Abi Ramanan, CEO and co-founder at ImpactVision (left) says the benefits of the firm's technology will be less waste and more consistent packout. Also pictured: Ksenia Horoshenkova, director of finance and operations, and Gustav Nipe, chief technology officer.

( Tom Karst )

A rapid and non-invasive way to measure dry matter content, which would help determine ripeness in avocados, is close to commercialization.

Abi Ramanan, CEO and co-founder at ImpactVision, said the company has developed software that works with existing hardware to measure dry matter content in avocados and other products.

Ramanan said less than 3% of avocados are tested for dry matter content and the results of those sample tests are extrapolated to bigger lots. That leads to avocados of varying maturity, which are ripened inconsistently and can result in higher rates of rejection.

With ImpactVision, Ramanan said the dry matter content of every avocado on a packing line is read through reflections off the avocados from halogen illumination (hyper-spectral imaging). That reading determines the dry matter content and relative ripeness.

“Every single fruit is assigned its own value for dry matter and can, therefore, be ripened in a much more consistent way and with much lower variance,” she said.

Shippers can sort fruit more consistently, she said, leading to less waste and lower rejection rates.

“It is a way to shift away from doing sample-based to a much more streamlined process of quality control and supply chain monitoring,” she said.

The company’s first commercial product detects foreign objects in non-magnetic materials, and that is expected to be launched in a commercial sugar application beginning in October. That technology is piloted with potato producers and meat processors.

A test installation for the dry matter content system for avocados is scheduled later this year, with expectations of commercial launch in 2019, Ramanan said. Other potential applications are for inbound inspections of salads and for brix content of berries, she said.

Ramanan said the technology could be valuable for high value and premium commodities where waste and rejections are especially costly.

 
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