Tomra Food showcases new and innovative technologies at the world’s leading fresh produce event

TOMRA’s three food sorting and grading brands exhibit industry-leading solutions at Fruit Logistica Berlin.

TOMRA Food, Compac, and BBC Technologies have all exhibited new technologies on TOMRA Food’s stand at Fruit Logistica Berlin this week (Berlin Messe, 5-7 February). The world’s leading fresh produce industry event, known for spotlighting new solutions and concepts, attracts close to 80,000 visitors from more than 120 countries.

TOMRA Food – the leading manufacturer of sensor-based sorting solutions for the food industry – showed publicly for the first time the upgraded TOMRA 5B sorting machine. Suitable for potatoes, fruit, and fresh-cut produce, the TOMRA 5B introduces new features which give unprecedented precision of control, enhancing yield and profitability.

Compac – the leading provider of post-harvest solutions to the fresh produce industry – unveiled its next-generation sorting platform. Building on Compac’s market leading Multi Lane Sorter, the new platform introduces a range of unique features for enhanced hygiene and food trust, gentle handling, safety and performance. Compac also showed its recently-introduced UltraView inspection module, which significantly improves detection of difficult defects located in the stem bowl and tip areas of the fruit. UltraView takes the power of the Spectrim platform to the next level. It improves pack accuracy and takes another step in the direction of a fully automated pack line.

BBC Technologies – the global leader in complete turnkey solutions for sorting, optimizing, and packing small fruit – introduced the new CURO8 fill-by-weight system, designed for cherries, blueberries and small tomatoes. BBC Technologies also exhibited its recently-introduced LUCAi™ artificial intelligence software for grading blueberries.

Michel Picandet, Head of TOMRA Food, commented: “The TOMRA 5B sorting machine, the next generation sorting platform, and CURO8 filling system will help food producers and packhouses enhance their efficiency and profitability at the same time as ensuring the highest standards of food quality and safety. These are important new additions to TOMRA Food’s product line, which offers sorters and graders of many different types and sizes.”

Revised TOMRA 5B sorter: flexible settings to optimize yields

TOMRA Food’s improved TOMRA 5B infeed belt sorting machine is designed to remove even the smallest foreign materials from lines of fruit or vegetables, ensuring food safety, and to allow the operator to easily adjust sorting criteria to the required food quality, eliminating the unnecessary disposal of useable produce. By introducing new features which give unprecedented precision of control, the TOMRA 5B enhances yield and profitability.

The TOMRA 5B offers the choice of four frame widths, from 800cm to 2000cm, and operates at belt speeds of two to five meters per second. As the produce moves along the belt, foreign material and produce imperfections are detected by anything from one to six on-belt cameras, a laser, and an off-belt camera. The cameras, which provide a 360-degree view with 0.27mm pixel resolution, are capable of detecting defects as small as 1mm. The off-belt laser, which operates with nine color and infrared ranges, detects up to 99% of foreign material. High-speed air jets remove from the line objects which need to be rejected or passed through a further sorting machine. To reduce false rejects, the pressure and position of the air jets adjusts automatically according to the type, size and weight of the produce.

Jeffry Steemans, Product Manager for the TOMRA 5B, summarized the benefits: “The new TOMRA 5B sorting machine gives operators unprecedented levels of flexibility by offering a broad range of settings which are easy to control. In addition to ensuring food quality and safety, the TOMRA 5B minimizes food waste to improve yield and further increases profitability through the precision of its quality settings.”

New, easily-programmable control features include Sort-to-Length, so that French fries can meet a pre-determined grade without unnecessary rejection of produce; Reverse Sorting, which recuperates 70-80% of good product which gets rejected when the infeed contains a defect level greater than 55%; and a SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), which connects the sorter to a control centre where fault-alerts show-up immediately and can be responded to remotely.

Other notable new features include Smart Sort, which helps operators easily define color specifications and detection settings; Color Cloud, which also enables operators to program precise color specifications to fine-tune the machine’s sorting abilities; a generic Shape Sort Toolbox, with a set of 30 detection tools which enable rejection of a broad set of defects; Datura Detection, which  identifies and ejects 98% of the poisonous plant 2cm or more in diameter; Dynamic Cloud, which gives a real-time view of all the materials the machine is assessing as defects, so that detection settings can if necessary be adjusted; and Improved Smart Rejection, which makes it easy to sort batches of different qualities (for example, AAA grade and B grade French fries).