look better than they were before.
  3. Ore color sorters are beneficial by sorting without adding any harmful chemicals.
  4. For minerals, a color sorting machine helps in reducing the cost of production.

Chapter 4: Applications

4.1 Sorting Methods

Sorting is how we classify foods into various categories according to their measurable physical properties. It is a process to ensure consistent quality in the end products. Here are the four common physical properties we use for sorting foods:

Sort By Color

Color sorters are intensively effective in sorting materials of different colors. Rice, grains, millets, and cereals are examples you might need to sort based on colors. 

With a color sorter, you’ll be able to separate them by color, besides removing impurities. Hence, the end products will be better in outlook and quality. 

Sort By Sizes

It is prevalent to sort foods by size. In general, a color sorter can sort products by sizes of 0.1mm to 100mm. 

End products in a uniform size indicate good quality control. We can often find products sold differently based on size, for instance, red beans of different sizes. 

Sort By Shape

Sorting by shape is very useful to classify food like tea leaves and seafood. You can set the parameters you want and let the machine do the work. 

A good example is sorting green tea leaves from the oolong tea as they are of different shapes. You’ll save enormous time compared to doing manual sorting. 

Sort By Types

In some cases, you might need to sort materials like nuts, seeds, and beans by type. To classify them efficiently and pick only the healthy ones, you can use a color sorter. It helps you classify them in a short time without needing much labor cost.  

4.2 Color Sorter for Agricultures 

The agricultural industry is amongst the significant users of color sorters. A color sorter can sort agricultural products like rice, wheat, and corn with a high-sensitivity color sensor. It is helpful to separate the defects from the good ones based on your requirements. 

Many granular and non-granular agricultural products use color sorters. Let’s see the most common ones:

  • Rice
  • Tea
  • Coarse cereals like wheat, corn, peanut, beans, sesame, seeds

In this article, we are mainly discussing agriculture seeds processing. 

Grain/Rice Sorting

Grain or rice color sorter is often used to sort rice and grains like wheat, corn, oats, and other grains. You can use it to overcome food safety by sorting grain or rice lesions, impurities, breakage, and even moldy issues. 

With a grain of rice color sorter, you can cut manual sorting costs and save time producing high-quality products.

Seeds Sorting

If you need to eliminate impurities from seeds, a seed sorting machine is your ideal solution. You can use it to differentiate sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and even herbage seeds or vegetable seeds. 

Choosing a full seed is very important in seed sorting, indicating that it is healthy. You can also detect unwanted colors, seed defects, and foreign materials with a seed color sorter. 

As a result, you’ll get constant quality seeds for either business or farming. 

4.3 Color Sorter For Other Industries

Aside from farm products, there is a wide range of color sorting machines according to the type of materials. For instance, the plastic color sorters, salt color sorters, or multi-functional color sorters. 

You can control quality, enhance production speed, and even cut labor costs using a color sorter. It generates a high return on investment with only one-time investment and low maintenance costs. Definitely worth the price!

Nuts Sorting

Nuts color sorter is mainly used to separate the nutshell and the fruits. It saves a lot of sorting costs and time compared to manual sortings. 

Thi machine can sort almost all nuts, including cashew, peanuts, walnuts, and others. 

It uses high-resolution cameras to differentiate nuts quickly based on types and quality. You can even set visual parameters to get the output you want.

Tea/Leaves Sorting

To enhance the quality of tea leaves or dried leaves, we often need to remove impurities and sort them based on sizes and colors. With a sorting machine, you can now sort green tea leaves from black tea quickly. 

Furthermore, it helps remove stems, seeds, sands, glass, and others from tea leaves or dehydrated vegetables. 

In short, a tea sorting machine is a game-changing solution to sort and grade your tea or leaves in a mass volume.

Plastic Sorting

A plastic sorting machine is widespread in the plastic recycling industry. It helps sort plastic flakes and pellets by their color and types. 

InGaAs Color Sorter is usually widespread in the plastic recycling industry.  It could separate plastic flakes and pellets based on their color and types. 

With just one InGaAs color sorter, you can sort by color or plastic types, including PP, PE, PVC, PET, etc. It is incredibly beneficial to help you increase accuracy and efficiency in plastic sorting.

4.4 Sorting Objects List

Let’s learn more about the list of objects we can sort using color sorting machines:

Rice SortingWhite Rice, Black Rice, Red Rice, Sorghum, Millet, Glutinous Rice, Raw Rice, Steamed Rice, Boiled & Parboiled Rice
Grains & Seeds SortingCorn, Wheat, Peanuts, Beans, Soybeans, Broad Beans, Mung Beans, Peas, Red Beans, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame, Coffee, Lotus Seed, Flaxseed, Rapeseed
Nuts SortingCashew, Walnut, Dehydrated Fruit, Macadamia, Pistachios, Brazil Nuts, Pepitas, Pecans, Almonds, Hazelnuts
Leafs & Tea SortingTea, Tobacco, Dehydrated Vegetables (to name just a few in this category)
Seafood SortingShrimp Skin, Shrimp
Plastic SortingPC, PP, ABS, PET, mainly used for recycling.
Mining SortingOre, Stone, Quartz, Powder
Spices SortingPepper, Chili, Garlic, Nutmeg, Clove, Cumin, Mustard, Poppyseed

Chapter 5: How to Install a Color Sorter

After you receive the color sorter machine, the next problem is how to install it. First of all, you need to check all essential tools and accessories for the installation. Here is the article about all accessories you need when installing a color sorter.

5.1 Step by Step Guidelines to Install a Color Sorter

Installation of any machine is easier said than done. It needs much expertise to put it up in the correct way.

To be good at it, you have to follow instructions or watch how you can do it first hand. Thanks to technology, we can watch YouTube to understand better if we are far from the manufacturer. Here is one such video that shows the illustration of a color sorter.

It is essential to install the color sorter on a platform that is 1.8 feet off the ground. This comes with the installation of its base angle. You should adjust its levelness with a level gauge by approximately 2/1000 mm or below.

Besides, you should leave at least 50cm spaces on the side for machine operation, patrol, and maintenance. The upper material inlet should correspond to the inlet pipe, with an adjusting panel of flow rate and storage box on it. Also, note that the panel and storage box should not press on the inlet hopper. It is to prevent the reduction of the sorting effect due to vibration.

For safety precautions, ensure that you have the lifting rings of the color sorter that can be trusted. You should also fix the frame with the lanyard to be void of accidents when lifting the machine.

5.2 Electrical Installation of a Color Sorter Machine

Make sure the power supply of the AC three-phase is 380± 5% (for purposes of the air compressor) and a single phase of 220 ±5%. It should also be exceptionally up to standard grounding wires.

In the main color sorter machine, above 20A air has to be equipped with a source of power inlet. Switchblade is not recommended in this case.  It should be 1.0 KW-4.0KW, including heating of 500W/Piece.

Connect an independent and well-grounded earth wire to the color sorter machine. Then, drill the grounding terminal at least 50cm in case of interference and thunder stroke.

5.3 Additional Equipment That Comes With a Color Sorter

In a layman’s language, auxiliary refers to something extra that can help operate services. People use it to ensure things have a smooth run.

In a color sorting machine, the auxiliary equipment is very vital. It ensures maximal handling of the specific functions.

The auxiliary equipment and the main parts of a color sorter machine are interdependent. They work hand in hand to give out the best results. Some of its examples include;

  • Piping system
  • Air compressor system

It is important to note that auxiliary equipment is fashioned to suit the different types of color sorters in the market.

1. Piping System Installation

You ought to ensure that this system is well put in place to avoid dust congestion in the machine. When installing, make sure you connect the ash intake valve and the air pumping system with a 100mm metal tube.

2. Air Compressor System

You need to have an oil-free and water-free compressor linked with an air dryer. Then, you’ll need to connect some joints with Dg 25mm galvanized pipes. For instance, joints between the air passage inlet and the dryer; and the joints between the dryer and the air compressor.

Chapter 6: Maintenance of Color Sorters

6.1 Maintenance makes Machines work better.

You brush your teeth every morning and night to keep them shining white. Just as you do so, you should also manage the color sorter that you have invested in, so it lasts longer. After all, no one wants to buy something and then leaves it to rot like a coffin that no one ever reuses.

Let’s look at the maintenance needed to make the color sorter worth the while.

6.2 Storage, Usage, and Maintenance of the Color Sorters and Its Auxiliary Facilities

  1. Ensure that you use the air guns to clean up the channel, sorting boxes, and the test ejector. When cleaning the sorting box, avoid blowing toward the direction of the nozzle.
  2. Inspect the signal indication with utmost keenness. This is inclusive of the work instructions, alarm indications, and the ejector action case.
  3. Examine the normalcy of the air compressor, air pressure, oil temperature, and sound on every use. Make sure you discard the water from the compressor at least thrice.
  4. Remember to shut the color sorter down after use. Power off the power button, air compressor switch, and drain off the water in the air compressor.
  5. Use the air gun to clean the ejector, channel, and sediment inside the sorting box.
  6. Again, use the air gun to clean the vibrator, hopper, and ash scraping device inside the machine.
  7. Your weekly routine should consist of the following: Checking the filter and the level of cleanliness of the wiper brush.
  8. Ensure that you replace the compressor oil once after every six months.
  9. Store the machine in a room that has an air conditioner for cooling of the color sorter.

The beauty of something is determined by how much effort you put into cleaning it.

6.3 Dirts Decline The Working Effectiveness

You may argue that a color sorter does not need to be beautiful. Yet, would you like to put your grains in an ugly and dirty color sorter? And then later sell the products to people to consume?

A dirty color sorter reduces its effectiveness, and it can easily break down. Regular cleaning helps you identify any likely issues that might affect its operation. Avoid using wool, scraper, or acid on the machine to prevent possible pollution materials.

6.4 How to clean the color sorter machine?

You should consider the surface of the vibrator’s unique parts, channels, and lenses in cleaning the machine.

Remember to clean both sides of the sorting box glasses using a soft cloth moistened with alcohol. Or, you may put the alcohol-dampened fabric between the cleaning brush and glass to wipe the glasses.

When cleaning the sorting box lamp, ensure you first disassemble it. Then, use a dampened soft cloth with alcohol to clean it.

Remember to blow dust and other unwanted materials while cleaning the camera lens. You may use the air gun in the sorting box.

Furthermore, use a clean, soft cloth to clean the channel and the cylinder guide.

To clean the background board, you need to open the sorting box. Use a soft cloth moistened with alcohol to wipe it gently.

Chapter 7: What to Consider When Buying a Color Sorter

7.1 Know What You Want

Before buying a color sorter, you have to go with some predetermined mind to help you go for what you want.

We all have different preferences, tastes, financial abilities, and so on. You should do your homework well to make an educated purchase of a color sorter. Ask yourself, what type of color sorter do you need, and why?

Knowing your purpose and preference sets the roads clear. After answering, you are good to go to any manufacturer that distributes various types of color sorters.

7.2 Factors to Put in Mind

A background check of the distributor is no mean feat. It is crucial, and yet some people overlook it.

It all depends on how branded this person is selling a color sorter to you. From this, we will discuss the factors to consider when buying a color sorter. Choose one that suits best of your budget and the criteria below.

Material Type of the Color Sorter

The Sino-Swiss micro vision color sorter, for instance, is used in the industrial and agricultural sectors. You could use it to sort grains or other products like plastics, minerals, and jewelry perfectly.

Model of The Color Sorter

The China-Switzerland micro-vision manufacturer designs a variety of color sorters. These machines are in line with the amount of material output selected by the customers. They are made from the number of channels and the kind of material customers need. The more channels in a color sorter, the higher the price.

Customized Color Sorter

These are the types that the customer directs the manufacturer to develop one that suits their liking. Customers could instruct the manufacturer, and everything is done to favor your wants.

Type of Color Sorter

Also, you should consider the type of color sorter that you wish to deal with. That will help select a color sorter for ease of use.

Warranty of Color Sorter

One other clear reason is the warrant that the seller’s company will give you. Ensure that the warranty is reasonable. It is vital if you are not sure whether the product will be long-lasting.

Conclusion

In short, you should do a market analysis and know your needs when it comes to purchasing a color sorter.  I hope this article guides you through your purchasing process. With thorough study, you would get the color sorter that your color sorting business deserves.

Edon Zheng

Edon Zheng

Hi, I'm Edon, the co-founder of sgsorter.com, I've been running a factory in China that makes and exports color sorters for 8 years now, and the purpose of this site is to share with you the knowledge related to color sorters from a Chinese supplier's perspective.

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