Ackio’s new cherry line gives customers control over quality

Ackio—an automated fruit packer of blueberries, cherries, cranberries and cherry tomatoes—now offers a new cherry grader, which allows cherries to be selected by any number and combination of criteria, giving customers greater choice and precision in their final product requirements. 

The new technology uses the white light spectrum and cameras, which take 50 frames per second of each cherry. This means that Ackio is able to detect more of the defects, especially in darker fruits. Being highly automated, the new cherry line also produces a higher yield at lower cost compared to manual quality control. 

Both customers and growers can get a better return on larger cherries, which Ackio is able to grade out rather than classifying all the fruit as one size. Because the cameras are able to detect defects that might be difficult to spot with the human eye, customers can run later into the season when fruit is on the edge of quality. 

All of Ackio’s operations and service capabilities are custom designed and configured to meet customer’s demands. The process cherries go through when they reach Ackio direct from the grower will vary depending on the type of intake and the customer’s final product specification. Ackio has several highly automated production lines that suit different types of fruit. This includes two grading lines for handling cherries. These are configured to grade cherries from 15mm to 40mm and will reject anything that falls out of this specification. 

The first line will give the cherries an Aqualutions wash, a natural and 
environmentally friendly way of cleaning and sanitising the fruit. It will then optically grade out the cherries based on quality and size. They’re then ready for the second line, which utilises Ackio’s new grader. This will optically—and exactly—grade out the cherries to the customer’s own criteria, based on any number of detailed specifications. From here, the final product is automatically weighed and packaged into the choice punnet and either flow wrapped or top sealed. All the products go through a secondary Checkweigher to ensure Ackio is maximising the customer’s yield. 

The new cherry grader is part of Ackio’s continual programme of investment in new technologies. In 2011 for example, Ackio spotted an opportunity to pack South American blueberries from loose in bulk and sourced and configured a highly specialist packing machine that was the first of its kind in the UK, an investment of £1.5M. A further investment, in robotics, began earlier this year [2016].

Rachel Carson, Customer Services Manager of Ackio, says: “Ackio invests heavily in the latest technologies and our new cherry grader is the most sophisticated in Europe. By automatically selecting the quality of cherries by any number of criteria, it allows the customer more choice in what they require and, ultimately, delivers a better quality product for the consumer.”

For more information:
Gemma Bessant, PR Manager
Tel: 07779 247508

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