The successful rollout of Compac’s Spectrim optical fruit grading platform has prompted the company to begin retrofitting the technology on competitor machinery.
Launched last year, nearly 500 lanes of the platform have already been sold across the US, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, South Africa, South America and China, as existing Compac customers look to upgrade from the company’s previous InVision system.
“Initial adoption of Spectrim has significantly exceeded our forecast,” said Perry Sansom, Compac’s vice president of marketing and product. “Last year’s financial results saw Compac grow revenues by over 40 per cent. Since we launched Spectrim, we are on track to sell 75 per cent more lanes of blemish grading than the previous twelve months.”
With demand for Spectrim also ensuing from non-Compac packhouses, a dedicated team has been established to make the platform more widely available.
“The launch of our Spectrim retrofit product onto competitors’ machines has absolutely been driven by market demand, as they look to lift the performance of their non-Compac sorters,” Sansom added.
Retrofits are not a new strategy for Compac. In 2014, the New Zealand-headquartered company installed its inspection technology on Booth Ranches’ non-Compac packing line.
“It allowed us to use a lot of the mechanical hardware from our previous grading equipment,” said Scott Carlisle, food safety coordinator at Booth Ranches. “They simply came in and upgraded the software and the cameras and lighting ability so it’s able to see these different visual defects that maybe we weren’t seeing, with our previous sorting equipment.”
Spectrim detects the quality of produce by taking up to 500 high definition images of each piece of fruit that passes over the sorter, detecting external blemishes. The process is aimed at delivering its customers the highest possible return from their crop.
“Since Spectrim, we’ve needed a smaller crew to run the line efficiently - a typical shift had 16 people sorting and now a typical shift has nobody sorting and we’re also able to run faster,” explained Mikey Hanks from Washington Fruit, the first customer to have Spectrim installed in their apple packhouse. “It was not long into packing with this system that we were able to pull the sorters off the line and have the same consistent grade.”