The fully automated Sunsortai machine, a next-generation sorter from Sunkist Research and Technical Services, is a sorting and grading machine for citrus fruit. The new sorter uses Google AI technology to assess the inherent quality of each piece it processes, including any potential defects.

The Sunsortai uses a proprietary imaging system to automatically identify fruit characteristics such as size, shape, weight, blemishes and even decay that might not be visible to the naked eye. Be it citrus greening, oleocellosis or citrus cankers, the sorter can be trained to recognize the blemishes and defects that matter the most to each packer's operation.

Through repetition, the sorter learns to distinguish a defect's appearance from normal anomalous features like blossoms and stems. This happens in one pass, so it eliminates the need for special lines, manned by separate sorting specialists, who focus on specific blemishes, says Aaron Gorsky, general manager of Sunkist Research and Technical Services. 

The machines can be customized to serve to each facility's individual needs and it will readily adapt to existing conveying systems. It employs a proven mechanical design that is fast, reliable – but also gentle – when it comes to handling mass quantities of freshly picked fruit.

The Sunsortai sorter is now available to any processing facility that