Vision Sort Labeling Solutions has taken its automated labeling system commercial, starting with its use this summer for stone fruit at Traver, Calif.-based New Leaf Packing & Cold Storage.

Vision Sort uses a computerized machine vision process to create traceability case labels — with GS1-128 bar codes — as fresh produce of varying sizes and pack styles comes down a line.

The technology is aimed at fruit and vegetable commodities where such differences exist on a single line, said Garth Gaddy. He and Mike Jost are partners in Reedley, Calif.-based Vision Sort Labeling Solutions.

“Boxes on the line will vary randomly in pack style, produce size and grade,” Gaddy said. “Since the produce process is dynamic, the bar code labeling system must be dynamic as well.”

A single 10-foot unit reads each box, prints and applies the labels. Video appears on YouTube.

“We can process 60 boxes a minute with ease all day long and surge to 80,” Gaddy said. “To some people that’s not important. But anybody who does Costco boxes, for one, will require speed because those are so small.”

No changes to conveyor speeds are typically needed on either side.

Vision Sort offers automated labelingThe system has been in use since June 1 at New Leaf Packing, whose sales agent is Scattaglia Growers & Shippers LLC. Demonstration units were installed later in the summer at two more California grower-shippers, which Gaddy declined to name.

Vision Sort is also planning a demonstration for the trade with a dual printer unit at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Oct. 26-28 in Anaheim, Calif. The company is scheduled for booth 4376.

“We are positioning ourselves to be able to scale production and support to whatever the demand is, wherever it is, but there is plenty to do locally (in California),” Gaddy said.

At New Leaf Packing, the technology was used on peaches, plums and nectarines. The company envisions citrus as another possible destination, or any produce with variable sizing or pack styles.

“It just depends on whether it’s dynamic produce or not on the production line,” Gaddy said. “Spinach may be running the same size for net weight with one GTIN or PLU number for a whole shift. They could do that with a $500 piece of software. But if they had different varieties of spinach, they might need something like this.”

Vision Sort’s cost has not been disclosed, but it comes with variously priced options.

Competitors offering similar labeling systems include ProduceJet LLC, also based in Reedley; HarvestMark; Lotpath; and Spokane Software Systems Inc.