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Automating perishable fruit sorting, to increase food quality, safety and customer satisfaction

  • Food & Agriculture
  • Reflectance
  • High Sensitivity

Ocean Insight and Lugo Machinery & Innovation partnered to create a fully integrated system that scans and sorts up to 25 fresh dates every second without the need for human intervention

Challenge

Traditional food sorting methods rely on the expertise of workers to make quality assessments based on the human eye. Lugo sought to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of the sorting process using Ocean Insight’s optical sensing hardware and machine learning, aiming to improve customer trust and ensure food quality.

Lugo’s implementation timeline was very short, with only four months until date season, and they had limited prior experience with spectroscopy.

Insight

Based on samples from Lugo, Ocean Insight’s application scientists performed in-house feasibility studies, quickly developing a method of measuring moisture levels in the fruit and determining the best optical hardware components for the system.

Ocean Insight then went to the customer site in Israel to analyze a larger sample set of dates. With this data, a team of software engineers at Ocean developed proprietary machine learning algorithms that overcome interferences experienced by traditional chemometrics.

Lugo was aware of date moisture response between 850-900 nm and imagined the analysis would focus solely in that region. Ocean Insight extended this spectral range to include other repeatable spectral features that had a statistical impact. This level of applied spectral knowledge is something Ocean Insight can offer to customers whose expertise lies outside of spectroscopy.

The resulting system can now detect fruit abnormalities that humans would miss and provides smarter, more streamlined correlations among datasets.

The global date market continues to grow and poses technical challenges for quality sorting. We develop new technologies for identifying internal quality and defects of fruit. The search for innovative technology led to cooperation with Ocean Insight.

Ofir Luk - Lugo Machinery & Innovation

Solution

Ocean Insight partnered with Lugo Machinery and Innovation, a manufacturer of food sorting systems based in Israel, to develop a fully automated date sorting system that delivers greater accuracy and efficiency than traditional methods.

Ocean Insight supplied sophisticated optical sensing hardware and worked with Lugo to create an advanced algorithm that could appropriately sort dates based on moisture content. Lugo integrated Ocean Insight’s spectral platform into a conveyor-belt system with the algorithms running on a devoted PC. The spectrometer module communicates with the system, triggering an action to a valve that sorts the dates according to their moisture classification. The architecture of this sorting system scans each date and weighs over 12 potential correlation models, generating the output in mere milliseconds.

This automated system has reduced overhead cost and improved safety at the facilities that use the system. The collaboration between Ocean and Lugo unlocks the potential for even deeper use of advanced tools and machine learning for the food sorting industry and will help ensure the future of food safety.

The fruitful collaboration [between Lugo and Ocean] began with us sending samples for the first examination and has included regular meetings with the technical teams from both companies. Sharing knowledge in optics, mechanics and software brought us, in a short time, to the desired result.

Ofir Luk - Lugo Machinery & Innovation

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