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The Almond Company is the almond handling and processing operation for Harris Family Enterprises, a group of companies dedicated to quality farming and food production. It processes more than 100 million pounds of almonds for domestic and international distribution. The company purchased a TOMRA 5C premium optical sorter which has been operating at its Madera, California facility for the past six months with excellent results.
The TOMRA 5C premium optical sorter combines industry-leading sensors with machine learning and big-data analysis to ensure the most accurate foreign material removal possible. It has the capability to see and analyze defects with a degree of detail unseen in machines of its kind, and detects even the smallest imperfections with its high-resolution lasers.
The TOMRA 5C has been engineered to examine mass quantities of nuts and dried fruit with ease, increasing the operation’s efficiency while addressing some of the biggest challenges of the nut and dried fruit such as labor, food safety and product quality. In just six months operation at The Almond Company, the sorter has already made a significant impact on all these aspects, as Scott Eastom explains: "We have increased this specific product's production by 20 to 25 percent, producing at higher volumes, in less time, with less labor required."
The valuable information provided by the TOMRA Insight cloud-based data analysis platform connected to the TOMRA 5C, also plays an important role by allowing to make informed business decisions. Scott Eastom, speaking of his experience with the TOMRA 5C, comments: “Machines are always going to be more efficient and more accurate. They provide streams of consistent data, day in and day out. We can also manipulate and specify them to enhance our operation and better suit our product flows based on the data they provide.”
Scott Eastom is delighted with the added value the TOMRA 5C has brought to The Almond Company’s operation: “When evaluating a piece of equipment, we look for it to pay for itself in three to five years, and this machine will. The versatility of the TOMRA 5C adds to its value, which offers a more significant Return on Investment. We are currently only using the TOMRA 5C for one product application, but we intend to use it in various spots and on other applications in the future. We know the future is automation. This equipment strengthens our operation with greater consistency and reduces dependence on personnel and variables.”
Scott Eastom is also very impressed with TOMRA’s collaborative approach, which sees its teams working closely with the customer to ensure the best result for their operation, and remaining at their side for the long term: “We were really allowed to see and evaluate the machine performance in a hands-on setting. Once we got things going, TOMRA's machine did the talking. It was a nice change of pace to have someone stand behind the solution, continue service, and grow the relationship after the install.”