Almond sorting with TOMRA.
Leuven, Belgium, (December 5, 2018) - Bright Light Agribusiness, one of the fastest growing private companies in the Australian almond industry, 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 state-of-the-art almond processing facility in Hattah/Victoria to achieve the processing objective of a “pack-to-grade” quality in a single pass.
“After years of subcontracted processing, a carefully planned decision was made to invest in our own purpose-built almond processing facility in the heart of the Australian Sunraysia growing region in Victoria," says Simon Murphy, Sales and Marketing Manager at Bright Light Agribusiness. "This new facility with an annual throughput of 25.000 metric tons/year will have its own hulling and shelling, inshell-pack-out capabilities and will also be equipped to deliver a ‘pack-to-grade’ brown kernel raw-almonds product.”
Bright Light Agribusiness grows almonds with the latest irrigation infrastructure and technologies and has orchards that contain trees ranging in age from recently planted through to full maturity.
“We are now at a stage of orchard maturity where investing in our own processing capabilities is justified," explains 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 anticipated to be fully ready for the 2020 season.
“At Bright Light, we pride ourselves on high quality products and exceeding our customers’ expectations. We think longer-term and consequently we went through a rigorous process to select our preferred option from the different sorting solutions out there. By using TOMRA’s expertise, the concept that we have put together with our project coordinator, PASS, will deliver us a pack-out product with the least amount of human interaction and reprocessing, which is traditionally required to make grade. A total of 15 sorters, amongst other mechanical and pneumatic cleaning arrangements, will be installed to achieve this objective.”
“We are very pleased to be the chosen sorting partner for this exciting project," comments Ashley Hunter, Senior Vice President and Head of TOMRA Food Sorting. "The effort spent by Bright Light, PASS and the global TOMRA organization in defining the processing concept embraced the significant collective experience of the stakeholders to deliver a state of the art solution.”
“TOMRA’s BSI+ technology made the difference," Orr says. "Especially TOMRA’s ability to target insect damage – not only major damage, but also the pinhole carpophilus-beetle bites – which was a real eye-opener. And with TOMRA already using such technology in Australia during the 2018 season, we were able to combine laboratory testing with real field data. The BSI+ technology also delivered outstanding results on other, often challenging almond defects such as doubles, gummy-nuts, immature, molded, and stains.”
“The concept of the multiple sorters was also a result of TOMRA’s global and local applications expertise - a perfect interpretation of needs and of tweaking the technology and its implementation sequence to meet our critical objectives," Murphy comments.
Orr 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.
“TOMRA has yet again proven to be the best in class," Orr says. "The real field use and discussions with operators who work daily with the sorters confirmed that the process is so easy to run it is almost child’s-play. What’s more, TOMRA showed a dedication to invest in Australia. Local regional support from TOMRA service facilities in Sydney, Shepparton and soon also in the Sunraysia region - where TOMRA has close to 20 sorters deployed in different industries - were critical elements in our decision process.
Bright Light Agribusiness is one of the largest almond growers in Australia, with orchards in various locations throughout the Sunraysia region. The almond varieties grown include Nonpareil, Carmel, Monterey and Price. Bright Light Agribusiness is an accredited marketer of Australian almonds and exports almonds worldwide to all the major markets.
TOMRA Food designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions for the food industry, using the world’s most advanced grading, sorting, peeling and analytical technology.
Over 8,000 units are installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world for fruits, nuts, vegetables, potato products, grains and seeds, dried fruit, meat and seafood. 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, TOMRA Food operates centers of excellence, regional offices and manufacturing locations within the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.
TOMRA Food is member of the TOMRA Group that was founded on innovation in 1972 that began with design, manufacturing and sale of reverse vending machines (RVMs) for automated collection of used beverage containers. Today, TOMRA has ~95,700 installations in over 80 markets worldwide and had total revenues of ~7.4 billion NOK in 2017. The Group employs ~3,550 globally and is publicly listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. (OSE: TOM).
The TOMRA Group continues to innovate and provide cutting-edge solutions for optimal resource productivity within two main business areas: Collection Solutions (reverse vending and material recovery) and Sorting Solutions (recycling, mining and food sorting). For further information about TOMRA, please see www.tomra.com/food.