By locating the TOMRA 5C on the processing line between the IQF tunnel and the packing station, final checks for food safety and product quality can be made with unrivaled accuracy. As the frozen product reaches the end of the line for bagging, the sorter recognizes and removes any remaining foreign material, extraneous vegetable matter (EVM), and hard-to-detect product defects, such as stems and stalks with green beans and nightshade with peas. These detection capabilities greatly reduce the risks of consumer complaints or product recalls - already a vital requirement, and one that is harder to meet with organically-grown fruit and vegetables, which typically get delivered to processing lines containing more unwanted materials such as insects, rodents, and EVM.
As well as protecting brand reputations, the TOMRA 5C's state-of-the-art technologies deliver other operational advantages. Compared to its highly effective predecessor, the Nimbus BSI, this new machine further enhances sorting efficiency and yields; is easier to keep running in optimum condition; has a more hygienic design which reduces cleaning time by about 35% compared to the Nimbus, and has a capacity that's greater by 5-10%.
The TOMRA 5C was first introduced in 2020 to sort Dried Fruit and Nuts but was designed from the outset for many different applications, including IQF vegetables and fruit. This machine is now being made available for IQF lines following tests with one major IQF Vegetables processor in the USA and another in Europe. Validation was conducted over an intensive six-week period, with the machines working for two or more shifts per day and sorting four to five tons of product every hour. Sorting performance was assessed with more than 20 different types of Vegetables, mono and mixed.
The trials showed consistently excellent results - even with Vegetables that are traditionally difficult to sort, such as white cauliflower, and even when looking for foreign materials that are difficult to detect, such as nightshade mixed in with peas.
Superior efficiency and performance
The TOMRA 5C's unrivaled sorting accuracy is made possible by combining high-resolution lasers with TOMRA's innovative Biometric Signature Identification (BSI) technology, which means that every object passing down the line is assessed not only for its color and shape, but also biological characteristics. This next-generation spectral imaging is able to look inside materials on the line by identifying their unique biometric characteristics or ‘fingerprint’. BSI clearly contrasts good and bad materials and is able to detect even smaller defects than those recognized by conventional spectral technology.