No matter where I travel, I am always amazed by the passion and pride that growers and distributors take in their work. Their goal is simple, to grow and distribute the best possible produce with which to delight their customers.
While this may sound simple, producing a premium product takes dedication, know-how, hard work and sacrifice. The upside, beyond a well-deserved sense of personal pride, is that premium produce demands a premium price and opens the door to new markets – both domestic and overseas.
External grading is a vital element of producing a quality product and, through addressing the industry challenges of sorting produce, platforms such as Compac’s Spectrim have revolutionized the way fruit is packed, all while adding value and increasing operational efficiency.
As a family owned business, Tony Ceravolo is proud of both the operation and the quality of the produce grown and processed at Ceravolo Orchards. Growing a wide variety of apples, including the club varieties, ensuring that the consumer has the best possible experience is central to their business ethos. As Nathan Vince, Product Manager, Ceravolo Orchards, explains, the first step in achieving this is the grading platform.
“Spectrim is able to learn and classify different defect types. This enables us to tune the system and create sophisticated pack grades with ease. Using defect classification and machine learning functions, Spectrim identifies potential defects on sample fruit for the operator to classify. This significantly reduces setup time for operators and improves the accuracy of defect grading and ensures we can output a consistent and quality product”.
When it comes to packing and distributing premium grade fruit, beauty is more than just skin-deep – no matter how good produce looks externally, it is the first bite that really counts. As you grade your produce, how do you ensure that you keep internal defects out of your pack and ultimately your customer's mouths?
Traditionally, issues such as internal browning and other defects have been very hard to detect. “We work very closely with Coles and they have a very innovative approach to technology. We want to ensure that Coles’ customers always have a consistent and positive experience to ensure that they come back for more,” explains Nathan.
To ensure that they meet their high standards, Ceravolo Orchards leverage Inspectra2, Compac’s revolutionary imaging and modelling technology that allows operators to identify internal defects at the full production speed of the sizer.
The power that Inspectra2 can deliver revolutionizes packing operations, improving accuracy and profitability. For example, with a 20% incidence of internal browning, you would typically expect to lose 2-3% of your good fruit. With Inspectra2 you can recover more of the bin, only losing about 1% and increasing your packout and revenue by 1-2%.
And where there are difficulties in the orchard like challenging weather or late picking due to labor shortages, some batches can have incidences as high as 50 or 60%. Most packers wouldn't risk packing these crops, but Inspectra2 shifts this paradigm by delivering the ability to recover approximately 50% of a 300-bin block.
Ceravolo Orchards utilize the system for BRIX and Pressure as well as internal defect.
“As far as market leaders I really have not seen much around that compares to Compac’s offering. In terms of defect sorting and NI, that technology has come a long way and is going to be a big part of our future. Compac Tomra has brought us to another level and moving into the future we are going to create some great things for the fruit industry,” says Tony Ceravolo, Owner, Ceravolo Orchards.
Combined Spectrim and Inspectra2 offers packhouses like Ceravolo Orchards the ability to consistently and accurately grade both the external and internal characteristics of fresh produce.