Bright Light Agribusiness has selected Tomra Food as its partner for an end-to-end almond sorting solution. A total of 15 sorters will be installed at the company’s almond processing facility in Hattah/Victoria, Australia to achieve a “pack-to-grade” quality in a single pass.
Simon Murphy, sales and marketing manager at Bright Light Agribusiness, says the facility will have an annual throughput of 25,000 million tons, with hulling and shelling and in-shell pack-out capabilities.
Bright Light Agribusiness grows almonds with the latest irrigation infrastructure and technologies and has orchards with trees ranging in age from recently planted to full maturity.
"We are now at a stage of orchard maturity where investing in our own processing capabilities is justified," says Tim Orr, operations manager at Bright Light Agribusiness. “Also, we will be ready to handle future volumes as the younger trees develop.”
The new operations are expected to be ready for the 2020 season.
Orr says that Tomra’s ability to target insect damage—not only major damage, but also the pinhole carpophilus-beetle bites—was an eye opener. With Tomra already using the technology in Australia during the 2018 season, Orr says they were able to combine laboratory testing with real field data. Orr also says that operator friendliness was another decisive factor in selecting Tomra. It was important that the sorting process could work with minimal human interaction, because access to skilled labor is a challenge due to the seasonality of the work and remoteness of the growing area.
“Local regional support from Tomra service facilities in Sydney, Shepparton and soon also in the Sunraysia region—where [the company] has close to 20 sorters deployed in different industries—were critical elements in our decision process,” Orr says.
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