Compac's new Field Research Unit is packed with equipment to analyze fruits and vegetables in a lab setting anywhere in the supply chain. ( Courtesy Compac )

Compac has a new laboratory designed to be deployed directly to fields and orchards, packed with the latest in analytical sensor technologies from parent company Tomra.

A converted 40-foot shipping container, the Field Research Unit is used to facilitate easy transport to hotspots where fresh produce needs to be investigated.

The mobile lab was introduced at the 10th Citrus Research International Symposium in Drakensburg, South Africa, Aug. 19-22, and began customer-based testing in early September.

While there is no plans to bring the lab to the U.S., the company says it will be available to customers across the globe, and the U.S. is a possible deployment area.

The portable lab can be deployed close to the source of fruit or vegetable origin or anywhere in the supply chain, according to a news release. Compac supplies packinghouse sorters, and Compac and Tomra have research and sensor development centers in Europe and New Zealand, but there can be challenges accessing produce, according to the release, particularly with restrictions on infected and diseased produce.

The Field Research Unit has spectrometers, hyperspectral imaging equipment, texture analyzers and Compac’s Inspectra internal inspection system for fresh produce.

“For our customers, the Field Research Unit has the unrivalled convenience of bringing a sophisticated test laboratory right to their front door,” Dean Barker, director of research & development projects at Compac, said in the release.

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