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Bélgica 21/06/2022

Staying competitive becomes easy by adopting innovative sorting and grading technologies

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Although apples are one of the most demanded fruits worldwide, their popularity doesn’t make it any easier for businesses cultivating, sorting and packing them. The standards required in apple production are getting stricter.

Because apples are in all year round supply, consumers will not buy any that are sub-standard. This forces retailers and packhouses to provide consistent product quality all the time. In the case of food safety regulations it is the same, particularly in export markets. Today, apples require precise and consistent sorting and grading more than ever before. Packers are aimed to boost operational efficiencies and lower cost-per-kilogram. And as consumers and retailers increasingly expect the industry to adopt sustainable business practices, there is more pressure to increase packing efficiencies in order to minimize food waste levels.

All this is complicated by the fact that producers seek to obtain bigger yields and better pack- out by growing new varieties. This means packers will have to acquire knowledge about the new fruit and how to grade it.

These challenges mean that packers must learn how to balance between quantity and quality. While product quality has to respond to customers' requirements, over-delivering on quality is no better than over-delivering on quantity. 

At the same time, some packhouses face another challenge: for those who have previously relied on manual labor now it is difficult to retain workers. Labor shortages, changing demographics and immigration constraints are all having an impact.

Staying competitive becomes easier by adopting today’s innovative sorting and grading technologies. Solutions are available for businesses of different capacity, whether they pack 4.000 or 10.000 tons annually. 

TOMRA Food, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of optical inspecting, sorting and grading machines for the food industry offers such solutions: the TOMRA 5S Advanced sorting and sizing platform, Spectrim sorter and grader, UltraView inspection module, and Inspectra2 apple grading system.

The TOMRA 5S Advanced is a sorting platform designed for hygienic operation, with toolless cleaning and stainless steel and food-safe polymer contact areas. The machine’s specialized software features and connectivity to the data platform TOMRA Insight provide even more increased efficiencies.

Its software includes programs for exact packout optimization, element mixing, throughput control, and a Dynamic Lane Balancer - features that improve productivity, quality and efficiency and can be controlled via the sorter’s intuitive graphical user-interface.

Connectivity to the TOMRA Insight, a cloud-based subscription service, can make sorting machines the protagonist of packhouse operations. This service enables better flow of information throughout the supply chain, as well as traceability from bin to pack. Besides, it empowers packhouses to boost efficiencies by making smart, data-driven decisions.

When utilizing Spectrim, first the apples are sorted due to surface blemishes. Next they are graded on minor and major defects, such as skin blemishes, misshapen fruit, insect damage, abrasions, and bruising. Sorting parameters can be tuned to grade differing levels of defects.

The UltraView inspection module works jointly with Spectrim. With a special set of high-resolution color and infrared multispectral cameras and LED lights, this is an extremely powerful fresh produce grading platform destined to detect even the most hard-to-find defects.

Inspectra2 is a non-invasive technology for internal defect grading. Its near-infrared spectrometer can detect brix, core rot, firmness, hue, internal browning, water core, and bleeding. These capabilities reduce fruit giveaway and keep bad apples out of a good box.


Are you an apple producer and looking for solutions that would increase your output? Send your inquiry to obtain more information







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Because apples are in all year round supply, consumers will not buy any that are sub-standard. This forces retailers and packhouses to provide consistent product quality all the time.
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