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A fresh approach to food processing

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Dealing with and handling fresh produce presents a unique challenge to logistics and supply companies.

Understanding the issues of food safety, packaging and distribution for fresh supply chain requires a tailored approach for different customers.

With this in mind TOMRA Sorting has developed a unique sensor based sorting solution and multi-spectral technologies to create customised options to meet these specific customer requirements.

According to the company its new machine, the Halo, combines intelligence with advanced control, and is a robust and compact machine that provides high capacity, low maintenance, flexibility, and gentle handling.

“Additionally, Halo guarantees long-life accuracy and provides quality control and feedback through an intuitive touch screen,” TOMRA Sorting stated.

Featuring both VIS and NIR capabilities, the Halo “provides high performance sorting and grading based on a number of different factors that affect fresh produce.

TOMRA Sorting explained that these include defects, colour, subtle blemishes or marks on the produce, any foreign material (which is often a problem in the fresh produce supply chain), size, and finally shape.

“For cut fruit the Halo sorter can now separate apple wedges displaying bruise, core, steam, discolouration, and broken pieces,” the company said.

Its fresh pack applications include russet potato, sweet potato, varietal, and speciality potatoes in addition to the typical carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, onions, radishes, and tomatoes.

“Halo is also ideal for processed peeled and unpeeled fruits and vegetables, carrots, apricots and peaches, pear halves, and citrus fruits.”

It has also released a produce material handling machine that deals with unwanted foreign materials in the line.

TOMRA Sorting’s Genius is equipped with high resolution cameras and lasers.

The machine utilises a number of different inspection technologies in its various zones, with state-of-the-art air guns built to reject any pre-determined unwanted items within milliseconds, in two or three separate streams, and sound product proceeding in the processing line.

Karel Strubbe, TOMRA Sorting’s sales manager for Oceania, went on to say that “the Genius sorter is now available with a special designed infeed system, the handle high throughputs”.

“This designed infeed system consists of multiple steps creating a well spread single layer of product so that the Genius unit can inspect at very high levels of efficiency.

“This new unit has been a great success since its introduction, and also features a unique add-on, the Advanced Foreign Material Detector (AFMD).”

The AMFD identifies defects and objects previously difficult to distinguish because of their similar structure or colour characteristics.

“Now, with the Advanced Foreign Material Detector, sorting on product-specific features with an optical configuration not limited to a single application is possible,” Strubbe said.

One of the major areas where the Foreign Material Detector has been used is in lettuce sorting.

“Organisations can even introduce radicchio lettuce in to their mixes before they enter the sorting unit,” he said.

Prior to the introduction of the Advanced Foreign Material Detection unit, processors had to mix these elements in after sorting, running the risk they still contained defects.

TOMRA Sorting stated that the AFMD application is “revolutionising the way lettuce processors operate.

“They can now sort virtually every kind of baby mix, targeting defects perfectly,” Strubbe said.

“The AFMD capabilities significantly improve results, minimises false detections, enhances processing line flexibility, maximises efficiency, and elevates the quality and safety of the end produce to new levels for consumers, while maintaining the highest yield at unsurpassed throughputs.”

In addition to these two machines, TOMRA Sorting has unveiled the Primus Gemini for sorting multiple fruit applications with defects such as discolourations, over ripe, hail, and insect damage, plus foreign material.

“It delivers a high quality end product, meets modern consumer demands, and provides a very fast return investment,” Strubbe said.

The Primus Gemini sorter is now available with the Advanced Shrivelled Detector (ASD).

The ASD laser allows TOMRA’s sorters to remove shrivelled berries for fresh packing.

“Compared to other optical technologies, it can detect up to 9- per cent of shrivelled blueberries and will also improve the detection of rain split.”

It offers one sorting solution for detecting soft and discoloured berries and provides a three-way sort.

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