High-performance machine provides a solution for automating set-weight tray filling, optimising production times and saving labour

Sorma Group has developed a new weighing machine for cluster tomatoes as it continues to expand its portfolio of postharvest processing and packaging solutions.

Sorma new tomato weigher

The CP810 VW5 combined weighing machine is designed to overcome the main difficulties relating to the packaging of cluster tomatoes. The most time-consuming, labour-intensive phase in the process is the filling of trays with the right combination of fruit to reach the set weight required by the final customer.

“This weighing machine’s innovative concept is that it assists people in completion of a partially pre-filled tray,” explains Evert-Jan Wassink, sales manager of Sorma Benelux.

“In practice, the worker part-fills the tray with products by hand, and then depending on the weight reached, the machine finds the best combination for reaching the guaranteed minimum weight and places the missing weight of fruit on the line next to the tray to be completed.

“CP810 VW5’s throughput capacity is up to 60 punnets a minute, making it unique on the market.”

According to Sorma, its new machine is able to take trays up to 30cm long and 20cm wide, saves labour and optimises gross saleable product while eliminating the need for six operatives (with two lines working side by side) and preventing the production of overweight trays. It went on the market at the start of this year and the first sales are already being made in the Netherlands and Italy.

“Tomatoes are one of the fruits with the highest consumption rates globally,” says marketing manager Mario Mercadini, “but the trade is currently facing a paradoxical situation, with on the one hand staggering rises in production costs, especially for greenhouse-grown products, which have partially been passed on to selling prices, the labour shortage and, on the other, the real risk of a fall-off in demand due to these price increases.

“Keeping processing costs down is therefore fundamental for maintaining competitiveness.”

Sorma said the CP810 VW5 weighing machine can also be used for grapes as well as other products with a shape that does not roll.

Another product showcased in Berlin will be HyperVision, the advanced-technology platform for the Sormatech sorter machine, able to analyse up to 15 pieces of fruit per second, compared to an average of 12 for other solutions on the market.

HyperVision functions by means of nine cameras for each line of the optical sorter machine, three colour and six NIR (using an analysis method based on matter’s interaction with near infrared radiation).

The platform acquires and analyses superimposed hyperspectral images in both the visible and the Nir regions for each fruit, which is turned through 360° underneath the inspection system. This ensures the most accurate selection based on internal and external quality, colour and shape.

During the trade fair, Sorma will be organising two information sessions at its stand every day, at which its managers will illustrate operation of the various machines on the screen and explain their distinctive characteristics. More information about the times and schedule of meetings will be available on the Group’s website.