New Zealand-based company Compac is introducing a new technology to help growers and marketers overcome traditional issues associated with grading and sorting cherries.
Known as End View, the new cherry grading technology is due for an official launch at the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit in New Orleans, United States on October 19-21.
The company has highlighted how End View utilises learnings from Compac’s Spectrim platform in a bid to improve outcomes for cherry-specific produce lines.
The product will be available as a modular upgrade for existing customers.
Compac highlighted End View used new cameras and software to detect and grade nose and stem defects such as rain cracks and mildew while keeping current production speeds.
The group also emphasises how embracing innovative technology has become more important for cherry growers as newly planted trees continue to come into production, putting pressure on existing plant capacities.
With changing weather patterns growers are also trying to reduce the impact of unseasonal rain events, which are the main contributor to previously undetectable nose cracks.
Compac CEO Mike Riley says the importance of sorting cherries accurately is imperative in protecting batches from spoilage and providing high-quality exportable products for international consumers.
“One bad cherry can ruin a box. Our customers rely on our technology to maintain the quality of their product and protect their reputation and brand,” Riley says.
“We’re always striving to be on the cutting edge of grading and sorting technology development. As the fresh produce and agriculture sector continues to evolve, keeping up with demand and expectation will be key.”
The new End View solution also utilises Compac’s latest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities.
Recently, Compac partnered with Pure Pac in New Zealand’s South Island to outfit the operation with what it claims to be the most advanced, gentle and food safe best-of-breed sorting solution including the End View technology.
As the company plans to begin exporting its premium product internationally in 2017-18, accurate sizing and grading, including the detection of stem and nose defects, were important parts of Compac’s proposal.
The End View prototype was tested in New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
Jeremy Hiscock, a director of New Zealand-based Panmure Orchards, also talks about the immediate benefits of the technology.
“In terms of End Views which include improved optics and software, the machine can now see the whole fruit allowing additional classification of fruit surface which improves the quality of pack,” he says.
“A secondary benefit is the increase in packhouse throughput on nose cracked batches whilst still maintaining the quality of the pack.”
Riley said Compac was dedicated to continual investment into cherries, directly improving performance and adding capabilities to advance yields and boost the quality of produce globally.
“We were receiving such strong global demand for a next generation cherry grading solution that we decided to accelerate our Inspection Systems roadmap to focus on this,” Riley adds.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the result and feedback from our development customers has been superb. We can’t wait to see this product in packhouses across the world.”