Visiting packhouses in California last week, I heard a constant theme of appreciation for Compac’s forward thinking and proactive attitude of continuous innovation. Investment in R&D and a focus on delivering incremental value for our customers has been an important part of Compac’s history, and continues to be necessary to ensure Spectrim delivers on its promise to maximize packhouse value.
Our award-winning Spectrim platform was designed to be continually updated as software and hardware advancements are made. We are happy to let you know that another software update will be available following PMA next week: Spectrim 2.1.
When we launched Spectrim, we weren’t sure how far or how fast operators would push the SmartSkin and SmartMap algorithms. Many of them adopted the new machine learning immediately and quickly taught it as much as possible – reaching the limit within the first season. Fortunately, a solution to this was already in the works; Spectrim 2.1 now includes an improved memory architecture that should keep inquisitive operators busy for years trying to reach the new limit.
While our software team were focused on the new memory architecture, usability improvements, and enhanced capturing to benefit all operators, our algorithm team were figuring out how rapidly Spectrim could make big gains for citrus packers – the fastest growing market for Spectrim sales and installations. The adoption of Spectrim into large-scale operations like California’s Sun Pacific and South Africa’s Stellenpak facility is evidence of the demand for improved citrus grading globally and highlights the need for Compac to provide ongoing support when partnering with customers to protect and enhance their brand.
Solving the issue of clear rot
A major issue facing citrus growers and packhouses is clear rot, which results in fruit suffering from post-harvest decay that can continue to develop and spread during storage and transportation. Early detection is crucial to remove affected fruit from the line and avoid contamination of large amounts of fresh produce.
Traditional clear rot detection is a manual and problematic process. The process involves the manual grading of individual fruit in dedicated darkrooms with UV lights to detect the infection. This process is problematic for a number of reasons – the peel can be damaged (handling and UV light exposure), detection on lemons is unreliable, and the process is inherently slow and subjective to the people in the process.
As I recently discussed, Spectrim is now able to accurately identify and remove clear rot, ensuring the quality of each pack. The infrared wavelength in Spectrim CIR is effective at picking up developed clear rot, and when combined with an additional infrared wavelength, will consistently remove more clear rot fruit than traditional UV light rooms. A major benefit shown by trial sites has been the identification of small and early stage rots – some nearly impossible to identify by the human eye.
Improving texture grading
An additional improvement of Spectrim 2.1 is a new texture algorithm that, for the first time, uses an infrared channel to detect creasing on oranges. Testing in California has shown Spectrim cabinets using the new software are able to detect most severe creasing that should be sent for juicing. Additionally, this new algorithm allows some differentiation of moderate creases which should help to separate export fruit from downgrades, ensuring more fruit makes it into a box, while supporting a more consistent end product for consumers.
The benefits of this are significant – enabling packhouses to run at much higher speeds on highly creased batches. Previously, throughput was sometimes reduced by up to 40% to allow manual graders to individually grade every creased orange by hand.
Continued dedication to improving the Spectrim platform is at the heart of Compac’s commitment to customers. As an evolving product, we’re always working to futureproof our sorting solutions to ensure our customers stay on the cutting edge of fresh produce sorting – I can’t wait to announce the next version!
Come and visit Compac at booth 253 at PMA to learn more about this latest version