Courtesy Tomra Sorting SolutionsTomra's Helius lettuce sorterNorway-based Tomra Sorting Solutions is targeting U.S. lettuce growers and processors with technology featuring laser sorting based on chlorophyll content, plus foreign material detection.
Tomra’s Fluo laser technology and Advanced Foreign Material Detector (AFMD) are available with its Genius belt sorters and Nimbus free-fall, double-sided laser sorters.
The laser system, developed in partnership with the University of Brussels, can be applied to other vegetables containing chlorophyll such as spinach, peas and green beans.
“(It) creates a clear black-and-white contrast between good lettuce and inferior produce or foreign objects, containing lower amounts of the pigment or none at all,” Karel Strubbe, Tomra sales manager for the Americas and Oceania, said in a news release.
It detects rotten spots and stray objects such as stones, plastic, glass, wood or metal.
The foreign material detector identifies defects or objects previously difficult to distinguish due to similar color or structure.
Besides detection, it offers a new application to baby leaf processors.
“These organizations can now introduce radicchio or frisée lettuce into their mixes before they enter the sorting unit,” Strubbe said. Previously those had to be added in after sorting.
“The AFMD means processors can now sort virtually every kind of baby mix, targeting defects perfectly,” he said.
It can also identify mold in baby leaf spinach.
In addition to foreign material identification in multicolor assortments such as spring mix, Tomra’s combined offerings provide core detection in iceberg or romaine, according to the company. The technology is modular and customizable.
The subsidiary of Tomra Systems reports sales to U.S. lettuce growers and processors are rising.