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TOMRA Food will play a major role in next month’s World Avocado Congress, as the globe-trotting event makes its first appearance in New Zealand (The Aotea Centre, Auckland, 2-5 April).
Supporting the Congress as a Gold Sponsor, TOMRA will host a pre-congress networking event at its premises in Auckland and host an Innovation Breakfast, with a presentation on artificial intelligence, at the Aotea Centre. TOMRA will also showcase its latest advances in post-harvest technology and present an academic paper regarding measurement methods for improving product quality.
The tenth edition of the World Avocado Congress has the theme “Respectful: Respect for people, respect for the environment, and respect for our future.” These values closely align with TOMRA’s vision to lead the resource revolution by making every resource count.
The Congress is expected to attract as many as 1,500 specialists – growers, packers, retailers, importers, academics, and industry association representatives – from more than 30 nations around the world. The four-day event will feature an exhibition, trade show, and academic sessions sharing insights into industry issues and trends.
During the weekend before the Congress, delegates will have the opportunity to tour part of New Zealand’s North Island to see avocado packhouses in action and talk with their owners and operators. TOMRA’s sensor-based sorting and grading machines are used by many avocado packhouses in New Zealand, where TOMRA Food’s Fresh Food business area originated, and an increasing number of packhouses worldwide.
When the Congress opens on Sunday, 2 April, one of the first things visitors will see is TOMRA’s exhibition stand in the main foyer of the Aotea Centre. This will spotlight various post-harvest solutions for avocado packers and demonstrate the new Adaptive Rate Controller (ARC). The ARC maintains consistent fruit volume on the packing line to optimize sorter input by continuously counting fruit on a roller elevator and autonomously adjusting infeed speed. This is made possible by an infeed-mounted camera and pre-trained AI models.
TOMRA’s innovative, industry-leading solutions for avocado packhouse operations (and for citrus fruit and apples) include the TOMRA 5S Advanced sorting and sizing platform, the Spectrim sorter and grader, and the Inspectra² grading system.
The TOMRA 5S Advanced, which first became available in 2021, builds on the class-leading performance of Compac's Multi-Lane Sorter (TOMRA acquired Compac in 2016), but was redesigned from the ground up. As its name suggests, this is the fruit industry’s most advanced sorting platform. The software features provide for optimization and efficiency across the line, improving productivity, quality, and efficiency. These include programs for element mixing, exact packout optimization, throughput control, and a Dynamic Lane Balancer. All these programs are easily controlled via the sorter’s intuitive graphic user interface.
Unrivaled efficiencies are made possible by the machine’s specialized software features and connectivity to the cloud-based customer portal and data platform TOMRA Insight, which can make sorting machines the digital heart of packhouse operations. This enables better, data-driven decisions and futureproofs packhouse businesses to meet the industry’s evolving needs. TOMRA Insight also enables better flow of information up and down the supply chain and opens a pathway to traceability from bin to pack – exactly the kind of thing consumers want to see when questioning where an avocado has come from.
When using Spectrim, the avocados are sorted according to color and surface blemishes. Then the fruit can be graded for size and minor to major defects, including skin blemishes, insect damage, misshapen fruit, bruising and abrasions. Spectrim’s sorting parameters can be configured to grade for differing levels of defects, so that there’s full control when matching product grades to different markets.
Inspectra² is a non-invasive solution for internal grading, particularly for dry matter content. This platform’s near-infrared spectrometer can detect dry matter content, fruit by fruit.
By utilizing these capabilities, avocado packhouses can eliminate some of their toughest daily operational challenges, enhance efficiencies and profitability, and provide customers with precisely the product quantity and quality they’ve asked for. And in a world where the market value of food brands depends mostly on intangible assets, including brand equity, packhouses can also help customers protect their brand reputations.