Better berries with optical sorter

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Better berries with optical sorter

Related tags: Import, International trade

A Tomra Primus-D optical belt sorter is providing accurate quality monitoring of blueberries at UK soft fruit grower S&A Produce, which has a packing operation at Marden, near Hereford.

S&A Produce grows, packs, imports and exports soft fruit and asparagus, supplying retail customers across Europe. Blueberries now account for some 30% of its business.

Initially the blueberries were imported pre-packed and then quality inspected and labelled before being distributed. However, this was a slow process and with demand increasing, S&A sought a solution that would enable it to import the blueberries in bulk and handle the packing itself.

Prior to packing and sealing blueberries into trays, the sorter uses colour cameras to spot discoloured product and lasers to detect soft berries. Berries are passed under the cameras and lasers and those that are rejected are air blasted onto a cross conveyor above the line.

The system, which was supplied by Tomra’s agent Stein Solutions, ensures gentle handling of the product throughout the operation so that the packed berries maintain their firmness.

The unit can handle up to 3.6t/h of blueberries, enabling it to feed two tray sealing lines.

Contact: Stein Solutions

Related topics: Processing equipment

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