October 20, 2022

Cherry producer has a new ‘vision’ for optical sorting

In May 2022, the cherry season at Giacovelli Srl’s plant in Turi (Bari), Italy, got underway in high gear, thanks to the new SFS Invision 2 optical sorter from TOMRA Food with Total View Plus, installed by its Italian partner Icoel.

Anna and Anna Rita Giacovelli are the new generation of the Locorotondo fruit and vegetable company, which was founded in 1954. Anna is the daughter of Raffaele, who runs Giacovelli with his brother Piero.

“We process several tons each year for European markets (central and northern Europe) and Italy. Precisely because cherries are becoming more and more important, we decided to invest in technology from TOMRA and Icoel,” said Anna.

TOMRA’s Invision 2 optical sorter at Giacovelli’s Turi plant in Italy. Photos: TOMRA

This is the first time the Italian company has worked with an optical sorter. Until 2021 it had always relied on mechanical sorters. In order to better cope with the increasingly demanding retail and wholesale markets, it has opted for automation. The difference was obvious right from the start.

Anna said the new sorting machine has improved everything related to diameter selection and quality of the end product.

TOMRA Food’s Invision 2 accurately sorts the tons of cherries processed each day at Giacovelli’s Turi plant according to size, shape and color. In addition, the Total View Plus module, with seven different views of the cherry, accurately identifies a wide range of defects without affecting processing speed or hourly productivity.

The packing area at Giacovelli’s.

Carlos Eyheralde, the company’s agronomist and quality control manager, said that, over a month using TOMRA Food’s Invision 2 at the Giacovelli packaging plant, “This machine is different because it really does come much closer to achieving a clean and homogenous end product. I really appreciate the quality of the electronics, the sensors and the precision of the optical cameras that reject both external and internal problems with the fruit. Even when the cherries come onto the line, it is all handled mechanically and electronically, and the process is really gentle. The machine could still be improved, and I am sure it will be, in making defect selection even more accurate.”

Despite the speed of production, the fruit is not hit or damaged and the transfers all take place in water to ensure good individualization and distribution of the fruit to one of the 30 outlets in the plant.

Benedetta Ricci Iamino, Global Category Director Cherry, at TOMRA Food, explains the approach to this particular sector. “Over the past 12 months, a team of our experts traveled to all the world’s major cherry production areas, working side by side with our customers to try and understand how to help them improve yields, minimize waste, lower labor costs and find answers to ongoing challenges, future market needs and increased quality requirements.”

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