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onCore® Lettuce Core Removal System

Key’s new integrated core removal system revolutionizes the processing of iceberg and romaine lettuce for bagged salads. This patented system combines the strength of Smart Shaker® vibratory conveyors with state-of-the-art camera/laser sorting, enabling processors to:

  • Eliminate manual coring
  • Reduce labor costs
  • Increase yields
  • Enhance appearance / shelf-life / safety

Manual coring and wrapper leaf removal requires costly manual labor, and causes yield loss. In addition, the shelf-life clock starts ticking once the core cut is made, and the highly nutritional outer leaves are lost.

Now you can bring uncored lettuce into the plant and slice it using the same cutting technology traditionally used on cored product. Then, with powerful, dual-technology onCore, you automatically remove not only core, but leaf defects, animal material, insects, stones, sticks and dirt—anything your consumer doesn’t want to see in the bag.

*Patented under one or more US patents.

onCore® Lettuce Core Removal System onCore® Lettuce Core Removal System onCore® Lettuce Core Removal System

How it works

Step 1

  • onCore’s 3-deck Iso-Flo® Density Separation Shaker uses gravity and directional airflow to remove 85 to 90% of the core and heavy foreign material from cut iceberg and romaine, while spreading product for presentation to the optical sorter.
  • This reduces the volume of core being fed to the sorter, freeing it to focus on removing smaller core pieces along with foreign material and other defects.

Step 2

  • onCore is equipped with a Key Optyx® or high-capacity Manta® sorter, depending on volume, and includes a combination of Key’s Raptor laser technology and tri-chromatic color cameras.
  • The laser detects differences in structural properties of objects to remove pieces of core and FM; cameras determine each object’s size, shape and color to target and remove defects.

How you benefit


  • By eliminating manual coring and retaining dark outer leaves, less good product is removed and yield increases.
  • Current use in harvest and plant operations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. shows that based on enhanced yield and labor cost reductions alone, onCore achieves payback in a rapid 4 to 16 months.

Shelf life

  • Potential for contamination is reduced, product degradation is slowed and shelf life increases.


  • When slicing whole romaine heads, a more uniform cut is achieved and product appeal increases.


  • Camera/laser sorter removes dangerous foreign material and objectionable leaf defects, along with remaining core.

Sorter Reference Information

Key Technology | 150 Avery Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA