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Belgium 24/02/2023

Impact of AI on sorting, grading and packing technologies

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Earlier this month, at Fruit Logistica Berlin, TOMRA Food presented 3D footage of its sorting, grading, and packing technologies and carried out a presentation on the Tech-Stage to explain how the food industry can benefit from AI and machine learning. The presentation was based on 4 key subjects:


- Equipment effectiveness and optimization through product solutions; 

- Innovation, most recently through AI and the TOMRA Insight data platform;

- Customer’s voice, examining customer case studies and emphasizing how TOMRA puts customers’ needs at the core of its operations;

​- TOMRA’s commitment to cooperation with key partners worldwide. In fact, at the trade show, TOMRA was sharing the booth with its integrated business partner ICOEL, the designer and manufacturer of fruit handling, processing, and packaging machines. 


The sophistication of TOMRA’s equipment was demonstrated on a 2.5 meters-wide and 2.2 meters-tall hologram machine. This displayed, in 3D animation and video, the sorters TOMRA 3A, TOMRA 5A, TOMRA 5B, TOMRA 5C, and TOMRA 5S Advanced; as well as the CURO-16 small-fruit packing system, the Cascade Singulator for cherries, the KATO grading system for blueberries, the Inspectra² internal inspection system, as well as Spectrim, with the UltraView inspection module.


For the first time, TOMRA showed its Adaptive Rate Controller (ARC) for large fruit, and the innovative user interface for Spectrim and for the InVision 9.0 Small Fruit Sorter for cherries. By utilizing an infeed-mounted camera and pre-trained AI models, the ARC optimizes sorter input to maintain consistent volume of incoming fruit by continuously counting fruits on a roller elevator and autonomously regulating infeed speed. Spectrim 5.0 helps to reach the same grade rules and outcomes with half the cut points; it is extremely easy to use and has new algorithms which improve blemish tracking, grading, and sizing. 


On the second day of Fruit Logistica, James French, TOMRA Fresh Food’s Head of Innovation, held a 45-minute presentation on the event’s Tech-Stage. This started by questioning: “What kind of impact will AI have on the food industry?” and ended by reviewing what difference AI can make to daily operations. 


Mr. French reminded the public that in essence, AI is the ability of computers to emulate human thought and decision-making and that machine learning is the vital AI technique made possible by software algorithms and data. AI is a good match to food processing since sorting and grading machines hold loads of data and solve complex optimization problems, and at the same time respond to the variable crop quality. 


AI is already integrated with some of the company’s sorting and grading machines, and is becoming increasingly important as a method of boosting efficiency, minimizing food waste, and maximizing value.





If you seek to upgrade your sorting, grading or packing equipment, send your inquiry






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Inspectra², is the platform for calibrating internal defects, has a near-infrared spectrometer, also useful for detecting the Brix degree and offering other data on the properties of the fruit that are important for producers and packers. (Photo provided by TOMRA).
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