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Oliveira Pinho & Filhos, a family business located in the municipality of Mira (Portugal) dedicated to the trade of bagged potatoes and onions, purchased a Sentinel II optical food sorter from TOMRA. This machine is equipped with the latest pulsed LED technology for sorting food at a higher speed than earlier models.
As Alejandro Palacios Valencia, Sales Director Spain and Portugal for TOMRA Sorting Food, explains: “The ejectors work with high precision and allow the high-speed ejection of foreign material and bad potatoes.”
Before integrating the Sentinel II in their production line, Oliveira Pinho & Filhos performed this sorting process manually. They used four people for this, which ultimately meant dedicating more time and resources to an inefficient sorting process. In the words of Sergio Pinho: “The Sentinel II allowed us to increase the final quality of the goods with less labour. Our customers are more satisfied and the process in our factory has significantly improved.”
In fact, now one worker deals with the machine while the other three employees have been reassigned to other jobs where they were much more needed.
Alejandro Palacios Valencia says that “with the Sentinel II, TOMRA responded to the customer’s specific need to increase the quality of their product. The sorting machine sorts the potatoes on colour, rejecting the green potatoes or those with spots or rot. It also detects foreign material such as sticks and stones and eliminates it from the final product offered for sale by Oliveira, which again enhances quality.”
The arrival of the machine to the factory also results in a better division of labour and an increased productivity. “The amount of potatoes that we are capable of sorting has increased thanks to the Sentinel II. Now we can inspect 15 tons/hour of small potatoes and 20 tons/hour of medium-sized potatoes,” says Sergio Pinho.
“TOMRA has helped us to improve our productivity, we recommend their machines without a doubt” (Sergio Pinho, Manager of Oliveira Pinho & Filhos)
“There is a growing trend to implement optical sensor-based technologies in both large and small companies. Our machines undoubtedly allow companies to stand out from their competitors thanks to a significant improvement in the final quality of their product,” says Alejandro Palacios Valencia.