Bright Light Agribusiness has selected TOMRA Food as its partner for an end-to-end almond sorting solution.
A total of 15 sorters will be installed at the company’s state-of-the-art almond processing facility in Hattah, Victoria, to achieve the processing objective of a ‘pack-to-grade’ quality in a single pass.
Sales and marketing manager at Bright Light Agribusiness Simon Murphy said: “After years of subcontracted processing, a carefully planned decision was made to invest in our own purpose-built almond processing facility in the heart of the Australian Sunraysia growing region in Victoria. This new facility with an annual throughput of 25.000 tons will have its own hulling and shelling, inshell-pack-out capabilities and will also be equipped to deliver a ‘pack-to-grade’ brown kernel raw-almonds product.”
Bright Light Agribusiness grows almonds with the latest irrigation infrastructure and technologies and has orchards that contain trees ranging in age from recently planted through to full maturity.
Operations manager at Bright Light Agribusiness Tim Orr explained: “We are now at a stage of orchard maturity where investing in our own processing capabilities is justified. Also, we will be ready to handle future volumes as the younger trees develop. The new operations are anticipated to be fully ready for the 2020 season.
“At Bright Light, we pride ourselves on high-quality products and exceeding our customers’ expectations. We think longer-term and consequently, we went through a rigorous process to select our preferred option from the different sorting solutions out there.
“By using TOMRA’s expertise, the concept that we have put together with our project coordinator, PASS, will deliver us a pack-out product with the least amount of human interaction and reprocessing, which is traditionally required to make the grade. A total of 15 sorters, amongst other mechanical and pneumatic cleaning arrangements, will be installed to achieve this objective.”
Senior vice-president and head of TOMRA Food Sorting Ashley Hunter commented: “We are very pleased to be the chosen sorting partner for this exciting project. The effort spent by Bright Light, PASS and the global TOMRA organisation in defining the processing concept embraced the significant collective experience of the stakeholders to deliver a state of the art solution.”
Orr added: “TOMRA’s BSI+ technology made the difference. Especially TOMRA’s ability to target insect damage, not only major damage but also the pinhole carpophilus-beetle bites, which was a real eye-opener. And with TOMRA already using such technology in Australia during the 2018 season, we were able to combine laboratory testing with real field data.
“The BSI+ technology also delivered outstanding results on other, often challenging almond defects such as doubles, gummy-nuts, immature, moulded, and stains.”
Murphy commented: “The concept of the multiple sorters was also a result of TOMRA’s global and local applications expertise, a perfect interpretation of needs and of tweaking the technology and its implementation sequence to meet our critical objectives.”
Orr said that operator friendliness was another decisive factor in selecting TOMRA. It was important that the sorting process could work with minimal human interaction because access to skilled labour is a challenge due to the seasonality of the work and remoteness of the growing area.
Orr said: “TOMRA has yet again proven to be the best in class. The real field use and discussions with operators who work daily with the sorters confirmed that the process is so easy to run it is almost child’s play. What’s more, TOMRA showed a dedication to invest in Australia. Local regional support from TOMRA service facilities in Sydney, Shepparton and soon also in the Sunraysia region – where TOMRA has close to 20 sorters deployed in different industries – were critical elements in our decision process.”
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