TOMRA Food’s Compac has launched the Sizer Simulator, a unique simulation tool that enables fruit and vegetable packhouses to upskill operators and prepare for incoming fresh produce batches.
Sizer Simulator also enables users to optimise packing efficiency by extracting maximum performance from existing equipment.
With the new technology, Compac is one of the first companies to offer packers a virtual environment for running produce. The Sizer Simulator’s advanced software makes it possible to experiment offline without posing any risk to production.
Sizer Simulator also creates a digital replica of the existing packhouse infrastructure allowing optimisation of machine set-up and processes in a virtual environment. Known as a digital twin, this technology comes from the aerospace and energy industries.
Packhouses traditionally apply the same software parameters for each season, fearing that if they alter any settings from the status quo it may lead to inefficiencies for production. This prevents making continuous improvements, which can be significant.
The Sizer Simulator tackles this challenge head-on, allowing operators to run no-risk trials of new setups to analyse opportunities for improving yield and packing efficiency.
As a starting point, Sizer Simulator can use real fresh produce data recorded from the sorter during previous runs. Simulator users can re-run the same virtualised fresh produce as many times as they like to assess the impact of adjustments made to the software.
Initial trials indicate that Sizer Simulator can also help predict bottlenecks in the sorting process, and can reduce overall downtime by enhancing knowledge of line speed management.
Sizer Simulator complements Compac’s existing training offerings, meaning that new operators have a shorter on-boarding time, and that experienced operators can further develop their abilities to extract full value from the Sizer software.
Product manager at Compac Gopi Ravi commented: “Nothing like the Sizer Simulator currently exists in the fresh produce sorting industry. The Sizer Simulator eliminates the risks of tweaking software on a live production run, empowering operators to experiment with settings until they’ve truly optimized equipment performance. In an industry where success depends on the ability to manage margins, this provides a unique competitive advantage.”
Sizer Simulator will be demonstrated publicly at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit (PMA) at Orlando, Florida, which takes place from 18 October to 20 October. At the event, Compac will promote its ongoing initiatives to drive digital innovation in the post-harvest industry. It will be present at booth number 759.
Sizer Simulator is available as part of the Compac Software Assurance Program (CSAP), a comprehensive software service package offered by Compac.