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TOMRA Food celebrates 50th anniversary

By
Keith Loria

TOMRA Food’s integrated solutions automate the processing and packaging of blueberries to maximize efficiency in the packhouse and optimize the value of crops. Precise optical sorting and sizing of blueberries, using the KATO260, allows TOMRA’s customers to stream their products into various grades.

“This extracts premium value from the best fruit, ensures the highest quality across all grades, and creates value-added opportunities for lower grade berries,” said Joshua Miers-Jones, global category director of blueberries at TOMRA Food. “And by optimizing the return from the crop, this reduces food waste and ensures that every berry counts.”

The company’s fully integrated solutions for the blueberry industry are unique, as its portfolio of technologies includes solutions for grading, packing, traceability, and peripherals, making TOMRA the best partner in the packhouse for all sorting and packing requirements.

“Because our technologies are modular, we can offer appropriate solutions for producers and packhouses of all sizes, and we can scale those solutions if their requirements change or their volumes increase,” Miers-Jones said. “Our in-house Berry Science Program supports our research and development teams to secure TOMRA as the industry leading provider of integrated solutions for blueberries.”

One of the keys to success is the company’s commitment to growing with its customers as their partners.

“We focus on achieving best-in-class after-sales support and category expertise, continually invest in R&D, and deliver a pipeline of new innovative solutions,” Miers-Jones said. “We continue to see high sales and growth opportunities from fast-developing counter-seasonal berry markets such as Peru, Southern Africa, and Mexico, as well as tremendous growth from markets such as Morocco and China as they make a transition to optical berry sorting and sizing.”

In fact, there are currently more than 2,400 lanes of KATO260 optical sorters installed globally, and the company anticipates that number to keep increasing.

TOMRA is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, a milestone that has come thanks to its ability to adapt, innovate and provide the solutions its customers really need.

“It is TOMRA’s pioneering and transformative approach which has led to its continuing development over the years — from designing and manufacturing reverse vending machines to providing advanced sorting solutions for the food, recycling and mining industries,” Miers-Jones said. 

With a philosophy to transform how it obtains and uses the planet’s resources to enable a world without waste, TOMRA is committed to leading the resource revolution in a world where every resource counts.

“Although TOMRA turns 50 this year, we believe that we are just getting started and that our mission to help create a world without waste is more important than ever,” Miers-Jones said. “We are committed to working even more closely with growers, packers and food processors to optimize food production, bit by bit. Focusing on customer needs and using the most advanced digital solutions, we believe we can greatly contribute to reducing food loss, which the world urgently needs. And our solutions empower our customer’s businesses by improving the value of food, from harvesting to processing and packing.”

And the innovation keeps coming. For instance, at Fruit Logistica in Berlin this past February, TOMRA launched its new robotic case packing technology, the KETE16. This automates the process of placing punnets and clamshells into cases, trays, boxes, and crates, and integrates seamlessly to match the speed and capacity of the fastest filling machine, the CURO16.

“The KETE16 is a versatile, high-capacity, end-of-line system with abilities the industry hasn’t seen before,” Miers-Jones said. “No other robotic packing solution can accommodate a wide variety of pack designs at high speeds. This machine is flexible to punnet size, case size, and pack orientation, and makes it easy to change between different packs.”

Also of note, TOMRA Food recently opened a new Field Research Centre in Waikato, New Zealand, which is home of the Berry Science Program. This is located in a two-level building, which can host up to 280 employees, with 3,300 square-meters of factory space and 1,800 square-meters for offices and R&D. There’s a production design facility, cool storage, a facility for full test simulations, engineering space, and fruit science test labs, and two hectares of ground are being developed into horticultural test orchards.

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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