Cincom Smalltalk Helps Key Technology Make Food Better!
Today, virtually all of the world’s french fries (95% to be exact) pass through the Automated Defect Removal System (ADR), created by Key Technology, Inc. (Key) of Walla Walla, Washington. In fact, Key has changed the way food is inspected, sorted, handled and prepared for processing, from its first equipment designed solely to separate foreign material from raw peas to its most recent release of Tegra, the first automated optical sorter of its kind.
Tegra, whose user operating system is written primarily using Cincom® VisualWorks®, is able to sort by color, shape, and size criteria, and eject defective product using jets of air with pinpoint accuracy at rates of up to a million objects a minute.
To enable Key to apply the Tegra sorter to many different products, the software had to be portable and very flexible, both from an “add new features” perspective and from a runtime scalability point of view. But these weren’t the only reasons Key chose VisualWorks as its application development environment.
To produce Tegra, Key wanted to write its applications in Smalltalk. But to apply the Tegra sorter to many different products, the software had to be portable and very flexible. Key chose VisualWorks for its emulated graphics framework, cross-platform capabilities and because Key’s machines ship worldwide in 15 or more languages.
As Key Technology expanded into new markets with its process-automation systems, it investigated the Linux operating system’s advantages over Microsoft Windows for OEMs—namely, more choice and control. But having so many VisualWorks applications, Key’s software engineers needed to ensure platform compatibility and product performance. Adapting its turnkey systems for Linux, Key resolved numerous issues with Windows, preserved its application investments, prototyped new selection algorithms and found new customers sorting everything from fruits and nuts to titanium ore.
“It’s more than being easy to use…it’s also how you’re able to get improved time-to-market when you use Cincom Smalltalk. Cincom Smalltalk is such an excellent development language that you can develop fast, and it allows you to concentrate on solutions while you’re coding.” – Key Technology Software Engineer
Key Technology was also aware of Cincom’s presence in nearly every country around the world.
“We also knew that our machines go all over the world, with 15 or so languages that we ship the system under. So another reason we selected VisualWorks was because of Cincom’s excellent internationalization capabilities and support expertise.” – Key Technology Software Engineer