Courtesy Unitec S.p.A.Jorge Sanchez (left), Northern Fruit Co. sales and marketing director, and Doug Pauly, owner, check out the new optical sorter installed before the start of this year’s cherry season.Northern Fruit Co., Wenatchee, Wash., has continued to upgrade its cherry sorting line with the installation of a 12-lane optical grader/sorter from Lugo, Italy-based Unitec S.p.A. in May.
It follows the installation of a Unitec six-lane optical grader/sorter before the start of the 2012 cherry season, according to a news release.
The 12-lane unit alone can sort and grade up to 9 tons of cherries per hour, according to the release.
As a result, every cherry the Wenatchee operation packs undergoes optical inspection.
Both units feature the patented Cherry Vision, a computerized system that uses a combination of photography, infrared imaging and lasers to detect both external and internal defects without damaging fruit.
“The electronic defect removal is a significant help for staying in grade on high-damage lots,” Northern Fruit owner Doug Pauly said in the release. “The same is true with softness detection features.”
In addition, Northern Fruit installed a Unitec cluster cutter to separate cherries joined together at the stems.