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Installing TOMRA’s Sentinel II sorting machine has enabled the Bolognese company to select large quantities of potatoes – its flagship products – with great precision and minimal waste.
With an important presence in the fruit and vegetable sector, Ortofrutticola Parma is dedicated to the production, storage, packaging and marketing of potatoes, carrots and onions, 95% of which are for large-scale distribution. Owned by the Parma family – among the founding members of the Consorzio Patata Italiana di Qualità, holder of the "Selenella" brand – and founded in Castel San Pietro in 1950 by Sostegno Parma, the company is now managed by his son Mauro and nephews Ivan and Monia.
Ortofrutticola Parma invests heavily in crop innovation at its own farm, Parma Agricoltura, where it runs programs aimed at enhancing the quality of products. It also invests in storage techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to meet the requirements of an increasingly demanding clientele. The company is committed to environmental and economic sustainability in production, processing, and conservation.
Ortofrutticola Parma has operated a TOMRA sorting machine since 2008 on its potato selection line, where it has processed about 180,000 tons of the company’s flagship product every year. When the time came this year to find a replacement machine which would continue to meet the need for superior tuber production, the company turned once again to TOMRA Food. The solution, which the company put into service at the beginning of May, was a new Sentinel II. This is located on the line after the washing machine.
Ivan Parma, sales manager of the family company, commented: "We needed a machine with a greater working capacity for our potatoes, so it seemed natural to turn again to TOMRA Food for their leading optical sorting technology."
Gianluca Coloretti, area manager of TOMRA Food Italy, said: "The sorting machine installed 12 years ago had gained the customer's trust by offering quality, food safety and reduced production costs. Therefore the company’s request for the new model did not surprise us. We are very pleased that Ortofrutticola Parma’s confidence in the brand is renewed."
The Sentinel II's high-resolution optical sensors and simple user interface allow the company to set the sorter to detect and reject a wide range of defects. The machine is set up with three outputs: first-quality product, second-quality product, and waste – and, thanks to the selection accuracy, waste is reduced to a minimum. The machine is handling large volumes of product, about 200 tons per hour, with ease.
Gianluca Coloretti said: “The product batches delivered by this machine have very homogeneous characteristics, which optimizes the subsequent stages of the process to meet the specific requirements of the end customer.”
In fact, just two months after installation, the Sentinel II has already revolutionized Ortofrutticola Parma’s machining processes. Ivan Parma explained: "Operators find the model easy to use and its high accuracy in selection has improved sorting efficiency. This has made it possible for us to free staff from the sorting area to work in other areas, increasing production. TOMRA’s technology helps us improve productivity, optimize costs and add quality guarantees for the customer, which are essential for us". Just as they are essential for consumers, when the product finally reaches the plate.