September 22, 2014 / Week N° 39

Optical cherry sorter brings upgrade to California industry

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May 23rd, 2013

Californian cherry growers are upgrading their fruit sorting technology this season with new machinery aimed at speeding up processing and cutting costs.Sorter

O-G Packing’s Tom Gotelli spoke with www.freshfruitportal.com about the company’s new multi-million dollar facility and the addition of the Unitech Optical Cherry Sorter.

“Through its optics, the machine is able to read the overall firmness of the cherry and is able to read a spot that’s soft on the cherry. If you want to, you can adjust the machine to kick that out or accept it as it goes through,” he said.

“Each cherry gets about 30 pictures taken of it. Through the software they’ve developed, it identifies what is off and what it’s looking for. It rotates the cherry from the stem down to the right and goes all the way across 180 to the left and back again. It’s all through simulation, one cherry at a time.”

Using preset imaging of what is an acceptable or unacceptable cherry, the technology sorts out foreign material and defective or soft fruit.

Gotelli added that it provides an additional tool for combating labor shortages.

“It’s very comparable in terms of human labor because humans do take out a certain percentage of good fruit because of how fast they sort. It’s replacing labor which is a huge cost in sorting cherries,” he said.

www.freshfruitportal.com

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