GP Graders:

AU: Cherry grading technology 'more perceptive than human eye'

Australia's GP Graders has recently supplied a 10 lane AirJet™ Electronic Cherry Grader with Defect Grading Technology to Wandin Valley Farms in Victoria. The new installation, including bin tipper and automatic carton fillers, was almost a full line but incorporated some existing GP Graders machinery.

Stuart Payne, of GP Graders, explains, “The AirJet™ Grader sorts cherries according to colour, size, shape and the presence of defects."

Stuart says that the graders is more perceptive than the human eye, as witnessed by Wandin Valley Farms since their recent investment.

"Wandin Valley's Allison Jones noticed cherries that looked good to her being discarded, but on closer inspection found them to be soft."

Wandin Valley were looking for a machine to handle higher volumes of cherries and increase productivity at the same time as cutting costs.

"In the first week they were packing more fruit with less staff," says Stuart. "They found that as they increase volumes the consistency remains accurate. As a result they no longer have to give away fruit to make up for less accuracy."

The technology has been developed in partnership with Dutch company, Ellips, Stuart explained.

"It is the combination of premium software, carefully designed lighting and camera systems and precision machinery that work together to achieve defect grading.

"The detail we need to capture demands three high resolution cameras on each lane, each capturing ten images. The role of the machine is to ensure that each cherry is presented individually for the image capture.

To achieve this the cherries need to travel fast and be handled gently by the machinery."

The Wandin Valley grader is just one of several successes for the company this year. Four new graders were sold to large Victorian packers and defect software was fitted to existing AirJet™ machines in South Australia and Tasmania.

"This season 90% of Victoria's cherry crop will be graded with this technology."

The company have also exported Cherry Defect Grading Technology to the USA, Chile, Turkey and Europe. Stuart says that the technology is being used for the second season in Chile, by Del Monte and Copefrut, amongst others.

"We expect to sell this technology in all major cherry markets. It is a game changer and can reduce staffing costs by 60% in many large operations, as the number of inspection staff can be more than halved in many cases," Stuart concludes.

For more information:
Stuart Payne
GP Graders

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