Rotten apples now readily identified

GP Graders has entered into a technology partnership with Ellips of Holland to revolutionise the ability for apple packers to identify apples with internal defects in order to meet the increasing supermarket demands which is crippling the industry.

“This cutting-edge technology will change the industry, and strengthen the packers ability to provide defect free apples to supermarkets,” said Stuart Payne, Managing Director, GP Graders.

The system uses light spectrometer technology and takes 10 images sliced across each apple to detect internal browning and core rot wherever it is located in the fruit.

The technology doesn’t just shoot a beam of light through the centre of the apple to look at the core in isolation, it also analyses the entire mass of the apple, slicing the apple at 10 incremental stages in order to check for internal rot or browning wherever it is located through the fruit.  This is a standout feature of the technology as older technology only took one light image through the centre of an apple.

Ellips Chief Executive Officer, Erwin Baker oversaw the installation operating first hand at GP Graders’ head office in Melbourne, Australia, where the technology has been fitted to an operating apple line.

Bins of apples were run through the system allowing GP Graders to intensively test and demonstrate the technology.

“The results were remarkable,” said Payne.

Of those apples discarded to an exit with a reading of internal browning and core rot, 100% of them in fact showed those characteristics when cut open.  Of those apples that were deemed not to have a reading of internal or core rot, only one single apple showed specific characteristics when cut into during the collation of test results.  The total sample size was 1,500 apples.

On-site visits to GP Graders manufacturing plant to see the live demonstration of the technology working will be available until mid August with several sales already being concluded within days of its release.

GP Graders have been designing and manufacturing turn-key apple grading and packing lines since their beginning in 1963 with hundreds of packing lines in operations throughout Australia and the world.

DTS Food Assurance heading to foodpro

DTS Food Assurance specialises in testing, inspection and certification services for food manufacturing industries such as the meat, dairy, confectionery, beverage, seeds and grain sectors.

Visitors to next week’s exhibition can find the company at Stand W58.

The company is one of the leading food assurance service providers in Australia, utilising large food microbiology and chemistry laboratories, as well as extensive inspection and certification scope. With more than 60 years of experience, DTS Food Assurance has continually offered solutions to food processing companies from the farm, right through to the consumer.

The company provides an extensive range of services, helping to achieve a rapid time-to-market for high-quality food products. It has a dedicated team of technical specialists with expertise in areas such as auditing and inspection, chemical analysis (including forensic), certification, allergen testing, risk management, and microbiological consultation. Its commitment to high-quality service ensures customers are provided with the latest technologies and methodologies.

In addition, the company’s state-of-the-art laboratory facilities are National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited and it has 12 quarantine-approved premises. Its Seed division uses enhanced and innovative testing methodologies, offering seed certification to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, Seedcare, and domestic standards. DTS performs GMO testing, International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) certificates, and field inspection services, as well as phytosanitary clearance and electronic reporting.

Delivered by Bureau Veritas together with AsureQuality, DTS offers inspection and certification services to help ensure food products meet safety, ethics, and sustainability standards. The company’s network of auditors provide independent and integrated inspection, verification, and certification to retailers, producers, and processors in agricultural and food industries.

Through its partners, DTS has an extensive portfolio of international and domestic accreditations, including management system and product certifications, as well as regulatory and approved supplier programs.

IBM and ABB develop AI assistant for manufacturing quality assurance

Working with ABB, IBM has developed a new AI assistant to help manufacturers detect defects on the production line.

The Cognitive Visual Inspection System is connected to ABB’s industrial monitoring system, ABB Ability, and will help manufacturers improve speed, yield, and uptime, according to the company.

The system works by transferring images from an ultra-high-definition (UHD) camera to a section of IBM’s Watson software that has been trained to detect and classify production faults in real time.

According to IBM, Watson can inspect parts up to five times faster than production workers, and can detect faults not visible to the human eye. Furthermore, the system can increase both production speed and yield, as it enables manufacturers to potentially inspect every product coming off the line, allowing them to reject or rework only faulty products rather than complete batches.

ABB also hopes to utilise Watson in electricity generation, to predict electricity demand based on weather patterns.

Woolworths appoints SAI Global to Supplier Excellence audit program

Woolworths today announced the appointment of SAI Global as an approved service delivery partner of their new Supplier Excellence program, which focuses on improving quality and product safety standards across its extensive global sourcing network.

SAI Global is one of four certification bodies to be appointed by Woolworths to conduct audits across their food supplier base in Australia and New Zealand following an extensive tender process.

As the largest food retailer in Australia, Woolworths is committed to delivering the highest food standards to its 28 million customers and as a result has made changes to their roster of approved auditing bodies. SAI Global will continue to support Woolworths, ensuring that Australians can be confident that the food they are purchasing is of the highest quality standard.

“We are excited to be working with Woolworths to help manage its food safety compliance through the supply chain,” said Paul Butcher, Chief Commercial Officer, SAI Global.

“Customers are at the heart of the brand and giving the company more control over its food quality, safety and compliance to ensure the best possible experience for consumers is key to the business. SAI Global is committed to helping Woolworths achieve this goal and using our extensive capabilities, specialist knowledge and technical skills in this field to drive the business forward.”

This appointment further demonstrates SAI Global’s commitment to providing risk management solutions to Retail, Food and Agribusiness (RAF) industries. SAI Global helps customers of all sizes throughout the entire supply chain across more than 100 countries.

Consumers are highly informed and concerned about food safety, so compliance to safety procedures is a vital part of running food supply chains. SAI Global is taking a leading role in helping to embed product safety processes and culture within RAF industries, ensuring higher consumer satisfaction and safety.

SAI Global looks forward to working with Woolworths in helping to ensure the safety and quality of the products sold to their customers.

Portable humidity validator

The new HygroCal100 humidity verifier from Michell Instruments provides a practical option for companies that are not able to invest in a full humidity calibration laboratory to verify their humidity probes in-house. The unit is cost-effective and is available either on its own or with a choice of options to meet a variety of needs. 

On its own, the HygroCal100 provides a simple way to validate humidity probes on site. Weighing just 3.2kg and with a battery life of up to 8h it is easily portable. It is capable of validating up to 7 probes of different sizes simultaneously, and has a simple automatic validation program which allows the operator to ‘set and forget’ while the unit is working.

While the HygroCal100 comes with its own internal reference, it can also be integrated with any hygrometer with an analogue output to act as an external reference. This gives users the flexibility to incorporate their traceable reference units in their validation routines. 

The unit is also available as part of a package to enable users to start making traceable calibration checks immediately. 

One option supplies both the HygroCal100 with an Optidew Vision chilled mirror hygrometer, which provides a fundamental reference. The kit includes port adaptors to fit both the dew point and temperature sensors into the chamber.

Halogen Moisture Analyser

Mettler Toledo has launched its newest halogen moisture analyser, the HC103, which measures moisture content in minutes, enabling fast response times for quality control and in-process control. 

A large colour touchscreen, graphical user guidance and real-time drying curve make the HC103 easy to use, even for untrained operators. Whether you work in a busy laboratory or a harsh production environment, the compact design saves space and the robust construction guarantees a long instrument lifetime.

With touchscreen operation and an intuitive user interface, the HC103 is easy to use. Operators can access drying methods directly from the home screen with just 'One Click'. Just add the sample to the weighing pan, tare and press start. 

As the drying program is running, a real-time drying curve is displayed on the screen to provide an overview of the progress. Operators can clearly see if the measurement is on target and are able to intervene quickly in the production process where necessary.

There is no need to manually record the results as the HC103 can generate result reports in the form of PDF or CSV files in addition to standard printouts. These can be conveniently transferred via the RS232 or USB ports to fulfill documentation and traceability requirements. In addition, new drying methods are easily uploaded to the HC103 via the USB port. 

Mettler Toledo provides a collection of validated drying methods for over 100 different samples.

Pet food & large packages leak / seal tester

SealTick TSE 6089L is an on-demand leak testing unit for pet food and pet care products specifically in large size packages up to 22Kg. 

The Sealtick TSE 6089L is already in use around the world for testing a wide range of food products, and the operation of 6089L is fast, simple and safe. A quantitative result is written into the internal log.  

Logs can be retrieved by connecting via USB, or optional Ethernet, for quality traceability. Different products can be selected on the controller and tested using a product specific test procedure. 

The key benefit of using SealTick leak testers is that they do not stress or inflate the tested package, is a dry and non-destructive solution to cope with a wide range of shapes and sizes of finished goods. 

User requires minimum training to operate this package leak tester. The instrument is switched on only to be connected to air and power, and it is ready to test when the lid is opened. 

Place a package in, close the lid to initiate the test, and within as short as 20 seconds the test is finished and a pass or fail indicator will be lit up to tell the user if there is any leakage on the tested packaging.

The stainless steel construction also makes it ideal for use in a food production environment. 

Quality control camera for food makers

The Wenglor weQube Smart Camera is based on the MultiCore technology and combines image processing with 1D/2D code scanning, and can basically do everything. 

The compact, high performance smart camera offers all the features of an advanced image processing sensor, yet is far more superior. It is the future of the automation industry, opening up a an abundance of new opportunities.  It is suitable for counting objects, reading barcodes and 2D codes, presence control and dimensional accuracy check.

The weQube combines all features and components required for smooth image processing  into its compact housing, including illumination and communication interfaces that are often external components on other cameras. 

 It combines innovative software with five high performance processors for rapid image processing without any loss of time. It offers two different image chip versions of colour and monochrome, and a teach+ function for easy remote maintenance and checking of the system.

The 3D tracking and autofocus provide optimal object detection. The camera has a graphic display and 12 powerful LEDs of red light, white light or infrared light,  in the housing to provide reliable illumination and prevent loss of brightness.

The weQube smart camera allows for versatile and flexible networking with numerous communication interfaces. These include Ethernet, PROFINET, RS-232 and FTP server. It offers a replaceable screening grid and integrated polarisation filter, making it suitable for special applications in rough environments. It offers six free inputs and outputs, an encoder output, a removable micro SD card, an intuitive set-up wizard and a compact IP67 housing.