The world’s largest fruit and produce exhibition was held in Berlin in February and Anthony went to Germany to get a firsthand look at the latest innovations in both processing and packing equipment, as well as new fruit and vegetable products.
Over 76,000 people visit Fruit Logistica from over 130 countries, including many from New Zealand who often look to negotiate trade in products and look at the latest innovations from over 3000 exhibitors.
EQM has been forging a new relationship with leading sorting technology company Unitec Group from Italy and Anthony spent some of his time at their exhibition sites learning about their capabilities and technology. He was able to introduce Kiwi’s to the latest equipment launched at the show such as the Cherry Vision 3.0 defect technology as well as the new apple sorting innovation (Unical 8.0).
Cherry Vision 3.0 is the world’s first fully automated technology to analyse the entire surface of a cherry, making it possible to comprehensively classify fruit quality: internal and external defects, softness, missing stems, size and colour. For the first time cherries can be classified without human selection (with standard product) and it enables users to increase production and significantly reduce processing costs, since the system is fail-safe. This system is a giant leap ahead that upgrades the well proven Cherry Vision 2.0 technology installed last year for the first time in NZ.
Unical 8.0 is the latest in sorting technology for apple/pear packing and is another world first machine designed for 100% sanitisation, preventing contamination of the apple or pear during processing.
Unical 8.0 guarantees maximum reliability with extremely high efficiency and accuracy in the classification of fruits thanks to the external and internal Apples Sort quality system using extremely high-resolution cameras.
Anthony says it will not be too long before New Zealand sees the first installation of the Unical, as it offers both sanitisation for food safety and security as well as far more accurate defect elimination that international markets are demanding.
Anthony says Fruit Logistica was an amazing experience and he saw some modern twists to traditional fruit and produce including a black garlic that is odour free (leaving you with fresh breath!) and strawberry shaped tomatoes, to name a few.
A theme that was obvious in regards to production improvements was the increase in use of robotic systems, especially but not only in the handling of individual fruit and produce.
The advancement in defect technology was also noticeable with a vast array of cameras using different lights including laser and infrared to select the highest quality products.
Another machine that grabbed Anthony’s attention was a natural branding machine that “naturally marks or brands’ the fruit or produce directly without compromising shelf life, flavour and appearance. It works without colours, additives or chemicals which is further protecting the environment from packaging waste.
“Branding and giving fruit and vegetables their own personality and identity is huge and it is shifting the need for individual labels to this natural type of printing or etching,” he said.