Improve your apple grading results with Ellips' TrueSort
Technological advancements (i.e., HD cameras, LED lighting, increased processing speed, etc.) have enabled a dramatic improvement in the apple grading technology over the past 10 years. This applies especially to external and internal defect capabilities. Ellips has been at the forefront of this development with its TrueSort grading and sorting solution which provides unmatched capabilities as it relates to all aspects of apple grading.
Weight can be measured of every single apple on a cup system or roller system with built-in weighing system. Accurate weights (less than 1 gram) are possible, even at high speed (up to 15 cups/second).The system automatically corrects the weight by taking into account factors such as temperature differences and dust accumulation throughout the day.
The size module measures properties of the apple, for which the contour and stalk and calix of the product is used. The accuracy of the measurements is considerably increased by viewing the product from various angles. The apple is rotated under the camera and multiple images are taken of the same product. In this manner, we can measure the diameter, length, and surface area. Defects in shape can also be detected and in addition we can detect when 2 products are positioned in 1 cup or roller. While rotating 10 images are made of each product. In the Ellips TrueSort Software Imperial units or Metric Units can be selected for Weight and Size classes. Diameter is calculated with an accuracy of 0.1mm.
The color of the fruit is highly representative of the quality and ripeness of the fruit. Using the color module, you can – based on live feedback from the cameras – determine the color on which you want to grade the fruit (for example, the percentage of blush on an apple). On machines with multiple rollers, consecutive images of a camera are combined to assess one large image of the entire surface of the fruit. As an alternative, images from multiple cameras at various angles can be combined in order to view the entire surface. The characteristics of the apple, therefore, are calculated based on as much information as possible. Ultrafine color separations are obtained through TrueSort’s intuitive software that enables operators to quickly create or modify color spectra.
In order to determine some properties of the fruit, the color module alone is not enough. Shape and context are important for determining and distinguishing characteristics such as the crown, stem, molds, bruises and scratches. For external quality, Ellips incorporated HD cameras and LED lighting into our TrueSort Vision System years ago while some competitive solutions have only recently begun to utilize these advanced technologies. While the use of HD cameras enables better visual identification of defect, it also creates massive amounts of data which needs to be addressed with increased processing power and more sophisticated software algorithms in order to be beneficial. Ellips has developed and refined the processing and software capabilities necessary to utilize these advanced technologies while the competition is still working to develop the use of this advanced technology. Ellips customers can quickly establish “variety specific” grading parameters that provide consistent detection of the most prevalent external defects (i.e., bruises, limb rub, russet, bird peck, sunburn, bitter pit, flecking and punctures). Once the defects are identified, TrueSort software sorts the apples into various grades (i.e., premium, second, peeler, cull, etc.) based upon threshold values established for defect severity, count or area.
Ellips TrueSort internal quality solution utilizes transmittance technology to assess the internal quality of the apple. The system’s unique light projection capabilities enables light to pass through the apple while corresponding sensors take up multiple measurements as the apple travels through the sensing area. By capturing and analyzing the spectral data (i.e., frequency and intensity) associated with the light coming out of the apple, the composition can be determined. For example, the frequency and intensity of the light passing through a “bad” apple is different than that of a “good” apple. Ellips has developed industry leading software and algorithms that enable the system to analyze this data and make the best possible quality decisions.
The TrueSort internal quality system detects internal browning, water core and other internal defects. Testing and operating results have proven that Ellips internal quality performance is superior to the competition and performs well on apples regardless of size or variety.
Most importantly, TrueSort’s external and internal quality solutions help improve the quality and consistency of the packed product while significantly decreasing manual sorting costs.
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Our system will provide great opportunities to improve overall operating efficiencies while achieving significant ROI. This payback can be achieved within 3 to 4 years through operational efficiency and reductions in food waste and labour costs. Most customers have earned their investment back in less than 15 months!