November 10, 2022

3 problems that data solves in fruit and vegetable sorting

Three challenges facing the fruit and vegetable sectors include blockages, variations in product quality and human error. Data can help.

Bühler’s new SORTEX Monitoring System (SMS) offers increased performance visibility and reduce risk with remote real-time monitoring. At-a-glance dashboards give a comprehensive yet straightforward overview of the sorting performance of each optical sorter. A variety of customizable alarms can notify the customer of production anomalies.

Problem 1: Blockages
Oftentimes, fruit, vegetable or potato processing will involve frozen products. A common problem is when a product clump or ice chunk gets stuck and causes a blockage. This becomes a larger problem when the blockage obstructs the camera view which is detecting the product. In this scenario, perfectly good product can end up in the rejected stream, wasting resources and money.

The solution:
The data integrated into Bühler SORTEX machines easily and instantly recognize blockages, reporting them on the dashboard and triggering an alarm. Thus, the issue can get sorted quickly with minimal contamination or loss of good material.

Problem 2: Variations in Product Quality
Two differently farmed potatoes may both be nutritious, but they’re not always equal when it comes to processing costs and quality. Fruit and vegetable processors will often receive their raw materials from multiple suppliers. The problem? One supplier’s quality may be better than another despite both farmers being paid the same. This could go unnoticed without the ability to measure and analyze the wasted material.

The solution:
Data can effortlessly show which supplier has a greater rejected percentage. Appearing in the dashboard, the data will visually show problem areas, allowing customers to identify and act to reduce costs and become leaner. This could mean negotiating with the supplier for a better deal, and if they ask for proof, they can always be shown the data.

Problem 3: Human error
Companies will often process more than one type of product, and SORTEX is highly skilled at sorting different products, the problem is when operators forget to switch the mode accordingly to the product.

The solution:
Data outperforms human reliability. Bühler Insights provides a timeline of the mode selected, making it easy to track the issue and resolve it before too much good product is wasted.

While the agricultural world is still rooted on the ground, the digitalization of agriculture is increasingly being seen as an ally in keeping fruits, vegetables, and potatoes high quality, clean and sustainably produced.

SMS provides an overview of the key performance indicators of a Bühler SORTEX machine and delivers actionable insights to increase productivity, yield and efficiency. The monitoring system allows for full remote traceability, greater efficiency and an improved yield with a Bühler optical sorter.


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