Key Technology

April 2013

The Critical Component: Digital Sorter Lighting

Every component in a digital sorter is designed for a specific function that enables quality sorting. The conveying system moves product to the inspection zone, cameras and lasers capture images, computers evaluate the images and air ejectors remove the defects and foreign material. There is one additional critical component that is often overlooked – the lighting system.

Creating the required contrast to perform an effective inspection is achieved via the lighting system. Depending on the product you are processing, your sorter may have one of several types of lights including High Intensity Discharge (HID), Light Emitting Diode (LED), Fluorescent and Ultraviolet (UV).

Maintenance Tips: Cleaning the Sorter Lighting

Manta Lighting System
Whether your system is a Tegra®, an Optyx®, a Manta, or one of our older sorters, maintaining the lighting system is critical to quality sort results. To properly illuminate the product, the lighting system needs to be placed close to the product which means that some debris may get on the windows that protect the lights, thereby degrading the sort performance.

Here are a few cleaning tips to keeping your lighting system in top condition:
  1. Never use paper towels, ammonia, or solvents to clean the windows.
  2. Apply warm water to the windows with a soft, clean cloth wiping lengthwise in one direction only. Rubbing back and forth can scratch the windows and reduce sorting efficiency.
  3. If local water is hard, use filtered or distilled water to rinse after cleaning.
  4. Wiping lengthwise in one direction only, dry quickly with a soft, clean cloth.

When cleaning the windows and performing routine maintenance there are a few other things that should be done to keep the sorter running at an optimum level:
  1. Inspect the sorter for burnt out lights, or check the Setup Lamps Page on the UI of the Tegra to check the status of the lamps.
  2. Check the mechanical components of the CIP (if equipped) to ensure they are working correctly.
  3. On a Tegra, check the acrylic or polycarbonate lamp tubes for cracks.
  4. On other systems, check all windows for cracks and ensure the gaskets are preventing water from entering the lamp housing.
If you or your staff is unsure of how to perform a check of the lighting or other sub-systems, please contact our service department for information about our instructor-led and online training options.


There are two common problems that occur when the lighting system is not maintained or set up properly. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you resolve potential issues.
Poor imaging, i.e. cameras can’t see objects clearly (fuzzy or blurred image), and the sort performance is poor.

  • Clean the windows.
  • Verify that all cameras are working properly. Replace any failed cameras.
  • Check the camera focus.
  • Clean/change the wiper on the bottom camera window (if equipped).

 The product image on the monitor appears darker, lighter, or a different color than the actual product.

  • Clean the windows.
  • Check/adjust/replace any failed lamps or ballast.
  • Lamps are too cool.  Allow them to warm up for 20 minutes.
  • If the light from the lamps is too bright, the lens setup may be incorrect.  Contact Customer Service.
  • Check the normalization tool for scratches, replace if necessary.
  • Redefine colors due to a change in product color from the field. Refer to the online help system.
  • Allow the system to warm up for 20 minutes and re-normalize.
  • Verify that the contrast slider on the Learn Colors Blob Selection page is centered.
*Always refer to your Technical Manual for safety precautions and proper procedures.

If you are having issues with the lighting system and aren’t sure how to correct them, contact the PROliance Service Team for help and instructions on how to get your sorter running at peak performance. 

Thank You!

Our global services team is here to assist you with all of your training, service and parts needs.

Contact us at:
Europe, Middle East, India & Africa +31 (0)345 509900

Australia & New Zealand +61 3 9552 9200
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Your Service Team
Key Technology, Inc.

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