A collaboration between Plant & Food Research and Compac, part of TOMRA Food, has won the PwC Commercial Impact Award at the 2019 KiwiNet Awards for the development of world-leading fruit grading and sorting technologies – Compac’s Spectrim™ and Inspectra²™.
The judging panel calls the partnership
“a textbook example of successful collaboration between research and industry to build a world-leading business with global reach and massive economic benefit to New Zealand.”
(From left to right) Plant & Food Research Business Manager Brian Ward, Compac CEO, part of TOMRA Food, Ken Moynihan, and PwC Partner Michael Bignell. ©Sciencelens
Compac CEO Ken Moynihan says:
“This award recognises our belief that we should create high quality systems which help industry create gain and reduce pain. Spectrim and Inspectra² are globally leading systems that are built with locally manufactured machines and locally researched technologies. It commands a 30% price premium on their competitors.”
Plant & Food Research Business Manager Brian Ward says: “We have a deep and long-standing relationship with Compac. For 20 years we’ve been working together through our shared vision of delivering commercial solutions that meet industry’s needs. The KiwiNet Award is a great recognition of the partnership and the commercial benefit the partnership has generated over the years.”
Built from the ground up, Spectrim™ is the most powerful optical sorting platform ever offered to the industry, enabling world-leading external grading capabilities. The brief: design and manufacture a sorting platform which delivers superior performance, usability and a continuously upgradable platform for the produce industry. The Compac development team worked with Plant & Food Research and customers, learning and understanding the challenges the industry faces and delivering the future of produce sorting.
Inspectra2™ is Compac’s latest platform designed to accurately detect and grade internal fruit defects. Launched in 2016, the Inspectra2 system is a non-invasive, near-infrared (NIR) technology used for testing the internal properties of produce. NIR inspection analyses the spectra of light that is transmitted through every piece of produce to determine internal characteristics.
External appearance is important for buyers’ purchase decisions, but internal quality is critical for consumer satisfaction. Beyond protecting and enhancing brand, NIR can increase profitability through supply chain optimization and reduced food waste.
Both Spectrim™ and Inspectra²™ allow marketers to reduce manual handling of fruit and vegetables and increase the volume of produce graded as premium at the same time. Benefits of the system includes the high-resolution detection of external and internal defects in 10-15 fruits per second as it moves along the grader.
Sales of the Compac technologies have exceeded expectations in the two years since release, with sales of the system in over 50 countries, and have led to increased manufacturing volumes and capabilities at the Auckland-based factory.