The first step it identified was to develop close long-term partnerships with local fruit farmers, who supply fresh and healthy raw fruit. The relationships are strengthened by setting up long-term purchasing mechanisms, offering free training sessions by farming experts on quality strengthening measures and providing free technical support on quality inspection.
At the same time, Kangfa Food is conscious of the benefits of technological breakthroughs and the company is willing to invest in innovation to constantly improve food quality. This is in a marketplace where consumers’ expectations are steadily rising.
The company recently experienced a significant hike in productivity, as a result of investing in technical innovation. Embracing new technology is a key factor in Kangfa Food’s strong growth over the past 30 years, and this has helped it to win a number of prestigious awards and stay ahead of competitors.
Embracing new technology to improve quality and boost productivity
Historically, Kangfa Food wanted to address some specific issues, such as increasing labor costs, raw material quality variations and insufficient production capacity. TOMRA Sorting Food, the global leader in optical sorting and steam peeling solutions in the food industry, was seen as the solution to the issues which plagued Kangfa Food at that time.
TOMRA’s machines have a robust design, high capacity, stable performance and easy maintenance. Furthermore, TOMRA’s solutions have been repeatedly proven by its worldwide customer base and general positive feedback.
Kangfa Food understands that a sensor based sorter is a highly cost-effective alternative to manual sorting, with one sorter capable of solving various challenges that go hand in hand with manual labor, notably lower productivity. Consistent quality during manual picking is difficult to guarantee in comparison with an automatic solution.
Liu Xincai, CEO of Kangfa Food, said: “We used to own a sorter, but it could no longer cope with the increased volume in our processing lines. Therefore, we decided to look for a solution that could be easily upgraded in line with foreseeable future growth.”
“TOMRA helped us improve the efficiency of our processing line and optimized the sorter’s performance. We also had access to TOMRA’s local service team which provided timely technical support. We don’t have to worry about communication barriers, as is sometimes the case with other imported equipment. Therefore, we are convinced that TOMRA is the right partner for us,” the CEO continued.
One sorter, double gain - ensuring quality while reducing labor costs
Since its successful installation in June 2016, TOMRA’s Halo sorter has proven to be a versatile and highly-efficient sorting solution, sorting peach and apricot slices, wedges and halves. The Halo has also increased operations capacity to an hourly output of seven to eight tons - an increase from four to five tons before installation. The sorter has replaced over 70 manual pickers from the peach processing line, which means labor costs have been reduced by 80 percent, while yield has increased by 30 percent.
Furthermore, the Halo sorter has effectively improved the quality of the final product, even while the quality of raw material remains variable. This improvement is achieved by accurately detecting and rejecting pits, pit fragments, blemishes and all types of foreign materials. The sorter categorizes the peaches into three streams - good products, secondary products and bad/rejected products - based on the size of the blemish area.
Kangfa Food truly appreciates the user-friendliness of the Halo, which is easy to operate and maintain. The Halo has a modular design and an intuitive user interface in Chinese, which leads to maintenance costs being cut and minimal production interruption. Real-time processing data and information on the quality of material input is monitored and can be displayed on the touchscreen, effectively facilitating quality control measures.
Wu Chuansong, deputy general manager of Kangfa Food, responsible for production, said: “Expertise and technical support is available to us around the clock, as TOMRA China has a 24-hour customer service hotline. The local service team is a very important factor in why we chose to work with TOMRA.”