"If, in the future, we could guarantee apples that are always nice to eat, it would have an impact and a value exceeding what we had already obtained in the past by placing our sticker on the fruit," observes Franco Poli, production manager for Melinda, as the work to upgrade and install a new grading technology at the C.O.CE.A facility part of the consortium is about to start.
So far, the apple sector has benefited a lot from optical grading, as the technology has made it easier to identify the fruit with external defects.
Now the new frontier is internal quality. Paoli said that "we have visited many manufacturers of optical sorting technologies and selected GREEFA as our ideal partner. Their state-of-the-art solutions that are good value for money perfectly meet our needs."
In order to upgrade a grader installed around 20 years ago, Consorzio Melinda had Greefa design the new system.
Gregor Lochmann and Heinz Pircher from Greefa Italia refer that "the grader will feature 70 water pre-grading channels with Binmatic input and output bin logistics and an automatic forklift to stack pre-graded bins."
"The most delicate grader on the market was chosen, a 10-line Geosort with an internal and external vision system that can meet Melinda's very high standards."
"The apple packaging section will also be upgraded with a central evacuation of empty and partially-empty bins. Empty bins will be automatically grouped depending on whether they are empty or partially empty. This means the procedure will be quicker when orders change, thus saving costly working hours on 12 packaging lines."
The work should be complete by the end of 2019 or January 2020. "It is the first of three systems we plant on upgrading over the next few years. Once everything is fully implemented, we will perform constant analyses to perfect and customize the software to assess then internal quality parameters of apples. It is the start of a process that will last many years but we believe that, considering the complexity of our consortium, if this innovation works for us, then it can work for anyone.