Leading players - Interview with Sebastian Stoof, VP and Head of Product at Compac, part of the TOMRA Food family
Sebastian Stoof held various positions in project management and product management within the industry automation segment before joining COMPAC. His last position was Head of Global Product Management at SICK, a leading global sensor technology company from Germany, where he was responsible for a global product portfolio, the implementation of regional growth strategies, and international business development. At Compac, Sebastian is responsible for product management and marketing. He will bring in his expertise to further enhance Compac's global solution portfolio of cutting-edge sorting technology - always with a highly customer-centric approach focused on adding value to Compac customers operations with innovative high-performance solutions and digital services.
What are the main advantages of the new TOMRA 5S Advanced sorting platform?
The TOMRA 5S Advanced is designed to meet and exceed the industry's evolving requirements driven by a tightening of food safety legislation and ever-increasing grading complexity. It is designed and built to Compac's 'Food Trust' hygiene level. Food Trust design means all food-contact surfaces can be easily removed for cleaning and sanitization and all surfaces utilize food-safe polymers or stainless steel. This enables our customers to sanitize the sorter regularly without interrupting their operations significantly, increasing productivity. Importantly the design also facilitates stricter cleaning and sanitization to meet stringent food safety legislation. Also, The TOMRA 5S Advanced builds on the strengths of Compac's already industry-leading Multi Lane Sorter, with enhancements to throughput, gentle handling and reliability.
What kind of fruits can the TOMRA 5S Advanced work with?
Compac has a unique strategy of focusing on a group of core produce types. This focus enables us to really understand the global and regional intricacies of the produce types to deliver greater value to our customers. The produce types include Stone fruit, Cherry, Apple; Pear; Citrus; Kiwi; Avocado; Tomato; Potato; Onion; and Mango.
The TOMRA 5S Advanced builds on our existing capabilities, adding improved handling and greater multi-production capabilities (multiple produce types on one equipment) to deliver greater investment return.
Why does this new platform improve the hygiene and disinfection of the packhouse?
In 2010 Compac launched 'Food Trust', where through participation in industry forums such as the Fresh Produce Safety Center (FPSC), and International association of food production; and partnerships with industry leaders, Compac has developed design standards, facility risk assessments, and guidelines on cleaning and sanitization.
Our learnings from the last ten years of Food Trust have been built into what is today the most hygienic lane sorter available – The TOMRA 5S Advanced. The TOMRA 5S Advanced is designed for efficient cleaning and sanitization with a revolutionary modular design and Food Trust components that enable the TOMRA 5S Advanced to be cleaned thoroughly without the usual specialist mechanical skills required to dismantle parts of the machine. Many of the food contact components, such as lane dividers and chutes, are either quick release or toolless for faster removal and cleaning. And tasks such as removing and cleaning cross belts, which would have previously been measured in hours, now take just 5 to 10 minutes.
How does the machine achieve a more gentle handling of the fruit? What volume of fruit is the platform capable of processing and with what level of sorting precision?
The TOMRA 5S Advanced takes a different design approach to achieve gentle handling. If you look at our industry, most of the players just stick padding on the equipment. We went back and challenged our R&D team to remove the padding and engineer in gentle handling.
As a result, traditional padded surfaces have been replaced with sculpted stainless steel and molded polymer surfaces, delivering an improvement in IRD (impact recording device) results and fruit flow. Furthermore, a new singulation design improves handling, reduces spill, and enables optimization for multiple produce types.
Each TOMRA 5S Advanced sorter can be configured with 2 to 10 lanes of carriers, with each lane sorting approximately 400 produce per minute (produce type dependent). Multiple sorters can be connected in one solution to deliver even greater throughput, with some of Compac's largest solutions incorporating over 40 lanes and processing more than 16,000 fruit a minute.
The TOMRA 5S Advanced ensures sorting accuracy by having an all-new electronics backbone and proprietary chain guaranteeing that each piece of produce is delivered to the correct location. This also enables us to provide the industry's most extended machines to give the customers more packing options and flexibility.
How does the TOMRA 5S Advanced achieve greater traceability and accessibility to data to facilitate decision-making?
Lane sorters sit at the heart of the packhouse and are the only point in the supply chain where each piece of produce is individually inspected. This makes them incredibly valuable from a perspective of traceability and quality guarantee, and value enhancement, and data capture.
The TOMRA 5S Advanced has been designed to connect and integrate with the packhouse's systems and become the digital heart of the facility. It is digitally enabled to connect to Cloud data platforms such as TOMRA Insight or other APIs, enabling better flow of information up and down the supply chain and helping our customers to make better data driven decisions. This can only be achieved if the vast amount of data that is generated by our equipment and adjacent devices can be transformed into easy to understand and meaningful information that is on hand when optimizing the pack line operations. TOMRA Insight has been designed with that in mind. We strive for making real-time OEE data for our sorters accessible from any location on the globe in order to evaluate and optimize equipment efficiency in a first attempt, but we are working on further powerful implementations in the background already to make tangible use of data for our customers along the whole value chain.
In case of technology improvements in the future, could they be integrated? how? What is the technical service based on?
It has always been in Compac's DNA to take our customers with us as we develop new technology. Today, Compac as part of TOMRA Food has one of the largest development teams focused on sensor-based sorting technology and we have an extensive development roadmap. The TOMRA 5S Advanced was designed with the scope to be a future-proof platform for the next 10 to 15 years. The highly modular design sorter and conveyor designs enable easier machine extensions to meet new packing technologies as they emerge, and the new design includes positions for multiple inspection technologies enabling customers to invest in technologies as they arrive.
Compac provides integrated post-harvest solutions and services to the global fresh produce industry using the world's most advanced grading technology. Combining industry-leading solutions with award-winning grading platforms like Spectrim, the company's mission is to enable its customers to improve returns, gain operational efficiencies, and ensure a safe food supply via smart, usable technologies. To achieve this, Compac operates centers of excellence, regional offices and manufacturing locations within the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.
For further information about Compac, please see www.compacsort.com
Compac is a member of the TOMRA Group that was founded on an innovation in 1972 that began with the design, manufacture and sale of reverse vending machines (RVMs) for automated collection of used beverage containers. Today TOMRA provides technology-led solutions that enable the circular economy with advanced collection and sorting systems that optimize resource recovery and minimize waste in the food, recycling and mining industries.
TOMRA has more than ~100,000 installations in over 80 markets worldwide and had total revenues of ~ 9.3 billion NOK in 2019. The Group employs ~4,500 globally and is publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE: TOM).
For further information about TOMRA, please see www.tomra.com