South Africa-based citrus leader, Sitrusrand has expanded its capacity and opened up new selling opportunities with the Spectrim and Inspectra sorting and grading platforms
As the South African family-owned business Sitrusrand expanded rapidly, production grew faster than packing capacity. This prompted the company to opened a fourth packhouse equipped with TOMRA's Spectrim sorter and grader, along with the Interspectra² platform for internal defect grading. These machines, particularly the brix grading with Inspectra, have opened up new opportunities for Sitrusrand.
With consistent lighting, powerful imaging, two infrared wavelengths, and machine learning, the Spectrim sorter and grader has an industry-leading accuracy, thereby making it the world's most powerful fresh produce grading platform. Spectrim sorts and grades minor and major defects, including surface blemishes, insect damage, misshapen fruit, bruising, and abrasions, and can identify hard-to-find product defects, including clear rot. Sorting parameters can be configured to grade for differing levels of defects, giving line operators the control to match product grades to different markets.
The Inspectra² platform for internal defect grading utilises a near-infrared spectrometer, mainly to detect brix, but also to provide valuable information about other properties important to citrus growers and packers. These detection capabilities keep bad fruit out of a good box, ensure fruit with the preferred taste profile goes to the right market, and help growers adjust their practices in the field to optimise internal fruit quality.
“Spectrim is a lot better than our previous sorting equipment – we can sort-out a lot of blemishes with it, things we previously couldn’t sort-out. Whatever you want taken out, the machine can do it – not only according to blemishes, but with Inspectra², also according to the fruit’s sugar content. This has opened up new trading possibilities for us," explained Sitrusrand Estate’s production manager, Attie Janse van Rensburg. “Traceability is also very important. We have to be able to trace our food back to the orchard where it was packed. TOMRA has played a vital role in this. This is important, not only for the market’s sake, but for ours as well: if food is picked-up in the packhouse that we think was handled incorrectly, can sort out that problem in the orchard to prevent it happening again.”
In addition to both platforms being very user-friendly, Spectrim owing to very little machine downtime, helped maintain consistency in the company's ability to deliver fruit, which according to Rensburg is equally important as consistency in product quality.
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