Following a growing demand for blueberries, UK-based family-owned business S&A Produce has introduced a Tomra Primus-D optical belt sorter to better assure quality control of its popular produce. Blueberries account for nearly one third of S&A’s business, making them a major priority. An improvement upon the previous inspection process—which was far slower than desired—the Tomra Primus-D uses color cameras and laser technology to identify discolored and overly ripe berries before packaging. Rejected berries are automatically separated from the passing products, which are then gently handled by the Primus-D. The Primus-D is capable of sorting and packaging blueberries at a rate of 3.6 tons of per hour. Jan-Willem Naerebout, Group Operations Director of S&A said:

“We carefully assessed the different technologies available and what particularly attracted us to the Tomra solution was that, unlike other systems which used the bounce of the berries to detect which were soft, the Tomra laser technique means there is no need to touch the product and this further ensures its quality when it reaches the pack.”


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