A Bengaluru-based IT start-up has developed a machine that can grade fruits with high speed. This machine, said to be the country’s first ‘optical fruit grading system’, can grade ten oranges per second, on various parameters, according to Jagadeesh C. Sunkad, who was part of the team that developed the grader.
The machine, developed by engineers on behalf of Zentron Labs, can grade oranges while a similar facility for apples is also ready. The grading system for tomato, onion and mango is under development. It grades fruits on the parameters of size, colour, weight and any surface defects.
“Grading of fruits is very much required for farmers to get remunerative prices as consumers prefer quality produce. But grading is a laborious process as it is being done only manually so far in India,” explained Sunkad.
This machine can grade four to 10 tonnes of oranges per hour and is far cheaper than the imported variant. He underwent a training through Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) to understand various technical and scientific processes involved in grading of fruits before developing the machine. “It is basically the convergence of technologies as a team of 50 engineers with specialisation in different subjects have come together to develop this,” he said, while pointing out that the machine will have multiple cameras to identify different aspects of fruits.