With automation rapidly improving, the cherry industry is seeing a breakthrough in technology with new machines revolutionising the quality control practises of packers. Australian based agriculture technology (ag-tech) firm GP Graders’ new AirJet Vision® camera technology utilises innovative ultra-high definition camera technology to give a sharp picture resolution for monitoring the size, colour and defects of the produce that passes through the grader.
Black and white, colour and NIR HD cameras capture 30 images of each rotating cherry.
A synchronised image analysis then sorts the cherries at a speed of 30.2 units per second per lane, yielding high productivity while maintaining grading accuracy, with tests reaching an 80% accuracy rate.
“With regards to average-sized fruit, this translates to capabilities of over 700kg per lane per hour,” said a spokesperson for GP Graders.
The camera resolution and grading features of AirJet Vision® separates produce to standards that go beyond the previous capabilities of the industry, minimising human error. The software can detect and remove defects such as splits, cracks, rot, bruising, scars, reds and greens and decay. It can also detect if any stem remains on the fruit, ejecting it to a separate category.
“The AirJet Vision® software now puts GP Graders in complete control of the development process of its machinery,” the spokesperson said.
“This has allowed the company to constantly improve the software to respond to the changing demands and competitive nature of the industry.”
GP Graders undertook in-depth research and testing of the Vision camera technology with growers and packers in mind.
In the research and development phase of developing AirJet Vision®, GP Graders found that growers and packers wanted a grader for a reasonable price, with superior performance in a readily usable format without undue complexity.
Ultimately, they needed grading technology that will give them an edge in the market against their competitors.
“The AirJet® grader now has a suite of new software solutions and pipeline of hardware and software developments that places the technology at the forefront of electronic vision technology for small produce such as cherries, cherry and grape tomatoes and blueberries,” the spokesperson said.
“GP Graders has ensured that the interface is easy-to-understand and improves reporting to deliver accurate packing and analytical data.”
Greater consistency of produce quality creates more buying power for the packer and can also help them to break into lucrative markets that would otherwise be impossible to access.
“The cherry industry is seeing exciting times,” the spokesperson said.
“Ag-tech technology and automation are creating opportunities where everyone wins.”
“Not only will growers and packers produce better results and improves efficiencies, but consumers will also enjoy a more consistent, desirable fruit.”