November 2, 2023

TOMRA wins international award for sorting and grading solutions

TOMRA Food’s food sorting and grading solutions have won international recognition for the accuracy of their foreign material identification.

The company received an International FoodTec award for “using artificial intelligence and cloud technology to improve food safety, quality and traceability while increasing process efficiency,” according to a news release.

The awards are presented three times a year by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) to honor groundbreaking developments in innovation, sustainability and efficiency in food technology.

Felix Flemming, head of digital at TOMRA Food and Recycling. The company received an international award recognizing the accuracy of its food sorting and grading solutions. Photo courtesy of TOMRA.

TOMRA received a silver medal from the panel of judges representing research, academia and the food industry.

“We are pleased that the jury of the International FoodTec Award has recognized TOMRA’s industry-leading innovations in AI and cloud-technology, and the importance of these solutions to customers,” Felix Flemming, head of digital at TOMRA Food and Recycling, said in the release. “Digital solutions and AI are set to play an increasingly important role in meeting the needs and desires of food consumers, and in helping to feed the world’s growing population. This will require more food production and less food waste.”

AI and potatoes

Artificial intelligence is helpful for the potato market because of the variable nature of factors such as weather and incoming raw materials. AI-assisted sorting and grading machines can make more accurate decisions, recover more good product from compromised raw material and more precisely classify the products on the line into different grades.

TOMRA’s solutions utilize deep learning, which uses pre-trained models to teach computers how to process data such as complex patterns in photos. In combination with sensor technologies, images of foreign material are captured by TOMRA sorters and analyzed by a deep learning model.

TOMRA’s Foreign Material Identification solution is integrated with the cloud-based data platform TOMRA Insight. This automatically extracts data from sorting machines to provide real-time insights into raw materials and machine performance.

“AI redefines the sorting game by improving precision and setting a new standard for crop sorting technology,” Marco Colombo, global category director, potatoes, at TOMRA Food, said. “New AI features are embedded in our sorting machines — as recently announced for our TOMRA 3A unwashed potato sorter — enhancing image processing by evaluating pixels in a more sophisticated way.

“While the objects are assessed down the line, we are able to evaluate how pixels are shaped against each other, and we can classify clusters or an object as a whole.”

TOMRA Food designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions. The company has more than 13,800 units installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world for confectionery, fruit, dried fruit, grains and seeds, potatoes, proteins, nuts and vegetables.

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