Since 1998, Uren Novaberry, located in Lublin, Poland’s largest and most famous agricultural region, has achieved an impressive reputation processing an extensive range of fruits. Its products are available in different styles, including chunks, slices, dices as well as purees. With IQF (Individual Quickly Freezing) technology, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and rhubarb are frozen and stored until the end of the harvest season.
“Traditionally dependant on manual labour, we needed to automate our production lines as much as possible to stay competitive,” says Managing Director Jan Danilczuk. “But reducing operating costs could not diminish the quality of the end product. We have built a quality tradition: we only work with the best fruit growers, we have a motivated and committed workforce, and we needed the TOMRA Sorting technology to support our ambitions. The TOMRA equipment is the right choice to support our quality reputation. We are happy with it.”
Maintenance-friendly and a small footprint
After a selection process, which included actual demonstrations of various sorting machines, Uren Novaberry’s team made up its mind. “We chose TOMRA sorting technology for several reasons. Besides being perfectly suited and easy to integrate in our production flow, we found the TOMRA machines to be user-friendly and low in maintenance.” Uren Novaberry’s team was also impressed by the machine’s small footprint, which was considerably more compact than its competition. “In frozen food lines, the length of the line and process speed are crucial to keeping the fruit at the right temperature during sorting,” explains Danilczuk. “The size of the sorting machine is an essential factor.”
Uren Novaberry asked TOMRA Sales Agent Archimedes to provide training for their employees to ensure they could properly operate and maintain the equipment themselves.
Archimedes’ Slawomir Plachetko agrees with the approach: “It is part of our market strength to know and understand opto-electronic and laser and x-ray based machines. We first prefer having competent partners at the customer site, then train them to do basic maintenance themselves. Ninety percent of all assistance calls are due to inadequate maintenance and sanitation. During the harvesting season, any production delay needs to be taken care of immediately. We have spare parts in stock and local technicians available to ensure immediate service assistance if needed.”
Higher productivity, lower operating costs
But TOMRA laser technology is known to be extremely reliable, says Danilczuk. “We have an effective and stable laser-based sorting machine in our raspberry crumble production. The unit’s optical components are embedded in a sort of clean room chamber. This means they are resistant to the cold production environment of minus 5 to 10 degrees Celsius and don’t need calibration due to these harsh working conditions. It saves time and guarantees sorting quality.”
After two years, the TOMRA Helius™ free fall sorting machine has allowed Uren Novaberry to improve the productivity and flexibility of its raspberry frozen line, whilst decreasing processing costs. “We now have a choice: with half the labor force, we can process as much as before or we can double our capacity with 100 percent staffing.
At the same time, the Helius™ machine ensures a consistent quality in the end product. No matter how committed our staff, it is difficult to work in the very cold conditions necessary to ensure a top quality product. The Helius™ machine brings a higher degree of reliability to the process.”
Quality level justifies price premium
In cherry production, the TOMRA Ixus™ Bulk machine has dramatically improved the safety of the cherry IQF product thanks to its x-ray based pit selection feature.
Danilczuk says: “The market requires a quality level of 1 pit per 10 kilos, and whilst we guarantee a ratio of 1 pit per 50 kilos, manual checks by our customers show a quality ratio of less than 1 stone per 200 kilos. This remarkable safety level justifies a higher price, and strengthens our market reputation as a reliable, high-quality partner.”