The Genius optical belt sorter can remove unwanted discolorations and foreign material from dates as well as potatoes and salad.
ME food ingredients
Steve Raskin, sales director, EMEA, Tomra, told FoodProductionDaily.com it had a request to sort dates three years ago, as there was until now ‘not a good sorting machine for dates so we worked on that’.
Exhibiting at Gulfood Manufacturing 2014 in Dubai, the company has been active in the Middle East for eight years and its main markets are Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan and the UAE sorting products such as potatoes, fresh cut salads and raisins.
“Food ingredients are different in this region which makes the market very attractive for us. For example, the variation of raisins in India is different to a Turkish one or Iranian one, and again in the US. They come in various colours from green to light brown, and some require less sugar or more sugar,” said Raskin.
“In the last 10 years, we have sold about 800 Genius machines. It has a flexible set up as it’s belt driven and we can add to that.
“We inspect the product with black and white cameras from different angles and can add a laser box which can detect the structure ie the shell forming a hazelnut or almond etc.”
He added, Tomra launched The Falcon a pre-sorting machine for the fresh cut industry, at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, in February this year, but the machine will not be launched in the Middle East, only Europe for now.
The Falcon removes unwanted material brought into the production line from the field such as droppings, rodents, bugs, plastic, wood, soil and stones.
“We focus more on existing machines here because these are the most flexible ones and they have a lot of applications to modify the technology,” said Raskin.
“Also, with our service and support it’s easier to do that with two or three machines rather than 26.
“The Falcon is a compact pre sort machine for fresh cut products such as baby leaf, spinach or lettuce. It is cut from the field and sucked up into a device and then sorted in the factory via a pre cleaning process.
“Tests show it is 50% more efficient and quicker than manual labour and picking technology because of the sheer volume and the difficulty to search for foreign materials.
“The Middle East, and globally, the food industry is rapidly expanding and the quality of the food is becoming more important. If you want to export a product we see demand for better and cleaner food to export to countries such as Australia and Europe. Dates are one example, also chickpeas and raisins that require a special taste and flavour.”