Tomra's latest fruit and vegetable sorter introduced to the Americas
Using pulsed LED technology, Tomra's latest innovative, the Blizzard Freefall sorting machine, is designed to increase yields and improve productivity. Sales director for Americas and Oceania, Karel Strubbe, speaks with www.freshfruitportal.com from his Sacramento base where he's pushing a drive to introduce the technology to the Americas.
"It uses a very advanced sorting process; for example it can remove a black spot or some slight damage on produce, while it can also carry out advanced sorting like detecting plastics or cardboard, as well as having an advanced capability for shape sorting," Strubbe says.
"This is partly about delivering optimum yield of the highest quality and safe products for customers."
Sorting fresh produce is not a one-size fits all process
Typically, Tomra's machines are developed close to its research and development center in Europe, giving the company control over how it gets rolled out.
Following positive feedback from the first batch of customers, approaching the North and South American market is the next step, propelled by a number of showcasing appearances at trade events and exhibitions.
One important aspect, says Strubbe, is the combined technologies of the Blizzard’s systems which can be adapted for different produce and tailored to specific requirements. This means it can work with a complete color palette.
"The unit consists of a program and depending on the product a customer is running, we monitor and program specifically for that customer, that means the unit can be set up for a variety of produce.
"For example, fresh berries, and then we can modify the unit for something completely different such a sugar snaps.
"The big idea here is that we change the programing of the unit specifically for the needs of the customer without putting their margins under too much pressure."
Strubbe describes an order recently where a company dealing in sugar snaps was looking for a sorter to remove discoloration, foreign material and defects like a broken sugar snap.
"It’s a unique and young company that’s growing very quickly and they came to us here in Sacramento and had a look at the machine and I think about two weeks later they placed an order because they were so convinced.
"We’d like this sort of interest in the Americas market as this machine helps processors meet exacting food safety regulations, improve production, line production and optimize output.
"We just started to work with a Michigan customer dealing in fresh cranberry sorting and we’ve set the programing and they are really thrilled. They’ve had machines from us in the past, but with this machine, they can carry out a very advanced sorting process."