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.